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How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl
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How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  39 reviews
With powerful words and pictures Florida Frenz chronicles her journey figuring out how to read facial expressions, how to make friends, how to juggle all the social cues that make school feel like a complicated maze. Diagnosed with autism as a two-year-old, Florida is now an articulate 15-year-old whose explorations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Creston Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  138 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Emma Sea
This is a memoir of Frenz's path learning life strategies. Frenz's experience of autism is pretty different to mine, but this would be a great book for someone learning about autism for the first time. I liked the foreword more than the rest of the book.

I was kind of horrified that in the Afterword Frenz's therapist refers to her diagnosis as "mental retardation." Technically until 2013's DSM-5 this was a synonym for intellectual disability, but wow, it's a term with a hell of a lot of baggage
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
What is says in the title. It's good, but pretty short. My favorite part was the forward, in which Frenz really nailed how it feels to be autistic. ...more
Stephanie Ziegler
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Autism is not the result of a chemical imbalance, but rather a difference in the physical structure of the brain and the way its neurons connect together." Not only are people trapped in "a perpetual trap of sensory overload" but [t]he core of the problem lies in the brain and how it understands [their] own emotions as well as those of others."

People have to find the right tools to help you learn to understand. Florida "is a gifted artist and writer so using art seemed like an obvious tool to
I was hoping that a child-appropriate nonfiction depiction of autism, from the perspective of an autistic girl, would be something I would appreciate. I can't say I was really in love with this one.

I appreciate the Florida Frenz was able to share her own outlook and experiences, as well as essentially her advice to herself. I think the world can always use more autistic people telling their own stories, as opposed to parents, doctors, etc telling neurotypical people what it's like.

I didn't lik
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book - it's hand-written/drawn on the inside, which makes it fun to read and lends a really authentic feel and makes the reader feel closer to the author. I think everyone can get a lot out of this book - teachers, students, kids with and without special needs, friends, family members - anyone, really. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because in the afterword, there were some comments which I would have liked more explanation on. It was written by one of the therapists, and she ...more
How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl delivers a positive message to young children who are coping with autism.
"Once you learn to cope, the brain doesn't feel the need to create its own universe, and it has much more free space to learn about social skills."
Although Florida Frenz was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and given an early diagnosis of mental retardation, she didn't let these pronouncements limit her. She admits that often times growing up she felt like an alien who wound
Sara Thompson
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting perspective to what life is like when you have Autism. For me, I live with Autism so it wasn't as insightful but I could see where this would be a great book for a young person with an Autism diagnosis or for others who don't understand Autism can get an inside view of what it means to live with Autism.
To be honest, this should be a must read. Not only does it give a view of life with Autism but I think it would help young people with their own feelings of being alien.
With compelling and effective writing, Florida Frenz narrates and illustrates her life as she figured out how to interpret facial expressions, how to make friends, how to sort through many bizarre social cues that can often make school feel like a convoluted mess. Identified as autistic at two-years-old, and now an eloquent 15-year-old Flora writes about her investigations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to handle peer pressure which resonates with any pre-teen. It’s a gre ...more
Linda Weinert
This is not really a review because I am "Florida"'s mom. To answer some questions:
1) Florida was diagnosed with "borderline low IQ" at age 3.5 when she was diagnosed as autistic. Subsequent life experience has shown that IQ testing to be flawed. Florida recently graduated with honors from a selective college and just finished her 2nd US Senate internship.
2) Florida did have several co-morbid conditions. She had occupational, speech, vision and social therapies. And yes, the therapies were expen
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Meet your favorite book added 8 new photos.
Published by Raneem Hassan Suliman · 2 April at 20:35 ·
This #masterpiece #book is written by an #autistic #girl who #bravely wrote about her experience if been diagnised with #autism ..... the book represents eight years of growth as indicated by the #heartbreaking afterword written by florida's #therapist
Emily Sammartino
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-lit
Florida has Autism and while she is human, she feels more Alien. This funny and touching story is presented as an instruction manual on how to be a human. It provides understanding and insight into how Autism affects those who have it. It is a very sweet and funny story written by a young girl who has Autism herself. I highly recommend that anyone going into education read this book.
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An honest and enlightening view of the world through the eyes of an autistic girl. She gives a first person account of what it feels like to be autistic.
Contained in these pages are useful tips for any child--and some great reminders for adults, too. The subtitle names only one of the many struggles faced--many overcome--by the high school author (Florida Frenz), the rest of which are fully revealed in the Afterword (written by one of her therapists).

