Teaching I Am Odd, I Am New

A Note To Readers

Today I am delighted to welcome one of my debut group colleagues to the blog to talk about how to teach his picture book, I am Odd, I am New. Ben Giroux wrote his I AM poem as a classroom assignment when he was ten. Now that he’s 16, he’s about to become a debut picture book author! Woot! What an amazing lesson in how teen writing can change the world! (Yes, as the author of MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD and the founder of DREAM KEEPERS, I’m a little bit biased about this!)

If you want to learn more about how Ben’s poem became a book, check out this post from The Write Now! Coach Blog:

From Poem to Picture Book


Teaching I Am Odd, I Am New


Tell us about your book.

My book is based on my viral poem that I wrote when I was 10. I was in 5th grade and had to write and I AM poem for a library assignment. I wrote about how I felt in the moment, being a 10 year old boy with autism, that was bullied daily. My words, along with the amazing illustrations by the award winning Canadian illustrator, Roz MacLean, is now a Kirkus Reviews Star book, that comes on Oct 26th 2021.


What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?

I hope any reader, young or old, will realize that we all, at some point in our lives, feel alone, different and sad. But that because we all feel that way sometime, we are not alone. And what makes us different, or odd, is what makes us unique, and being unique is wonderful!


How might a teacher or librarian use your book in the classroom?

They can use my book to teach children about poetry. And how writing can be a great way for people to share their true feelings. This can be taught when ever, however, during Poetry month, which happens to be the same as Autism Awareness month, would be a great time to use my book for lessons.


Can you share an exercise or activity that teachers can do with students after they’ve read your book?

After using my book to teach children about poetry, autism and emotions, having them write their own I Am poem, starting each line with the first two words of my poem, would be a great way to introduce them to poetry and writing.


What book(s) pair well with your book?

Any book that talks about feeling different, alone, and being bullied would work.



About the author. Benjamin Giroux, author of the children’s book I Am Odd, I Am New,  has been featured on many websites, in the Huffington Post, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. He was named Poet Laureate of Plattsburgh, New York, and has also been the face of the National Autism Association’s antibullying campaign. His poem has been translated into more than 20 different languages.



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