Haley Moss is an autistic attorney, author, artist and advocate. In these words, taken from her foreword to Kathy Hoopmann’s new All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum, she explains how the book has personal meaning for her.
Me-wow! I was 13 years old when my mom brought All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome home from an autism conference. You’d expect teenagers to think they’re too old for picture books when they so desperately want to be seen as adults, but nope – the adorable cats and simple yet positive words to connect everything together made me, a lifelong dog owner and lover, feel a deep connection with cats and autism. I couldn’t describe the magic of how cats perfectly explained everything I felt and knew about myself. Kathy’s stunning depictions of autism resonated deeply with me. I was already confident and proud to be autistic, and that pride was solidified in a picture book.
Smiles from the book’s feline friends were contagious within my house; my mom and dad shared the magic of cats on the autism spectrum with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the many ways All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome made me smile as an autistic teenager, and the book loyally sits in my joy-filled autism library well into adulthood.
I unabashedly say this is one of my favorite books of all time. In the twelve years I’ve had my copy of All Cats, it has been a trusty sidekick and teaching tool. Friends and strangers alike have all felt the heartwarming effect of this book and a shared connection to me whenever I introduced them to it. It’s the book I used to tell my high school best friend I was autistic. It’s the book I kept on my desk at my law office to make colleagues, clients, and visitors feel comfortable learning about autism. It’s a book that reminds me that being different is not a bad thing and, sometimes, people on the autism spectrum are both celebrated and misunderstood just like our feline companions.
Cats on and off the page can change hearts and minds. I never had a cat in my life outside of this book until a little over a year ago, but now, I see myself in her. I see my cat in me with our autistic traits, and I can now say all cats are definitely on the autism spectrum.
When Kathy mentioned that my all-time favorite autism book was getting an update to be more inclusive of people all across the spectrum (including us girls!), I was thrilled. When I told my parents that I was fortunate enough to have the honor of writing a foreword to one of my favorite books in the world, my mom freaked out, remembering this was the book that caught her eye so many years back and that continues to touch our hearts.
All Cats Are on the Autism Spectrum is like receiving a hug from a lifelong friend you haven’t seen in a while. You will always be close with an indescribable bond. Knowing future generations of young people on the spectrum and their families will get to enjoy this book for years to come makes me think we will have a more understanding, accepting generation of cat lovers who become better friends to autistic children and adults alike.
May this book fill your day with meows, laughs, play, smiles – and some new friends and understanding during your journey. Your mileage may vary, but I am still delightfully sharing and spreading the magic of All Cats Are on the Autism Spectrum – and hope you do, too.
This series of books now all have the same look and feel, including All Birds Have Anxiety and the updated All Dogs Have ADHD. Click here to browse all of Kathy Hoopmann’s books.
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