I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting this fabulous author, D.S. Walker while I was at a conference in Hawaii. Walker wrote a wonderful novel entitled, Delightfully Different, a story loosely based on the life of the author and her daughter. Delightfully Different is about a little Asian American/Pacific Islander girl named Mia and her mother, Francesca and their relationship. Mia loves music and enjoys composing songs on the piano. However, as the novel progresses, Mia obtains sensory issues like not liking her feet to touch the grass or talking on the phone. Her family can’t figure out what her problems. The problems worsen as Mia enters 5th grade where she is bullied by her classmate and the school counselor does nothing to help her, only make her feel guiltier. It is then discovered that Mia has Asperger’s Syndrome. Through the support of their family, Mia and Francesca’s relationship experiences leaps and boundaries as they learn more about Asperger’s Syndrome, try to implement anti-bullying strategies and policies in Mia’s elementary school and Mia learning to forgive those around her and their ignorance of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Even though Mia is bullied because she has Asperger’s Syndrome, her story can definitely relate to all children and young adults who currently experience bullying and/or have been bullied and their parents. Her story emphasizes the fact there needs to be more education and services especially for public schools and families on Asperger’s Syndrome and children with Asperger’s Syndrome need support, strong communication and love from especially from their family. In the book, Mia struggles with her relationship with her father and paternal grandmother as they do not fully grasp their understanding of Mia’s diagnosis. In addition, the story highlights cultural misunderstandings particularly between first generation Asian American immigrants and their grandchildren. This is shown between Mia wondering why her father and grandmother always having high expectations of her academically but do not show her any sense of affection and sympathy as she struggles through her Asperger’s syndrome. Her mother then has to explain to her that they were raised in a culture to not show affection and they still are learning how to express that affection.
Overall, I recommend anyone to read this book because it is truly a powerful piece of writing.
Here is more information about the author, D.S. Walker: