cover image THE MIND TREE: A Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism

THE MIND TREE: A Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism

Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, Author . Arcade $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55970-699-5

Now 15 years old, the Bengali boy known as "Tito" wrote the texts collected in this book between the ages of eight and 11. That fact would be remarkable in itself, given their exquisite beauty and concision in describing the world of their author ("the cobweb of uncertainty remained"), but Tito's severe autism, diagnosed when he was three, makes them little short of miraculous. Tito's mother Soma taught him to write in Bengali and in English by working with him intensively over years. While there have been skeptics of Tito's writing ability (as documented in 60 Minutes and Good Morning America features), the experience of reading the book together with testimony from psychiatrist Lorna Wing convinces that Tito wrote it himself. It documents, with patient and poetic clarity, the experience of not fitting in, of finding the world beautiful, of having trouble making oneself understood—in short, of life as most people experience it. (Oct.)

Forecast: A 35,000 first printing is a fair bet on this book's appeal beyond the autism community, to parents and kids who have responded to Mattie Stepanek and other child writers.