Thursday 24 March 2022

BLOG TOUR: Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You by Dr. Camilla Pang, illustrated by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to our stop on the blog tour of Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You - a non-fiction guide to growing up that explores abstract, difficult-to-understand concepts, such as emotions and peer pressure, by comparing them to concrete science. 

                                                                         Link to publisher

Published by: Wren and Rook Books, Hachette, 17th March 2022


On a personal level, this new release by Dr. Camilla Pang has come at exactly the right time for our family and one of the reasons why I jumped at the chance to be involved with the blog tour. With an eleven-year-old autistic daughter approaching puberty, I have no idea how to even begin explaining the complexities of growing up to her. And yet, through this insightful and wonderfully illustrated piece of non-fiction, Dr. Camilla Pang has shared her own experience of how she coped with this metamorphis as someone who received an diagnosis of autism, aged 8.

By applying what she couldn't understand to what she could - science - Pang forged a survival guide to growing up, allowing herself to embrace who she was, which in turn, of course, leads to a much higher chance of finding happiness. And, as readers will discover, embracing who we are includes the process of accepting all the 'weird' quirks and foibles that makes us unique, but which are actually perfectly normal.

Chapter of the books include:

Perfectly calm: How to manage your emotions like the weather. 

Perfectly digital: Can computers teach us how to think?

Perfectly new: How animal migration helps us to cope with change.

The font and format of the book is easily accessible and chunked into bitesize paragraphs that will allow readers to dip in and out without feeling daunted. I love Camilla Pang's introduction to herself at the start of the book and the relatable way she talks about her diagnosis, harnessing autism as 'her superpower' and highlighting both the positives and the challenges that arise from being neurodivergent. But the most fascinating aspect of the book, which I was enthralled by and which I can't wait to discuss with all of my children, are the analogies Pang makes between consistent science (the type of science that is all around us and helps us make sense of the world) and abstract human behaviours. For example:

Why does a human always turn the volume up when their favourite song comes on the radio?- Well, why does a plant always turn towards the sunlight?

Why are some people drawn to others in a positive or negative way?- Well, let's think about the forces of gravity and magnetism and also how various metals react with different liquids and gases. Some get on and some don't!

Each chapter of the book, led by Camilla Pang's own narrative voice, explores these analogies in more depth. Each one is explained beautifully and simply and made me realise how much I, as a neurotypical reader, relate to what is being described and how much I use my own analogies in day to day life to interpret, rationalise and understand things that confuse me. It is an absolutely fascinating read for any young reader, especially those struggling with the complexities of growing and maturing and those changeable human relationships. 

Wren and Rook Books produce brilliant non-fiction for children and this is no exception. Not only will I be drawing on it to approach these tricky topics with my daughter, I'll be sharing it with my other children, nephews, cousins, friend's children and the adults too!

Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You was published on 17th March 2022 and is available to buy now. A big thanks to Hachette for asking me to be part of the blog tour. 

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