Jan 09 2013

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food ~ Blog Book Tour

Author: Jodi Carmichael

Author: Jodi Carmichael

I was approached by Little Pickle Press (LPP) to participate in a Blog Book Tour for Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food.  Written by Jodi Carmichael and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley, Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food is about an 8 year old boy named Connor, who is very intelligent, funny and loves dogs… but Connor also has Asperger’s Syndrome. Having my own 8 year old on the autism spectrum, I knew this was going to be right up my alley!


Here is a description from LPP’s press sheet:

Follow a quirky day in the life of Connor, a brilliant student with an equally high talent for second-guessing the rules. As both entertainment and an accessible educational tool to help teach students about Asperger’s Syndrome, the book is a welcome addition to schools and libraries alike.

As I read Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food I felt like Ms. Carmichael was writing about my own son… as I would imagine many parents in my shoes would.  As we walk through Connor’s day, Ms. Carmichael does an amazing job portraying what life would be like living with Asperger’s Syndrome.

During one of Connor’s typical school days we join him as he learns and goes through a number of different life lessons… all of which are quite humourous and yet very realistic in their portrayal.   Many of us don’t even think about how to function each day and yet a child or individual with Asperger’s Syndrome will need to.  They learn skills by repetition and reminding themselves of the ‘appropriate’ way to behave in society.  So, I really do appreciate what Ms. Carmichael has done here… making these life lessons fun and entertaining for children to understand.  When we understand, we learn to accept, and when those on the autism spectrum are accepted for who they are, it makes life a whole lot easier for everyone.  And I, for one, believe that acceptance starts with our children.Spaghetti_Poster

Even as a parent of a child on the spectrum, there are many aspects of my child’s day that I honestly can’t ‘understand’.  I don’t deal with the same difficulties nor do I have the same challenges… so realistically I can only guess what it would be like.  The sensory issues are one of those things that I have learned about, but can’t fully appreciate them because I don’t have to deal with them. We see interactions between Connor and many of the staff at the school and follow his internal discussions with himself as he tries to manage a number of his sensory difficulties. I did chuckle to myself when Connor described how it made him feel when his principal ‘ruffled’ his hair as he says to Connor ‘See you later‘.  This is something that many people do… and something many wouldn’t even think twice about.  Well, here is what went through Connor’s mind:

I strongly dislike it when people mess up my hair, so it was very hard for me not to bat his hand away. I remembered that it was very, very Bad Manners to hit your principal, so I clenched my hands into tight fists, so they wouldn’t fly out at Mr. Hoover.

I know all to well my son goes through this conversation with himself… though he still struggles with the fact that he socially can’t ‘bat’ away someone’s hand.  I expect that my son will always have to remind himself what is and what isn’t ‘socially appropriate’.  Many of us take that simple skill for granted and we really shouldn’t.

Like most individuals on the spectrum, Connor has a subject or topic that is a huge focus… some may call it an obsession.  Connor’s ‘subject’ is dogs.  He knows just about everything there is to know about dogs… and I loved how Ms. Carmichael made this a strength rather than a ‘weird’ behaviour.  It’s actually quite heartwarming to go through the book and see how Connor, the school staff and the children all learn to see this as a strength.

Now, I am by far an artist of any kind, but I love the illustrations done by Sarah Ackerley.  They fit the book perfectly and were fun and engaging… making it so much easier for you, as the reader, to imagine what Connor is going through with each situation during his day.


To have Ms. Carmichael and Ms. Ackerley share these issues in the way that they have, not only makes it enjoyable but easy to understand.  The book is recommended for children aged 8 – 12 which really is such an important age to be educating ALL children.  We all need to learn and understand that it is OK to be different and that we need to be accepting of all individuals regardless of whether or not they are differently-abled.

I would also like to commend Little Pickle Press for their effort in being an enviornmentally-friendly company.  Not only do they use various forms of media and technology, but they also use recycled paper, soy inks and green packaging when they print and distribute their materials.  As a parent, this is very important to me as we don’t worry about our environment enough and thinking about my son growing up, I sometimes wonder what our planet will be like when he’s my age.  So kudos to you Little Pickle Press!

