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The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism by Kate Winslet

It was the cover art that attracted me to The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism. That cover features a b/w photo of Kate Winslet with Keli Thorsteinsson, an autistic youth featured in the documentary, “Sunshine Boy” released in the U.S. as “A Mother’s Courage:Talking Back to Autism”.  While providing the English voice over for the film, Kate was introduced to Keli and his mother, Margaret Ericsdottir who coauthored the book. It’s clear that Winslet has built close relationships with the film-makers and has then adopted autism as one of her causes, forming The Golden Hat Foundation dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with autism around the world, and creating an environment that holds these individuals as intellectually capable.  This book is a fund-rising effort and features celebrities including taking their own photos with Winslet’s trilby and including a quotation. For me, the photos and the quotations were the least interesting part of the book.  In fact, some of the quotations were ‘odd’.  The book draws its power from Winslet’s narrative, Thorsteinsson’s poetry, and the agonizing story of his mother’s attempt to communicate. I learned more about the human side of autism in this relatively slight book, than in many of the other titles out there. Be prepared to be amazed by the human spirit as you read The Golden Hat. This book along with the documentary would be an excellent launch for discussions about autism and disabilities in many environments, but especially with teenagers, who form its focus.

Amy P.

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