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At home, Alex’s best friend is Kevin the cockapoo, although what he wants most of all is a friend at school. But that is harder than he ever expected. A touching story about learning that friendship isn’t one size fits all and is often found where you least expect it.

Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park . . . right?

240 pages, Paperback

Published April 7, 2021

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About the author

Kate Foster

6 books481 followers
I'm a children's author writing about friends, family and dogs, represented by Chloe Davis at Darley Anderson.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews
Profile Image for Natalie  all_books_great_and_small .
1,976 reviews69 followers
August 12, 2022
I received a gifted copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review as part of the book tour hosted by Lovebookstours.

Paws is a truly heartwarming children's book about how not all friendships fit all and that they can come in all shapes and sizes.
Alex is starting high school soon and finds it hard to make a proper friend. Alex has autism which means he doesn't always understanding people's expressions. This often makes him feel a bit isolated from his peers. The PAWS show is coming soon and Alex decides to enter with his beloved cockapoo Kevin. I loved Alex and Kevin's characters and their friendship was adorable. The book is great for explaining and helping children and adults who don't have autism how it can feel for them at times and I loved how it helps the reader open their eyes and mind do seeing things around them differently.
Profile Image for Zac.
157 reviews42 followers
April 23, 2021
Making friends as an adult is so hard. I look at my daughter and the kids at school and see how easily they make friends, sometimes by just asking to play together. I wish it was that easy as an adult. For some kids though, it isn’t easy to make friends, especially if they are neurodivergent. Alex, the main character in Kate Foster’s new middle grade novel, Paws, is autistic. He is desperate to make a friend before he goes to high school, and he’s got a plan to make sure he gets one.

Alex needs to make a friend, and fast. High school is just a few months away and he knows that if he makes a friend, high school will be a lot easier. For Alex though, making friends is really tricky. As an autistic person, he has trouble understanding people, especially when they use a facial expression he’s not familiar with or use a phrase that doesn’t make sense. Dogs are so much easier to understand, especially his cockapoo, Kevin. He always seems to know when Alex needs doggy kisses. Alex wants Jared, one of the popular kids, to be his friend. The Paws dog show is coming to town in five days, and Alex knows that if he can win a trophy with Kevin, Jared will want to be his friend. As the show draws closer, and the unexpected happens at school, Alex trains harder with Kevin. Will Alex win a trophy and make a friend or are friends closer than he thinks?

I absolutely adore Paws! It is a story filled with joy and doggy kisses galore. If I was a dog, I would be wagging my whole body with excitement right now because I love this book so much. It is one of my favourite stories about friendship, because Kate Foster shows us friendship in all its different forms. We see Alex trying to impress someone to try and be their friend, Alex making friends without even realising it, and the best friend relationship that exists between humans and dogs. Kate Foster gives us a glimpse of everyday life, through the eyes of her autistic character. Alex’s confusion about the phrases and facial expressions that neurotypical people in the story use, made me aware that there will be expressions that I use at school that neurodivergent students won’t understand. Reading Paws (and other recent books featuring neurodivergent characters) has made me think about how I can make my library a more friendly space for neurodivergent students.

I love Alex and his quest to make a friend. Alex has trouble understanding people sometimes, especially when they use a facial expression he’s not familiar with (like his teacher wiggling her eyebrows). Him and his dog Kevin though, understand each other perfectly. Alex knows what Kevin needs because he can read his body language, and Kevin knows what Alex needs, especially if he is upset or overstimulated. Dog kisses can solve just about anything! There is a strong bond between Alex and Kevin and it made my heart melt. One of the things that Alex is sensitive to is texture, and one of his favourite textures is the softness of Kevin’s fur and ears. Nuzzling with Kevin brings Alex comfort and calms him down. Kate’s descriptions of Alex rubbing his face in Kevin’s fur made me want my own dog to snuggle with. Alex desperately wants to make a friend, and he tries to make friends with Jared, a boy on his relay team who also loves the same game as him. Jared gives clues, that Alex doesn’t pick up, that he doesn’t want to be friends. The new kid, Derek, also likes the same game as Alex and has a cute dog called Vinnie. Alex becomes so focused on trying to win a trophy at the Paws dog show (to impress Jared so that he’ll be his friend) that he doesn’t realise he is already making friends around him.

