Author offers students advice: always be kind
South Coast author Steven Manchester had several messages for Quinn Elementary School students during his April 27 visit, but one in particular stood out: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
As a young boy, Manchester grew up listening to his grandfather tell stories, which inspired him to become an author. Now an award-winning author, Manchester is spreading messages through his writing, as third and fifth graders saw firsthand during a reading of Manchester’s book Perfect Chase: One Reflection of Autism.
The book is about Chase Howard, the son of Manchester's friend, who has autism. Manchester once said that he and Howard would write a book one day, and after years of research and help from both Howard and his family, the book was released with pictures done by Howard.
“I thought I was going to help Chase and I thought I was going to help Chase’s family,” Manchester said. “I didn’t realize they were actually going to help me and they were going to teach me more things about life, about compassion, about empathy.”
Manchester spent two hours with the students reading portions of the book and explaining how it all came together. He also talked about what autism is and how the developmental disorder falls on a spectrum, meaning autism doesn’t affect everyone the same way. The event is all part of Autism Awareness month.
After hearing the story, student Kyle Martin reflected on how his cousin has autism.
“My cousin has autism and he’s super smart,” Martin said. “He knows all of the states and stuff.”
It was a reminder of how people with autism have their own strengths. For Howard, many students pointed out his compassion toward people is what made him the superhero of the story.
Howard’s caring nature is the message of the story Manchester left students with.
“I admire kindness more than anything in the world,” Manchester said. “You know people think of courage and I’ve been around some really tough people, some really tough places, but I admire kindness. You guys can start that habit now. Right just be kind to each other all the time.”