I haven’t yet sat down with my son to read Ms. Carmichael’s book but I certainly will be.  It’s an amazing learning tool for children on the spectrum or not.  In the near future, Little Pickle Press will be offering a FREE lesson plan for download. I hope that schools will add this to their libraries as there are not enough books out there like Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food.  I for one, would like to say thank you to both Jodi Carmichael and Sarah Ackerley for their work in helping to raise awareness and educate those about Asperger’s Syndrome.  As a parent… it really means a lot!

As a side note, Jodi Carmichael is a Canadian author that is an advocate for those living with Asperger’s Syndrome…. you all know how much  I LOVE to promote Canadian materials!  She lives in the heart of Winnipeg with her two daughters, her husband, and a scruffy Border Terrier named Zoe.  You can visit her blog HERE.

Sarah Ackerley lives in Los Altos, California with her husband and two fickle cats. She divides her time between illustrating books and creating whimsical paintings and portraits for kids of all ages. You can visit Sarah Ackerley at her website HERE.

If you are interested in purchasing Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food for your Kindle, you can do that HERE.  I would highly recommend that you do!

And please follow the rest of the Blog Book Tour at these amazing blogs:

January 7   – The Connor Chronicles
January 8   – Magic Dog Press
January 8   – Maryann Miller’s – It’s Not all Gravy
January 9   – Mom-ology
January 10 – Confessions of An Aspergers Mom
January 11 – Blood Red Pencil
January 12 – Leslea Tash
January 13 – Inneraspie

Enjoy the rest of the tour… I know I will be!


As a Canadian blogger and the mom of a child on the autism spectrum, Jen shares a lot about life while having a child with autism... raising autism awareness and the need for acceptance. She is an active advocate both online and in the community for those with autism but also service dogs. Also as a volunteer for the I CARE Foundation Jen shares a great deal of information about international parental child abduction (IPCA) in an effort to help raise awareness and educate parents about the risks and warning signs of international parental child abduction. Mom-ology has been ranked in the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs for 2012 & 2013, one of the Most Influential Canadian Mom Blogs for 2013 as well as placing in 1st (Disability) & 3rd (Activism & Social Justice) for the Canadian Weblog Awards 2013.

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  1. Tracy @ usingtimewisely.com

    Nice book review, Jen! Congrats on the blog tour.

    1. Jen

      thanks Tracy – it is truly a delightful book that i hope appears in all schools!!! appreciate you stopping by to check it out!

      1. Jodi Carmichael

        Jen, the principal at the school I work at, just today introduced me to the Assistant Superintendent of our school division. We’ll be meeting in the next two weeks to discuss getting Spaghetti into all the schools in the division!

  2. Jodi Carmichael

    Hi Jen,

    All I can say is, “Wow!”

    You’ve almost left me speechless, which is nearly impossible! You have given us such an incredibly thorough book review – thank you so very much. We are going to have a ton of fun on your site today! Three cheers for Mom-Ology!


    1. Jen

      Thanks Jodi! I am thrilled to have been able to participate in your blog book tour. Spaghetti is not a finger food truly is an amazing book. There are not enough materials aimed at children that age… in my opinion… and I truly to hope that your book appears in all schools! So thank you for writing it!! As I mentioned in my post… as a parent of a child on the spectrum, that means a lot!!!

      Looking forward to having you all at Mom-ology today!!! YAY!!!


  3. Khadijah

    Thank you for your great review of Spaghetti, Jen! I think that the message of acceptance was one of the most important ones in this book, and I think that almost every kid (and parent!) who reads Spaghetti will recognize some parts of him or herself in Connor. I know I did! Little Pickle Press’ strong stance on environmental issues, and the fact that they truly walk the talk by producing their books in the way they do was one of the things that impressed me right from the start. Beautiful books, beautiful and timely messages, great writing- what more could you ask? I can’t wait until Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food is released as a print book, I know my children will love having it to read and reread again and again.