The supporting cast of doggy characters in the book are super cute and they made me smile so many times. As well as Alex’s dog, Kevin the cockapoo, there is also Ned’s dog, Dennis the bulldog, and Derek’s dog, Vinnie the Jack Russell. I especially enjoyed the last part of the story with Alex and Derek at the Paws dog show with their dogs. The ending of the story is so perfect and left me grinning from ear to ear. Sarah Davis’ adorable illustration of Kevin on the front cover made me want to see illustrations of the other dogs in the story.

I guarantee that you’ll fall in love with Paws like I did. It will make a wonderful read aloud for Years 5-8. The team at Walker Books Classroom have created some great Book Club Notes to go along with the book too, which includes a Q & A with Kate Foster.
Profile Image for Kate Foster.
Author 6 books481 followers
November 26, 2021
I'm the author (Hi!) and, after six months since PAWS was published in Aus/NZ I decided to read it, like a reader, cover to cover. Sounds weird, I've read it so many times over the years during revisions and edits, but I wanted to see if it still brings me the same joy I felt writing it. And it does!

This book was written to put an autistic character in a joyful, warm, regular story about a kid making friends and loving dogs, without focusing solely on the challenges of being autistic.

I am beyond grateful for the response so far, these amazing reviews my little quiet book has received, and the lives it's changing. Thank you. xx
Profile Image for Sue Oshin.
143 reviews5 followers
January 26, 2023
Paws is a heartwarming book about an austistic person, eleven year old Alex and his beloved pet dog. So this story will focusing from Alex’s autistic point of view (POV)

Making friends as an adult is not easy as a kids. But for kids, it is the same thing happened like an adult when they have a problem with that. Alex will start high school soon and its hard to find a real friendship because he has a problem to understanding people especially in facial expression. For autistic person like Alex, making friend is so tricky.

The PAWS show is coming soon and Alex decide to enter the competition with Kevin. He wants to win a trophy so he needs to practice his dog. Their friendship was so adorable at this part.

This book is good to read either by kids or adult because its explain how to loves and helps a children that have autism. Its open their eyes and minds to seeing things around them differently. Furthermore, it is an enjoyable read without focusing too much challenging of being autistic.

Read it with your kids and explained to them about friendship and family. They will learned other valueable lesson about life too with parents guide.
Profile Image for Liz Ledden.
Author 2 books10 followers
April 10, 2021
A heartwarming story that excels at showing readers the thought processes of autistic kids. A great book for opening kids eyes to the different ways people see the world.
Profile Image for Rachel Tulloch.
400 reviews1 follower
August 16, 2022
This lovely book is aimed at children ages 7-10 and focuses on autism and moving from Primary to High School.

Alex wants to make friends and he thinks that entering his dog in a show will help him do that. But it's not so easy for Alex.

Paws tells us that not everything works for everyone and not all friendships look the same; sometimes we have to adapt to a situation to make it easier for us, or for others.

The book is written from Alex's autistic point of view, so sometimes reading it aloud was a bit confusing for my son (who is 6) but in doing this, it's also shown us what it might be like for someone with autism and how confusing expressions and social situations can be.

A lovely story about learning and friendship, which is probably best read internally rather than aloud for the younger reader but that teaches a valuable lesson about life.
13 reviews5 followers
January 19, 2022
Loved this warm, funny book about finding real friends. Full of vividly drawn characters, from Alex, the protagonist, and his dog, Kevin, right down to the 'bit' parts like the bully, Ryan, and the teachers. A book about kindness and tolerance that is heartfelt and not in the slightest bit preachy. Perfect for primary-aged (middle school) readers, especially those who are dog crazy.

