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Benji, the Bad Day, and Me

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Nothing seems to be going right for Sammy today. At school, he got in trouble for kicking a fence, then the cafeteria ran out of pizza for lunch. After he walks home in the pouring rain, he finds his autistic little brother Benji is having a bad day too. On days like this, Benji has a special play-box where he goes to feel cozy and safe. Sammy doesn't have a special place, ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Lee & Low Books
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Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A truly beautiful book, full of empathy and emotion. You'll feel for Sammy, and Benji, and this loving family who cares for one another as best they can on bad days.
Mrs. Europaea
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super emotional and uplifting story for the age range. A story for older siblings that sometimes get frustrated by the "special" treatment and attention that younger children can *appear* to receive. Illustrations were beautiful and well detailed.
Stephanie Bange
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by her own children, Pla gives us a slice of life story of two neurodiverse brothers.

Sammy has had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day that just won't stop. When his younger brother Benji observes him crying from frustration, Benji comes up with a solution that turns the day around for Sammy.

Told from the point of view of Sammy, he makes no judgements, merely expresses his frustrations and emotions of the day. Since Pla uses no labels for Benji's behavior at home, no
Really beautiful story about a boy named Sammy who's having a really bad day and is feeling a bit resentful of and all the extra care and attention his brother Benji gets. It doesn't explicitly state in the text that Benji's on the spectrum since it's from Sammy's perspective, but it's definitely clear in the subtext and it's talked about in the afterwards. Very sweet! I love stories about siblings being kind to each other :)
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a Sally Pla fan. Someday Birds is one of my faves. I love how she chooses kids with autism for her characters and shows how families work and everyday life goes on. This one is fantastic. “Whether the day is good or bad, Benji and I will be okay. That’s because the two of us are brothers.”
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Sweet sibling story with neurodiversity. Good for talking about having a bad day and emotions. Highly recommended for ages 5-8.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best picture book I've read that has an autistic character. :) Benji just happens to have autism, and it's never presented as a problem (and he's not bullied for it!), it's just how Benji is. Sadly, I've not seen many books like this.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story about two brothers, one autistic, who comfort each other after a tough day at school.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I want to be rolled up into a burrito.
Michele Knott
Beautiful. Love the sibling relationship and meeting each other where you're at.
Christine Stamper
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebook
A cute and heart-warming story of two brothers--one neurotypical and one autistic.
Ms. Arca
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this one was so relatable as well as being a glimpse into a real loving family (this brotherhood was so sweet). I thought this was done really well, and has the potential to be used in so so many ways (home, classroom, neurodiversity convos, social emotional convos etc). This is a great one, so glad I finally got my hands on it.
It's been one of those days for Sammy when nothing seems to go right. Not only does he get in trouble at school, but he makes a mess in the house when he arrives home dripping wet. Things go from bad to worse when the milk from his cereal overflows. Although Sammy thinks no one's paying attention to him, his younger brother Benji takes notice. He comes out of the box in which he goes for comfort and shares his blue blanket with Sammy. An Author's Note provides further explanation about boys like ...more
Aliza Werner
Sammy has had a bad day. Benji has had a bad day. They are brothers, and while they experience the world differently, nothing makes a day better like being wrapped like a burrito in a blanket together. While never explicitly named in the story, younger brother Benji has autism. Author Sally Pla (herself autistic, as is one of her sons), writes an end note about Benji and his autism experience. Notable is that this is a single story of an individual with autism and that no two children with ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A sweet story about family, emotions, and neurodiversity. Older brother Sammy has had a terrible day and feels like no one notices or cares when his autistic little brother Benji comes to comfort and care for him. The author and illustrator bring the boys’ emotions to life and everyone who’s had a bad day will relate to Sammy and feel cared for by Benji.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for a book review program for our School Library System. It is a very good read. It takes a look at autism from the view point of the sibling rather than the child who has autism. It was very touching to see how the child with autism responded to who his brother who was having a bad day.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Really moved by this book. Appreciate that while one sibling has many needs because of ASD, he also has something to offer. Story also reminds me that what is good for one, can be good for many. Honest portrayal of being a sibling and parent in a family with a child with a additional needs/disability.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019t, t
Why we chose this book:
To see how the characters handle bad days (confronting tough feelings is a theme always on my radar). And I think representation of different needs is invaluable. Lee and Low Books provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Mom's Review:(V)
When Sammy comes home cold, wet, and hungry after a bad day at school, he compares his bad days with his little brother Benji's. Sammy believes that no one cares about his bad like they do for Benji, who receives particular
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally J. Pla, illustrated by Ken Min. PICTURE BOOK. Lee & Low Books Inc, 2018. $18. 9781620143452