    1. Jen

      Khadijah… Thank you. I love Spaghetti is not a Finger Food! As I said to Jodi, I truly hope that it appears in all schools. There is a lack of quality materials for children at this age… and educating peers is so important… that’s where it all starts! Little Pickle Press is an amazing company and I love the thought of having Spaghetti on my book shelf (that sounds funny doesn’t it! lol)…

      Thank you for the opportunity to participate with the blog book tour. It has been a great experience and to top it off I found a great book to assist my son in realizing that it’s OK to be different!!

      Look forward to having you at Mom-ology today!!

  4. Jodi Carmichael

    Me too! I can’t wait for the Lesson Plans. I work in a K-8 school, and my principal is so excited about this book. If I had written Spaghetti while working with her, she would’ve been the best model for a school principal.

    P.S. I posted a bio about you and the great advocacy work you do on my site!

    1. Jen

      The Lessons Plans will be huge!!! As you know it’s so important that children are taught acceptance at a young age… then they teach their parents!! LOL That’s great about your principal!

      Thanks so much about posting about me on your blog… appreciate that!

      And yes, I’m always thrilled to share materials and products that fellow Canadians do… hopefully we will stay in touch as I would love to see more of your work!

    2. Khadijah

      Just a note- all of our books have accompanying FREE lesson plans, developed by an educator just for LPP. The neat thing is that they work in a classroom setting, but they also work for homeschoolers like me. The posters are also a lot of fun, the kids love them.

      1. Jen

        That’s great! Didn’t realize you were a homeschooler Khadijah… we are here too! Always great when you can use materials for both school and homeschool environments!

  5. Jodi Carmichael

    Me too, Jen. I’m helping organize a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser with Asperger Manitoba for March 2. One of my dreams is to see Spaghetti Dinners across North America in support of AS. Our goal is to build a strong AS community, while spreading awareness and if we can also raise a few dollars at the same, that would be gravy.

    1. Jen

      Fantastic!!! Such a great idea… hmmmm… you have me pondering something now… leave this thought with me and I will be in touch soon about it. That is a great goal… awareness is the key! Thanks for being such a strong advocate!!!

    2. Khadijah

      What an excellent idea! This is such an important subject, it’s cool that you thought to link it up with spaghetti dinners. Better have lots and lots of water and washcloths for all the little Connors that show up.

      1. Jen

        LOL… lots and lots!!! I sure know how messy my ‘Connor’ gets!! Reminds me of the picture in the book when Connor dumps the spaghetti on his head!!!

  6. Jodi


    I can hardly wait for the print book. Keep all digits crossed that it happens soon!

    1. Khadijah

      Oh I know! I’m sure it won’t be long, seeing how popular the ebook has become already!

  7. Morgan Mandel

    You have many challenges, yet also many satisfactions from what you have been able to accomplish with him.

    Morgan Mandel
    Twitter: @MorganMandel

  8. Jodi Carmichael

    My guess is the spaghetti dinner will be uncontrolled and fun mayhem. :)

    1. Jen

      LOL… that just makes it all the better right?!?! can just imagine it now! :)

    2. Sarah Seward

      There is no better place than a spaghetti dinner to release the inner wild child Jodi! I’m only sorry it’s too far for me to join you. I’ll be there in spirit though, I never miss a chance for a little mayhem :]

  9. Sarah Seward

    Wow Jen!
    This is such a great review. I love the way to you relate to this powerful book on a personal level as a mom who is raising a child on the spectrum, but you also see how it plays to the big picture. I couldn’t agree with you more when you say, “And I, for one, believe that acceptance starts with our children.” I also believe teaching our young people acceptance from an early age will really have a tremendous impact on our society. Thank you for spreading the word about this awesome book and and it’s positive messages.