Favourite line (from Mum): 'I thought that because I didn't see them all the time or speak to them on the phone every day that meant they weren't my real friends. But they were. I just didn't see all the small wonderful things they did for me until I needed to.'
Profile Image for Heather Gallagher.
Author 3 books12 followers
May 12, 2021
I really enjoyed this exploration of a kids-perspective of living with autism and the challenges that come with that. LOVED all the doggie love and the plot revolving around competing in a dog show. Kevin the cockapoo was such a lovely constant reassuring presence in the story. And I had a duh! revelation while reading this book - that as an author you CAN make all your child character's dreams come true. And that's a lovely thing!
Profile Image for Louise Gooding.
Author 3 books24 followers
August 5, 2022
Well this book is lovely.
I love the fact it’s relatable, a real life setting, and just a great story.
I can imagine some folk would class it as ‘a quiet’ book but i love it for this. Not all books need to be filled with a magical twist or MASSIVE plot to uncover. Especially ND kids. ND kids who have not seen themselves in books before recent times, we need books they can place themselves in and PAWS does an excellent job at that. I love it. These are the stories we need.
Profile Image for Angela Armstrong.
Author 7 books50 followers
August 4, 2021
I clenched my jaw every time Alex did. PAWS delivers a gentle tale that warms the same heart region as Wonder. Brava, Kate! Can’t wait for my dog-loving daughters to dip in!
Profile Image for Terry Jennings.
Author 15 books25 followers
December 18, 2020
A poignant story about an autistic boy’s quest for friendship. Alex knows how to cope. It’s not always easy, and often he gets his feelings hurt, but he continues to try. It’s not as if Alex doesn’t understand where he stands. Through Foster’s skillful story telling we see the range of reactions from others that Alex internalizes. And we see him grow. And we see the love and understanding he has for his dog, Kevin, and Kevin’s care and love for him. It’s a story about how sometimes all it takes is one person’s openness and kindness to change a life. I was smitten.
Profile Image for Dimity Powell.
Author 26 books76 followers
May 9, 2021
Paws is a marvellous testimony for self-awareness and a timely addition to anyone’s library of books that assist with self-healing, mental health management, understanding neuro divergence and appreciating dogs. It’s a book that warrants a lot of tail wagging and I assure you, if I had one, I would be.

Reading my full review of this outstanding middle grade fiction at DIM'SreVIEWS: https://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com/2...
86 reviews
August 2, 2022
Nb: this book was the soon to be out English edition so cover is different, it was donated to me by the author.
Alex Freeman is 11, he lives with his Mum and brother Ned, Dad is on the scene but works away a lot. He also has his best friend, Kevin the Cockapoo. Alex is in Year 6 at Jessops Lake primary school. Alex loves art and sketches Kevin and Ned's bulldog, Dennis, in his Robot shaped notebook. Alex also happens to be an autistic child. He uses an emoji chart to help him understand facial expressions, but they aren't all on the chart.
Alex has a plan to ensure he has human friends when they go to High School, because he thinks this will help him with any bullying. There only seems to be one at primary school who isn't ok with him, Ryan but sometimes he's ok and others not. Alex's mum says that Ryan has his own problems but Alex doesn't know what they are. But Alex doesn't think he has any friends yet.
Alex's plan revolves around Jared - the cool kid! Alex plays OrbsWorld and so does Jared, so he wants to get to the same level and be able to have conversations with him about it. Also Alex is in Jared's relay running team and they are trying to make the needed time to get to the district finals.

Then, on the ride home, Alex sees it! PAWS the televised dog show is coming to Jessops Lake! He plans then and there to train Kevin more so that they can enter one of the classes and win a trophy - surely that would help his friendships!
Then a boy, Derek and his Mum, and sister Mindy move in over the road. Derek has a dog Vinnie, a jack russell with whom Kevin becomes friends. Ned definitely likes Mindy and makes a lot of effort with his appearance and smell - spending a lot of time in the bathroom getting ready.

