MORRISONVILLE, NY – Benjamin Giroux’s poem celebrates the differences in all of us.
The poem I am odd, I am new went viral and will now be turned into a children’s book. The 14-year-old, who has Aspergers, a form of autism, said he’s surprised by the reaction, but hopes the book will make as big as an impact as his poem.
Benjamin wrote the poem four years ago, when he was 10, for a class assignment “I was made to do for grades and stuff,” he said. To read the poem, click here.
Ben’s father Sonny said they kept him home from school on the day he was supposed to read his poem to the class.
“He felt that it wasn’t good enough to read and that kids would laugh at him for sharing, ya know, his most personal feelings,” said Sonny.
Benjamin’s dad said the poem brought him to tears, and that’s when he decided to share it on Facebook. Little did they know his poem would touch so many.
“I didn’t even think it was going to be noticed because when my dad posted it online I didn’t even know. I was shocked really. I really didn’t think it would get this far,” said Benjamin.
The poem was translated into more than 21 languages and has been turned into songs. The book will be published by Shiffer Publishing. An illustrator is currently working on ideas.
“Now to have a child who is autistic, who was able to put his own words on paper and to be able to share that with the world — now kids will be able to read words from another child and see that they are not alone,” said Sonny.
The book is set to be released in fall 2021. Benjamin says in the meantime he will be updating his social media accounts and working on other ideas.
“I’m really excited. I’m mostly excited to see if it gets into my school library,” he said.