    1. Jen

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you… I’m pleased that you all enjoy the review. I really did enjoy the book and will be recommending it to all my friends… no question there! It really hit home as I do live this stuff everyday and the humour that was introduced as well… perfection!!! No better way to reach the kids… even tho it’s a serious topic. Thanks for the part that you play in producing such great books!


      1. Jodi Carmichael

        A friend of mine posted about my book on facebook and her friend, who I have never met, commented that she is reading it to her grade 5 class! So, Connor has already found his way into a classroom!

        1. Jen

          YAY! That’s fantastic news! Congrats!!

  10. Guy

    If I am typical, then unless you have a personal experience, I suspect that Asperger’s is a condition that is not well understood. What Jodi has done, with considerable skill and without hammering the point, is to articulate the issues through an engaging third party, Connor. She has done so with sensitivity, understanding and humour, and in so doing, has generated a book which is not only a very enjoyable read, but enlightening and educational.

  11. duffy

    what a valuable gift the author has made to the educational field ,both for teachers and parents.!
    “Spagetti” not only addresses the unique and often puzzling world of the Spectrum, It addresses all issues by which children see and feel themselves as “different”.
    It is a tool , along with the lesson plans, for teaching children how to be caring, sensitive,understanding, and accepting

    Thank you Jodi and Sarah for your contribution.

    1. Jen

      I agree wholeheartedly… my son struggles with supposedly being different and I really look forward to sitting down with Spaghetti with him so he can see that he’s not the only one… and learn to celebrate his differences… this is a bit of a struggle for him right now. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

  12. Rana DiOrio

    Perspective is the key to understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. Perspective is the gift Jodi Carmichael gives her readers. Thanks for your insights, Jen, and for the kudos. We will be releasing Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons for iOS devices, Nook Readers, and Kindles next month. The book trailer will be ready . . . later today. We will Tweet the YouTube link from @LPP_Media. Thank you!

    1. Jen

      Hi Rana, Thank you! I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and dealing with LPP. Look forward to seeing the book trailer!! Cheers

      1. Jodi Carmichael

        Hi Jen!

        Thanks again for hosting – it was so fun “meeting” you and talking not only about my book, but about the gift that is Aspergers and how we can celebrate differences.

        Let’s definitely keep in touch,

        Take care,

        1. Jen

          Hi Jodi,

          Sorry I didn’t get back to you last night… our internet was out :(

          Thank you for allowing me to participate in your blog book tour… I had a lot of fun. It was fun ‘meeting’ you as well… and everyone else at LPP! You are doing amazing work with your advocating… thank you for that! Celebrating differences… absolutely!!

          Will be in touch!



          1. Jodi Carmichael

            It was so fun on your site, Jen.

            You were the perfect host.


          2. Jen

            Why thank you! :) I had so much fun and am so glad that I was able to participate in sharing such an amazing book! YaY for Spaghetti!!! :) Have a great weekend Jodi!

  13. Pat

    My grandchildren loved your story. It was a special moment when Connor became a hero at the end. We can’t wait to find out what Connor is going to learn about dinosaurs.

    1. Jodi Carmichael

      Hi Pat,

      I’m off to “research” at The Manitoba Museum. They just happen to be running a full dinosaur exhibit, so my timing is perfect. I can hardly wait to see what Connor gets up to…

  14. Mocha

    It is so cool that so many people GET this book. Thank you for a thorough review! I love Jodi’s book.

    1. Jen

      so agree with you! thanks for taking the time to stop by… i appreciate it! :)

      i too love her book and can’t wait to have a print copy on my son’s bookshelf!!

      1. Jodi Carmichael


        We’ve had such an incredible response on Amazon and through our blog stops, that the print book may be coming sooner than we predicted. Keep your fingers crossed!

        1. Jen

          That’s great news Jodi! How exciting… can’t wait to have one on my guy’s shelf!!! Was telling some friends today about your book… they are students in the ABA Therapy Program here – were very intrigued by Spaghetti!

          Fingers are crossed… toes too!!! Cheers

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