Alex loves Wednesday's at school - art and PE - so he gets to draw then help Jared get to districts. On this day he has his sketchbook with him to show Angel, a girl from his class, his new drawings. But Miss Frisp, the art teacher, wants to take it - he doesn't want her too but he knows you don't argue with teachers. But at the end of the lesson she asks to see him - he'll be late for PE! She wants to keep his sketchbook to show someone else, she promises he'll have it back by the end of the week. He is so worried about being late when she lets him leave, he runs to PE - by the time he gets to the field he is in agony, a pulled muscle, so Ryan has to run (Ryan is worried because the head said he couldn't because he'd been misbehaving). Alex tell him that he is fast and to go ahead - Ryan looks embarrassed as Alex always does when someone compliments him and he doesn't know what to say. But how fast is Ryan? What will it do for the team?
Alex is collected by his Mum. On his second day at home Derek helps him get past Stage 5 in OrbsWorld. They talk, but Alex is still worried about whether Derek really wants to be there talking to him. They talk about PAWS but Derek says Vinnie is too naughty to enter! Back at school they have a PAWS assembly and everyone is talking about the show.
On the day Ned takes ages getting ready, they are really late and Alex can't enter Tricks or Obedience but does enter Happiest Dog, he also keeps seeing a lady with a clipboard which he thinks is a bit weird. Alex and Derek watches the other classes and Alex is glad he didn't answer because the dogs are all so good. Derek and Vinnie have entered Happiest Dog too, Vinnie though is super naughty and runs off to play with all they other dogs, eventually getting to Kevin and rolling around the floor as Derek tries to put his lead back on. Everyone in the crowd is laughing!

The time comes for the trophies, who wins Happiest Dog? Who is the lady with the clipboard? Does Alex actually have friends already? Is the lady giving the prizes Miss Frisp's sister?

Alex is a really loveable character who just adores dogs. His relationship with Ned is so good, Ned understands and protects Alex. But so do other children which Alex has failed to see....what does he think when he hears what they say?

Profile Image for Karen.
Author 17 books49 followers
August 16, 2022
I really wanted to read this book, because I felt it would be helpful to my son, who is in a similar position to the main character in Paws – Alex, who is eleven, autistic and about to start high school.
The cover of the paperback is gorgeous – a beautiful illustration by Ayesha L. Rubio is of a little boy (Alex) in blue clothes, resting his back against a tree trunk and cuddling his white dog (Kevin), his pet cockapoo.
The book is 237 pages with black and white illustrations inside of balls, bones, collars and so on. The chapters are a good size – not too long, not too short. It looks a fun book that any child would enjoy, but I would say it was aimed at 9-12 year olds.
The story begins on Monday 7th November – “five days to PAWS”. It is written in the first person from Alex’s viewpoint. He lives with his mum, dad and older brother Ned (14) in Jessops Lake, on the Gold Coast of Australia. He doesn’t fit in at school and what he would like most in the world is a real friend. When he finds out that PAWS, the famous dog show, is coming to Jessops Lake, he vows to enter his cockapoo Kevin and win a trophy, believing that will earn him friends.
I loved this book, it is so well written with so many important messages about being different, and accepting others who are different. I also love a book with a dog in and Kevin the cockapoo is adorable. The relationship between Alex and Kevin is beautiful, you can see the bond between them and how it benefits both boy and dog. It is written so realistically, but of course, pets do this job so well, as we know.
My one tiny criticism is that it is set in Australia, so British kids may be unfamiliar with some bits, like the native wildlife. I’ll have to reassure my son that he’s unlikely to come across dangerous snakes and spiders in England!
But there’s so much to love about this book! Not only is it fun, with great characters and an interesting story, but it’s an IMPORTANT book too. The more books we have aimed at children on the autistic spectrum, the better. I think my son will relate to this on so many levels and it is vital that books contain characters that every child can relate to.
Profile Image for Anel (The Book Apothecary).
50 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2022

“PAWS” by Kate Foster is a beautiful and heartwarming book that I think everyone should read, adults and children alike.

