Review & Giveaway: Jo's Special Gifts by Mariam Shapera


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This post is sponsored by Mariam Shapera and hosted by The Children's Book Review. Learn more about the book, the author, the illustrator, and my thoughts below then take a chance and enter the giveaway! 


Jo’s Special Gifts

Written by Mariam Shapera

Illustrated by Lorna Humphreys

Ages 4+ | 39 Pages

Publisher: Mariam Shapera | ISBN-13: 979-8-9896337-0-8

Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Book Summary: Join Jo, an enthusiastic, curious, and sensitive boy, as he shares his autistic joys and challenges with you. This is an emotional journey that celebrates neurodiversity and embracing one’s own gifts. This heartwarming rhyming story celebrates the unique gifts that each person can bring to the world. You will love entering this amazing autistic brain as we celebrate Jo’s special gifts.


Jo's Special Gifts by Mariam Shapera, illustrated by Lorna Humphreys is a touching educational book. It is the first book I can recall reading that helps one understand the complexities of being on the spectrum or the parent of a child on the spectrum.

With a soft huggable matte cover in the most beautiful shade of yellow, it opens up onto the cutest little "This book belongs to _______ page" I immediately had a 'Little Golden Book" flashback. The book is well articulated. Written from Jo's viewpoint, it invites you into the intimacy of his mind.

He shares his story straightforwardly and adorably so that what would normally make you uncomfortable because you don't know what to say or how to react, turns into an "Oh. I get it."

By no means am I saying that the book is an exhaustive reference source that makes the reader all-knowing? It is, however, a wonderful introduction that piques your interest and prompts you to want to learn more.

At the end of the book, Mariam shares some information to aid adults.

What I liked

  • The book caters to kids and adults 
  • The whole idea of the book
  • Jo does not feel sorry for himself, he just is
  • The emphasis is on what he brings to the table with his multiple gifts like playing music by ear and perfect pitch. As a singer, those are two huge talents.

What Gave Me Pause

  • I was not a fan of some of the rhyming

Key Takeaway

  • Everyone has worth, and everyone is born with at least one gift.

My Recommendation

  • Check out a copy of this book it would be a great addition to classrooms, libraries, and homes. It turned out to be the book that I didn't know I needed to read. Well done, Mariam!

If you liked Zion Learns to See: Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness by father/daughter team Terence and Zion Lester, you will love Jo's Special Gifts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and purchased a copy via Kindle Unlimited all opinions shared are my own.


Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |


Mariam Shapera who is a family doctor and Autism advocate, was raised in the United Kingdom but now lives in California with her husband and three children. ‘Having to learn to advocate for my autistic son, Jo, I wanted to combine my love for writing children’s books with my goal of increasing autism acceptance. I have observed countless times the way Jo pursues his interests and passions and the autistic joy they bring him. So this book was born.’

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Lorna Humphreys lives in the United Kingdom with her partner, her two daughters and her cat. She works with authors all over the world and, through her illustrations, helps bring many wonderful stories to life. ‘My eldest daughter, Olivia, is autistic and struggles with social interaction and emotional regulation. When Mariam asked if I would collaborate with her, I was delighted to have the opportunity to illustrate a book that would mean so much to children like Jo and Olivia, to remind them of how special and gifted they are!’



Enter for your chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Jo’s Special Gifts, a signed copy of Mariam’s first book, Up Up You Go, Jo!, and a $25 Starbucks gift card. 

Jo's Special Gifts: Book Giveaway

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