Juan Has the Jitters

Juan Has the Jitters
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Release Date
October 06, 2020
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A story about inclusion, diversity, and the power of math to help one boy with autism thrive among his peers.

Juan claps his hands to get his Jitters out. They make his tummy swoosh and swirl. His Jitters happen when there are too many people, too much noise, or too many changes to his day. Juan doesn't like surprises.

Tomorrow there is an athletic event planned at school, which makes Juan very nervous. But his teacher has the perfect solution: math--Juan's favorite subject! Counting, sorting, and matching help Juan calm his Jitters. By making math part of the day's athletic games, and by appointing Juan the official judge, his teacher can make sure that Juan will have fun and feel included. The class is calling it the Mathletic Games!

Parents of children 4 to 8 years-old can use this book to help teach kids about neurodiversity, inclusion, and the beauty in what makes every one of us unique. Teachers will find the book meets several Common Core Standards for pre-K through third grade in reading and math, and nurtures multiple domains of scholastic development.

Editor review

1 review
fantastic story about inclusion and neurodiversity
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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JUAN HAS THE JITTERS is a fantastic picture book about children who are neurodivergent and the importance of inclusion. Juan has autism, and he uses clapping to help calm himself. He is nervous because tomorrow is going to be the school's athletic games, and he knows that noise, crowds, and changes in his routine cause his "jitters." He uses sorting and counting tools to calm himself before bed, and his mother helps to prepare him. His teacher, Mr. Lee, is helping by making the games about math and asking Juan to be a judge.

The next day, though he is worried, the games begin, and Juan is able to get into the spirit of the mathletic games. As he studies the tasks, his jitters begin to go away, and by the end of the fun games, Juan and the other children are happy!

What I loved: This book does a great job of explaining neurodivergence and Juan's coping mechanisms in terms that children can understand. Additionally, the benefit of inclusion by making the games something Juan can also get into is clear when all the children are happy throughout. These messages are really important, and there is a lot of value to reading this story to young children.

In addition to those great themes, the story of the book is easy to follow and lots of fun - readers will enjoy seeing the many children playing the games and all the lovely illustrations with so much color. This is a really smart book that will appeal to many readers, great for preschool through elementary school aged readers. The font is also nice and clear with a good amount of words on each page, allowing children to enjoy the illustrations without being too verbose.

Final verdict: A charming story of inclusion, JUAN HAS THE JITTERS is a definite win for young readers. Great illustrations, a cute storyline, and important themes make this a perfect choice for preschool and elementary school aged children.
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