This eye-opening book is about an autistic boy named Alex and the struggles he faces in his quotidian life. Alex can’t always understand people’s feelings and expressions. Oftentimes he takes everything in the literal sense. Even though his family and teachers have helped him develop coping mechanisms for some of his frustrations, such as loud noises, screaming, and other overstimulation, he still struggles with making friends. Sure, some kids are nice to him, but are they really his friends?

The one true friend that Alex can always count on is his cockapoo Kevin. Kevin always knows when Alex needs a lick and Alex always knows when Kevin wants a pat. When Alex finds out that the PAWS contest is coming to his town, he sets out to train Kevin in an attempt to win a trophy at the event and thereby making friends in school! With high school approaching, he’s desperate not to start a new school friendless. As the event approaches, Alex discovers that sometimes you don’t have to try very hard to make friends and it’s a lot easier than he thinks. A lot easier than training a silly cockapoo to do tricks at least!

I was gifted an ARC of this book by @lovebookstours @kfosterauthor and @walkerbooksuk in exchange for an honest review. And I honestly loved it. Besides the sweet friendship between a boy and his dog, I really liked seeing the perspective of a young boy with autism and the things he has to deal with. I think it is important for neurotypical people to read books like this to educate themselves and understand what it is like to live with certain illnesses or disorders. The book was well written, educational but also fun. I highly recommend it!

Profile Image for kirsty.
423 reviews21 followers
August 10, 2022
I raced through this book and really related to it again due to Loghan and the issues that he faces.
The book is written beautifully with a lovely story and well developed characters that I loved especially Alex.
I loved that their was a dog in this story who was Alex's best friend because honestly as a mother of a boy who faces the same challenges as Alex, this really resonated with me. Loghan's best friend is our cat Bella who honestly hates the rest of us but would take a bullet for Loghan. She is always by his side and always knows exactly what he needs for specific triggers he is having. It is a wonderful friendship and the author highlights this perfectly.
This is a delightful story that looks at friendship at every level and shows the very real sides of it from all aspects and all characters,
I loved it and if you like reading middle grade books, love dogs or just love heart-warming books in general, this is the book for you

This is a beautiful story of a young, autistic boy who simply wishes for a friend. He tries so hard to have people like him that he doesn't notice he has people, and a very special dog called Kevin, who are proud to call him a friend.
The bond between Kevin and Alex is truly beautiful, they say dogs understand human emotions better than humans do and this certainly seems to be the case here.
I love that the idea of friendship isn't just explored for Alex at age 11 though. The author highlights teenage relationships and adult friendships. This is so important, making a new friend can be difficult at all stages in life so it's lovely to see this being captured.
A lovely storyline with wonderful characters and dogs galore. Let's not forget the happiest dog ever - Vinnie.
A really sweet, informative read.
Profile Image for KathVBtn.
335 reviews7 followers
August 15, 2022
Once I started reading Paws, I couldn’t put it down and read it all during a train journey, desperate to find out what was going to happen to Alex and Kevin the dog.
Alex is certain that he has to make friends before starting high school, or he’ll be bullied and left out. He has three ideas to impress people so that they’ll want to be his friend- 1/ get to the next level of his favourite computer game 2/ learn to run really fast and help his relay team to victory or 3/ win a trophy at Paws, the biggest dog show in the country, which is coming to his town soon.
Alex’s determination to achieve one of his goals and win a friend was beautifully written and utterly believable; I felt for him when his ‘dream friend’ wasn’t so interested in having a gaming conversation with him. Alex’s autism means he isn’t as aware of non-verbal clues as neuro-typical people and can’t always gauge the direction of a conversation, and so when the other boy was making small talk and trying to move away, Alex kept talking faster in a bid to say the right words to impress him.
I just loved it, not just Alex and the dogs but how his family and friends were portrayed in the book too. He has a wonderful family and a network of friends who were there for him despite him not realising.
The story is told entirely from Alex’s perspective , written as a countdown to the ‘Paws’ show, with Alex focussing his energies on all three of his goals, hoping that he will achieve one of them.
I would love to read more by Kate Foster in the future. I think its so important to see autism reflected in fiction in this way, and think this book should be in schools and libraries across the country
Profile Image for Laurie Bell.
Author 6 books25 followers
April 18, 2021
This book brings all the Feels. A gorgeous story that left me with happy tears. Alex is an eleven year old boy who desperately wants a friend. Because having a friend will make the transition to high school more bearable. Alex has many talents. He can draw, he can play video games, he can run, and his best friend is Kevin – his cockapoo dog. But high school is scary. It will be okay if he has a friend by his side. So Alex makes a plan. A best friend plan. He will win a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show and then the kids at school will want to be his friend.

