Teenager writes book about autistic sibling
During the pandemic restrictions, many people took on various new projects as a result of being stuck at home. For 16-year-old Anthony Antoniou, he used the time during school closures to bond with his little brother, Constantin, who has autism. This coveted time together inspired him to even write a book about it, called Le gros problème de Noah.
Published by Bayard Canada and illustrated by Baptiste Amsallem, the French book is the true story of Anthony’s relationship with Constantin, and how it evolved during the pandemic. It tells the story of Noah, who really wants to hang out with his little brother Gabriel, but playing together is never easy for them. Because Gabriel’s brain works differently than other kids his age, Noah must find a unique way to play with him. He soon discovers that the answer is to figure out what Gabriel likes to do.
The book allows kids to learn about tolerance and perseverance, because Noah teaches you that there is always a solution to your problem. In addition, Anthony wanted to write this book so people can understand autism better.
“Learning that a loved one, especially a brother or a sister, will live with this condition is very hard,” Anthony said. “I was only 5 years old when the shock of the news changed my life. The hardest part was the look on other people’s faces when I invited them over. Some of them made fun of my brother, which hurt me a lot.”
For many years while he was growing up, Anthony says he would write to Santa at Christmas time and tell him his one wish was for his brother to no longer have autism.
All of the book sale royalties will be donated to Giant Steps Foundation, which offers financial support to Giant Steps – a school for students 4 to 21 who have autism spectrum disorders. Constantin is a student at the school.
“My biggest dream is that more people will understand the life of those with autism and their families, because this condition is unfortunately more and more common,” Antoniou said. “This is why I hope my book gets in the hands of as many children as possible.”
The book costs $19.95. To purchase, click here. It is also sold at many local stores that sell children’s books in Montreal.