What happens when you have a bad day but your mom is busy and your little brother takes a lot of attention from others because of his austism? Sammy grapples with this question when he comes home from school wet and tired to find his brother in his little safety fort and his mom working. In the end, it is
Abby Johnson
This beautiful book about brothers and family when someone is on the spectrum hits all the right notes. Sammy is having the worst day EVER, but when he gets home from school he realizes that his little brother Benji who is on the autism spectrum has also been having a bad day. Sammy feels like no one notices his struggles next to his brother's and he also knows that he can't act out and express the way he feels the way he wants to because it will overstimulate his brother. Luckily, there is at ...more
Anna Leong
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
"Benji, The Bad Day, And Me" is about this boy named Samuel and all the things that went wrong in his day. He comes home upset, but when he comes home, he realizes his little brother Benji as well has had a bad day. The story follows both brothers as they go through the rest of their day with Benji's appointment and coming back home. Benji notices Samuel's emotions and tries to make him feel better despite his day not going well.

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Grade: 1st - 3rd

I think this can be used
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A boy has a bad day, walks home in the rain and just wants some love and understanding when he gets there. But instead, he's asked to keep it down because his younger brother, who has autism (although it's not mentioned in the book until the author's notes), has also had a bad day. Benji gets to hide in his fort, wrap himself up like a burrito in a blanket and have all the comforts of home. When Benji sees his older brother cry, he approaches him and cuddles with him until they both feel better.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The BEST picture book I've seen introducing Autism Spectrum Disorder! So sensitive, and informative. The colored pencil illustrations fit nicely with the mood, and the word choice is just right. Total win.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All the feels. Great story that illustrates family/sibling issues. Very real look at emotions. Not about who/what, every child can have a bad day. This gives glimpse of reality and issues - all kids need for TLC. Bonus: Love the craft Lessons
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The older brother has a rotten day and is feeling left out. His younger autistic brother tunes in and helps him feel better.
Disappointed in the mom's reactions but understand the author's point that parents can be overwhelmed too.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. We all have bad days, but sometimes we don't have that special something that allows us to have an outlet to release the bad feelings. Sammy's brother Benji has that outlet, and he helps Sammy through his bad day.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story about a young boy having a bad day. I thought it was particularly compelling because it managed to talk about autism in a way that other children will easily be able to understand-without it being too heavy handed. The illustrations were super cute as well.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
When everything seems to be wrong for Sammy, his autistic brother Benji helps him in the most heartfelt manner. Must read for kids with special-need siblings. Must Must read for kids without special-need siblings.
#Autism #Books #Siblings #mustread #amreading #Specialneeds
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the artwork, and I could definitely relate to both kids in the story. I adored the author's note and the "little burrito" people. Very cute.
An older brother has a bad day and wishes he could share the problem solving tactics that apply to his autistic brother Benji. Great message but just an okay story/illustrations.
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Sally J. Pla is the award-winning author of "The Someday Birds," recipient of the 2018 Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award for its authentic portrayal of disability. It's a NY Public Library Best Children's Book of 2017, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2017, a Goodreads Choice Nominee, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and Nerdies award winner. It has starred reviews and appears on ...more