Canaries Among Us: A Mother’s Quest to Honor her Child’s Individuality in a Culture Determined to Negate It
Canaries Among Us: A Mother’s Quest to Honor her Child’s Individuality in a Culture Determined to Negate It by Kayla Taylor really touched my heart. Taylor tells the story of her own child, Hannah, who has been diagnosed with both situational anxiety and developmental coordination disorder, otherwise known as sensory processing disorder. Although she was always a sensitive girl, Taylor did not understand that her daughter’s clinginess had a deeper meaning until this diagnosis.
The story begins in a heartbreaking way. Hannah begins to come home from her school telling her mother shocking stories of the way she has been treated that day. For example, one day, Hannah gets into the car and tells her mother that the other children have created an “I Hate Hannah Club,” where her bullies took things a step further by taunting her. Taylor is shocked; Hannah’s school has an alleged commitment to instilling good values and kindness in its students. Taylor and her husband had purposefully sent Hannah and her siblings there due to their belief in the school’s core values. And now Hannah is being bullied, targeted by two other girls and her classmates for being different.
What’s equally heartbreaking about Hannah’s bullying is the school’s response. What Taylor tells of the administration’s incompetence and lack of sympathy, care, and just basic human decency had my jaw drop more than once. Not only that, the bullies’ parents seem to give no regard to how severe the situation is for Hannah and how their children are quite literally destroying other people’s lives. I cannot even imagine the pain Taylor and her husband must have felt watching their young daughter suffer the way she did. After months upon months of this taunting, Hannah shuts down completely, and Taylor takes measures into her own hands to seek more help and support for her daughter.
I have to applaud Taylor foremost for her vulnerability in writing this story. The anecdotes she recalls, and the stories I read of Hannah and her mother’s suffering broke my heart. The courage to put this story on paper should not be overlooked; this book can open doors to help other mothers and families deal with bullying and unique children. Taylor addresses so many noteworthy things in her book, much more than I can write in a review. They include the importance of inclusion, diversity, and how to protect children who are vulnerable. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to all parents and also to educators. Everyone can benefit from a better understanding of others’ differences, especially if those differences are happening in a classroom setting.
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|Parenting & Families