Book Review- Second Chance

Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog (PBS Kids recommended title) by Sandra J. Gerencher is a great children's book that combines sensitivity, caring and understanding for the sometimes difficult topics of orphans, adoption, autism and belonging.

From the Publisher:

The timeless tale of a boy (with autism) and his (shelter) dog. Over the past 10 years, author Sandra Gerencher has been on a mission to save dogs from high-kill animal shelters. Her first rescue was P.J., the black and white Pomeranian in the story. She also adopted the orange Pomeranians Shelby and Lil Rascal, and of course, Chance, the big black Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix. All characters in the story are based on Sandra's real life family. The book is filled with softly blended watercolor photos of her loved ones. Her most significant adoption was her son, Terry. He was considered a special needs child because he was born with a genetic disorder known as Fragile X Syndrome. The disorder can cause many cognitive disorders, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation and depression.

My review:

Although I'm not a dog person, I am an avid reader of everything to do with autism and adoption and I love that this book is able to express compassion, love and understanding of family, adoption and autism.  This book offers the reader, young and old, an opportunity to glimpse a small moment in the author's life as she welcomes a new member of her family into the fold and allows him to learn organically about his place in their 'pack' and what the terms 'adoption' and 'autism' mean.

This book would make an excellent edition to school libraries, classrooms and home libraries, especially as a communication tool to talk about and celebrate difference, similarity and family!

Sandra Gerencher is a special education teacher in the public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

Purchase the book:
Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog is available from as both a paperback and a kindle edition, and a portion of the proceeds supports the Humane Society