Life, Animated is a book written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Suskind.  His son Owen was born a typical baby, but at a very young age, he becomes non-verbal.  The family takes him to doctors, therapists and anyone else they think might be able to help figure out what happened.  Unfortunately they are not successful in bringing Owen back to his former self.

 

The family begins to notice that not only does the family love Disney movies, but that Owen has a much more involved love of these movies.  Owen and his brother Walt watch the movies a lot and eventually notice that Owen uses these movies to communicate with his family. He will act the movie scenes out with the family to communicate what he needs and feels.  The family begins to join in this in order to communicate with their son. As time goes on Owen begins to use phrases and words from the Disney movies causing the family to realize just how much of an impact they have on Owen and his ability to communicate.  

 

During his life Owen goes to special schools where his Disney learning style is appreciated, but the family also faces setbacks when schools won’t allow the special learning style Owen needs.  He goes back to his old school where the family feels that he’s not learning what he needs to learn. This is especially apparent when Owen says he wants to be an animator for the Walt Disney Company.  Owen has a special talent for drawing and the family wants to help him with that talent. HIs mom eventually begins to home school Owen so they can prepare him to move into high school and eventually college.  

 

Owen finally makes it to a college of sorts.  He forms a Disney Club with others who are like him and together they share their love of Disney, discuss what helps them communicate when they sometimes can’t find the right words and even helps Owen find love.  

 

One of the biggest things about Owen that is discovered is that he likes the Disney sidekicks more than he likes the main Disney characters.  Jafar, Rafiki and Philoctetes are an integral part of Owens life. He uses their lines to shape and mold his own life. Owen also feels that no sidekick should be left behind which moves Owen closer to his dreams of being an animator.  He meets with animators at the Disney studios in Burbank, meets actors who have voiced characters in many of his favorite movies and forms bonds and friendships with many of them because of his love of Disney and his dreams to be an animator.

 

This book is full of inspiration, showing how Disney can truly inspire even those who have no voice and these Disney movies even help them find their voice.  This book is the story of the Suskind family and I highly recommend it if you’re wanting a book that shows just how important the Disney legacy can be.

 

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