Alex has a lot going on, yet his focus on his plan is absolute. But friends might be where you don’t think to look. And Kevin will be by his side no matter what.

This is a brilliant book by Australian author Kate Foster. And if you like dogs, then it is a must read. Even if you only like cats – give it a go. Great descriptions, with a great emotional payoff. Kate puts us deeply into Alex’s head. Seeing the world through Alex’s eyes is sometimes overwhelming, full of rules and lessons and adapting to unexpected change made all the more difficult when you have trouble understanding emotions, facial cues and the words that are not given voice from those around you. A terrific read that I recommend to all parents to read with their kids or to have their kids read to them. It’s good for schools and teachers and families and friends. But even if you don’t have kids or a dog, this is a feelgood story and will keep you reading until you reach the end, wishing for more.
Profile Image for Siobhain (whatyoutolkienabout).
196 reviews10 followers
August 17, 2022
Paws is a wonderful middle grade book that deals with the topic of autism in a beautiful way. It provides a brilliant insight into what the world is like for an autistic person and is a lovely way to introduce children to the topic in an understanding way. I particularly liked the inclusion of discussion points at the end of the book to stimulate children to think about the themes of the story and further understand it.

Paws follows Alex, an 11-year-old autistic person whose best friend is Kevin the cockapoo. We follows Alex as he tries to navigate life at school and most importantly try to get a friend at school. Determined to have a friend before starting High School Alex has devised a plan to ensure all the kids will be impressed by winning a trophy at the PAWS dog show.

This charming story follows Alex in the lead up to PAWS and sees him overcoming obstacles along the way. As I already mentioned Foster is incredibly respectful and detailed with outlining Alex’s autism and how it alters his experience to the world around him compared to some of the other characters in the book. It is honestly a heartwarming story that really captures the life experiences of the children involved and makes them relatable for the audience. The ending was incredible. I am not ashamed to say that it made me a little emotional but in a very good way. I really hope that is book gets into school libraries and school lessons since the story is beautiful and one that definitely should be explored more.
Profile Image for Mr Bramley.
292 reviews2 followers
October 8, 2022
I've been wanting to read this one for a while and actually ended up winning a copy in a Twitter competition which clearly I am very grateful for. What an amazing read - in the 'all the favourites' folder instantly.

An absolute gem: slice-of-life, diverse, an easy but deep touching read.

Alex, the main character is autistic. Living in Australia and about to make the transition to secondary school, he desperately wants to have a friend. And PAWS, the dog show, seems like the perfect way to do it. What better way of making friends than winning a trophy, right?

This is a wonderful little story that explores what friendship means, true to life family dynamics, and pet ownership, all specifically through the narration of an autistic boy.

This is one of very few children's books I have found narrated by an autistic child and written by an autistic author.
The first helped me to get my own diagnosis. This one, helped me to finally define a friend.
My whole life I have struggled to say that I have 'friends', because I've never truly been able to define what makes someone an acquaintance, a friend, or more. These words, this story, felt like it was written in a language I could finally read; a Eureka moment of understanding in my autistic brain. I felt seen, I felt understood, and now I understand.