I found the following section of the Afterword particularly inspiring: "[Florida] became aware of her diagnosis. What followed was a year of grief. Florida needed to work through what it meant to be
Brittany Fichter
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disorders
I think this book should be required reading for all education majors. Written from the perspective of a student with Autism, it illustrates how children on the Autistic Spectrum see the world. I love how Florida shows the reader that students how much students with Autism can be capable just takes them a lot of extra work and determination in order to understand concepts like social nuances that most other people take for granted.

The book is broken down into Florida's drawings and lesso
Describing in fits and starts one girl's attempts to navigate the tricky social landscape of elementary and middle grades, this book relies on text and colorful illustrations to tell an honest story. While it provides some insight into living with autism, it also offers some comfort about being different in any way. Many of the issues the author describes about bullying, making friends, and dealing with enemies are problems just about everyone experiences. This title offers much food for thought ...more
What surprised me was how much of this book addressed matters that apply to everyone: reading others' emotions, making friends, being a friend, bullying. It's all told through the lens of a girl who's tackling all those issues with the added hurdle of autism. The author's perspective makes this very accessible, and I would use this as a tool to talk about all these issues with my kids, as well as to remind them that people who seem different are often struggling with many of the same things.

I w
This is a cute, quick read that's relevant to both autistic children and adults and their neuro-typical family and friends. Florida uses art therapy while she learns to be human and summarizes the journey in 23 steps. There's an afterward from her therapist Shelah, who Florida references throughout the book.
The e-book version is very awkward to read, even on a computer screen, because there are two pages of writing on each page, so there's a lot of scrolling. I bet this would be an awesome book
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This great book was an interesting insight in the mind of a teenage girl dealing with autism. I don't know much about autism, but How to Be Human helped me understand what it can potentially be like for a child with autism. Florida's candid explanation was a short and sweet description of how hard growing up can be in an alien world can be. How to Be Human is sweet, funny, sad, honest, and adorable. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about autism and its eff ...more
Melissa Chung
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
cute drawings! my son is autistic so this was a lovely and informative look into the mind of someone with autism. I especially liked the page when Florida describes autism because those are my beliefs as well. I knew in the first few months that my son was autistic. God gave me a loving and special boy, I wouldn't change him for the world, but I will give him the tools he will need to forge his path. ...more
Jason H
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autism
Like many books by autistic kids, this is a great read for anyone who cares for or about someone with autism. I'd also recommend it to any kids growing up, trying to figure out what it means to be a kid going into middle school.

Florida's illustrations, therapy drawings, and own words are artfully used in a step-by-step guide to acting human if you are an alien stuck on Earth. It's honest, endearing, and inspiring to be able to read her insights into life.
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
interesting account from an autistic girl's life as she learns to cope with the realization that her brain works differently. Notebook style drawings and captions/lists make up the format but it appears amateurish and small font is hard to read. Afterword is provided by author's therapist of many years. Not sure about the audience of the book: awareness for non autistic teen readers or self help/guidance advice for other autistic youth. ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
A powerful book about how to navigate the social landscape as told through the eyes of a child with autism. Florida explains what life is often like for her in a variety of situations. This book would be an engaging read for all students to understand what life can be like for a child living with autism.
Karen Sterling
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The autobiographical, illustrated diary of author Florida Frenz' foray through growing up with autism. Accompanied by a stellar note from the head of her professional support team, this book will help both young teens with autism, their peers, and their teachers in gaining some insight into the challenges of a brain that processes outside of what is considered"the norm". ...more
Sarah Adamson
What an eye-opening read! This story gives students a diverse perspective into a world that most will never see or understand, while many others can very much connect to instances in this story. Accessible but powerful, this story is an excellent addition to any resource room or general education classroom.
Marissa DeCuir
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a powerful story - within the pages and behind the book. I'm so impressed with the talent of this young writer. An important book to help kids realize it's OK to be different and how to read social cues. ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful and well-written. I was able to truly appreciate what this girl went through on a daily basis due to her autism. I felt inspired by her struggles and triumphant with her success'. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is open to different points of view. ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction, autism
A useful instruction manual both for those who do not innately understand social interactions, and for those who don't understand people who don't innately understand. Florida's take adds insight to anyone exploring the full range of humanity. And her art is interesting, too.

Library copy.
This is an interesting book, written from the perspective of a girl who has endured the hardships of overcoming autistic tendencies among other health issues.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love the illustrations--would be good for any young person, not just someone with autism. Middle school is tough for all...human or alien.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-non-fiction
A must have in all libraries!!!!
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Due to a glitch in the time-space continuum, Florida Frenz wound up on the wrong planet. On the planet she should have been on, everyone is autistic. When no work needs to get done, everyone spends their time flapping, doodling, and spinning. However, Earth has become a home to Florida, and she has discovered many Earthlings can be fun and nice. Florida especially loves Earthling kids, whose brain ...more

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