I cannot wait to share this with other autistic (and allistic) children, and maybe help them to find that much sooner than I did. And even if not, to go on an beautiful journey of discovery with Alex and Kevin.
52 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2022
#ChildrenFiction #AutismRepresentation

TLDR: Who wouldn't love a book with a dog?
In her charming novel Paws, Kate Foster tells the sweet tale of Alex and Kevin, his dog. The story is reminiscent of the old adage, "Good things happen when you least expect them." Alex, an autistic 11-year-old, is terrified of starting high school, and all he needs is a friend at school. The story beautifully emphasises the importance of friendship and Alex's journey to find it.
I adored the story to pieces. The author has skillfully woven a story that captures Alex's emotions, insecurities, and perplexities at various points throughout the story. All of the characters were fantastic. They were all well-developed and relatable characters. There were scenarios that transported me back to my school days, reminding me of those difficult ice-breaker conversations when I first started at a new school.
All through the story, Foster has kept a charming tone. The PAWS Dog Show and events were vividly described, allowing you to picture everything in your mind.
The plot is simple and enjoyable. It's full of positive energy that will lift your spirits. This book was fantastic, and I heartily recommend it to everyone. (Even though I don't have a pet, I enjoyed reading this. I'm sure you'd enjoy it twice as much if you had a pet.)
Thanks to @lovebookstours @kfosterauthor @walkerbooksuk for providing the eARC as part of this wonderful #booktour.
Profile Image for Laura.
332 reviews14 followers
August 4, 2022
I’d like to start by taking a look at the cover, it’s gorgeous, colourful and calming. I just knew there would be a beautiful and heartwarming story within the pages.

We meet Alex, a young boy with autism, the story is told from his point of view and gives some valuable insight into how children with autism see, hear and perceive different things. I have a family member with autism so this was particularly interesting for me.

Alex is desperate to make friends, he is terrified that he will never have a real life friend, there is one particular person that he wants to be friends with but that person doesn’t seem to be keen. Alex soon learns that the ‘paws’ dog show is coming to his town and feels that by winning a trophy with his trusty little doggy Kevin, he will be able to impress his peers and become friends with them.

This is a well written emotionally charged read about one boy and his dog! Animal lovers will lap this up! There are also some very important issues raised within the story. This is the kind of book I can imagine a teacher picking up to read to the class at ‘story time’ as we used to call it.

I’d love to say more but this is one you are just going to have to pick up and read, you won’t be able to put it down!

Profile Image for Julie (Bookish.Intoxication).
762 reviews32 followers
April 14, 2021
From the first page, Paws draws you in to this amazing representation of what it is like at this point of the Austism Spectrum.

I am passionate about there being more positive and authentic representations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Kate Foster has written something that does both of those things. She does it respectfully and in a way that helps others to understand how things feel for people who have ASD.

I am so proud of Alex and his progression through this book. To see him confront his struggle with social cues and facial expressions, and overcome his hardships by letting himself make friends that have similar interests, not the friends he thinks are 'perfect' makes this book so heartfelt and warm.

Towards the end, I found myself getting quite teary, not from sadness, but overwhelming happiness for Alex. He came so far within the pages of this book and in the process found himself and his true friends.

PAWS is heartwarming and happy, it is easy to read and to process and has a fantastic Autism Spectrum Disorder representation.

Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me out a review copy of this title. All thoughts are my own.
442 reviews3 followers
August 13, 2022
Book review:
A book that drags the reader to anew world and another wikipedia of thinking.. A life of an autistic child is fill of problems if not dealt with love and care. Such a child is our little Alex...But for a change he has his friend in his dog who responds to him the same way.

Alex is searching for friends who could help him and he could share some feelings with them. But it was a hard and adventurous journey to make friends.

The author has beautifully depicted the emotions , sufferings and intense zeal among autistic children too. What any person needs to do is just provide your affectionate emotions to help them face the challenges of life gradually at a easier pace.

The book is written in a lucid language and each angle of Alex is vividly depicted. I loved reading this book and would recommend this book to all especially to autistic children. This book will help the kids to learn and remember to never lose hope and have faith in yourself whatever the conditions may be.
Happy Reading!
3 reviews
August 4, 2022
In a world where Alex struggles to understand and interpret those around him, ‘fitting in’ is quite a challenge. Determined to prove himself to the children in his class, Alex pins his hopes on making it to districts as part of popular-boy Jared’s relay team, or winning the coveted trophy in the PAWS dog show.

Will Alex succeed in his mission of impressing Jared and his friends, or will he realise that what he needs has been right in front of him the whole time?

Kate Foster is a great lover of dogs – and therefore a human we can trust – and she has crafted an uplifting story showing readers that we don’t need to work to impress people around us – our true friends will accept us just as we are.

Grab a hot chocolate, your fluffiest furry friend, and settle in for a delightful read.

Read the full review here: https://www.inkyfrogeditorial.com/pos...
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 2 books355 followers
December 1, 2020
Kate Foster’s PAWS is a heartwarming story of friendship – both the human sort and the animal sort. Alex is an eleven-year-old with autism, and he hopes that winning a trophy at PAWS, the local dog show, will be his chance to make friends. Alex’s voice is so endearing. His love for his dog, Kevin, just shines. And his descriptions of his own internal struggles to understand social and emotional cues are so honest: What does is mean when someone waggles her eyebrows at you? What does a wink indicate? Young readers will root so hard for Alex. They will love and appreciate the peers who ultimately become his friends. They will want him to win the PAWS competition so badly! And parents and educators will appreciate the excellent discussion questions at the end. Many thanks to the author and Walker Books for the advanced copy.
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1,515 reviews60 followers
May 2, 2021
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Thank you Walker Books for this book in exchange for an honest review

We need more books like PAWS, and we need them now.
PAWS hits you straight away with its authentic representation of ASD/ Autism Spectrum Disorder and is written in a meaningful and understanding way. Foster delivers us this gem of a book that is not only respectful and is relevant for the demand that we constantly want to see.
Alex is a phenomenal character that you instantly love and adore. You see such a brilliant progression of his character throughout the book and also his struggles of everyday tasks, such as reading facial expressions.
Honestly, this is a book you should add to your TBR.
Profile Image for Debra Tidball.
Author 3 books28 followers
June 22, 2021
An insightful and sensitively told story about a 12 year old boy with autism, navigating the highs and lows of life and friendship, with his trusty pooch by his side. As a dog-lover and a dog-obsessed child (my favourite book was 'Dogs Dogs Dogs' by Suzanne Troy) I could identify with Alex and his excitement about the PAWS dog show coming to town. As a parent and a social worker, I appreciated how things weren't easy for Alex and how he coped when all his life goals seemed to fail -his internal monologue and coping strategies were inspiring. And I loved the satisfying message that sometimes you achieve dreams you never knew you had, or in the words on the cover: 'Friends are what happens when you're making other plans.'

A highly recommended, gently suspenseful, feel-good story for 10-12 year olds.
552 reviews4 followers
July 31, 2022
This is a beautiful story of a young, autistic boy who simply wishes for a friend. He tries so hard to have people like him that he doesn't notice he has people, and a very special dog called Kevin, who are proud to call him a friend.
The bond between Kevin and Alex is truly beautiful, they say dogs understand human emotions better than humans do and this certainly seems to be the case here.
I love that the idea of friendship isn't just explored for Alex at age 11 though. The author highlights teenage relationships and adult friendships. This is so important, making a new friend can be difficult at all stages in life so it's lovely to see this being captured.
A lovely storyline with wonderful characters and dogs galore. Let's not forget the happiest dog ever - Vinnie.
A really sweet, informative read.
Profile Image for Tamar.
205 reviews22 followers
January 27, 2023
I got this book as a gift from the author. This does not influence my review in any way shape or form.
I am an own-voices reviewer for this book for the category: Autism

This book was excellent. Maybe I'm not a dog person. I don't really know why I didn't love this book. The autism rep was outstanding and painfully relatable in some instances. Alex's story is a story of many neurodivergent children growing up. Trying to make friends with people that do not like you even if you do not know why they do not like you. Kevin was adorable and a really good furry friend of Alex.
This book did not have the emotional impact I hoped it would have. There is nothing wrong with the book, but it just didn't feel the personal connection. I still recommend you read this book.
7.57 on CAWPILE TW// Ableism, bullying
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