'My Friend Noah' teaches how all friends are different
by Mark Andrews
Jul 24, 2011 | 3433 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Author Barbara Tarnow reads to her friend and subject of her book, “My Friend Noah.”
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Author Barbara Tarnow reads to her friend and subject of her book, “My Friend Noah.” SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Cloverleaf Elementary School instructor and first time author Barbara Tarnow says her book, "My Friend Noah," comes from her experiences working with special needs students and seeing there is no wrong way to learn and live.

"The inspiration was watching [Noah] make friends and watching how kids at first kind of stepped back from him because he was different," Tarnow said.

The illustrated children's book is inspired by Noah Schaaf, a rising sixth-grader. Noah, who, in the book is in the first-grade and a new kid in the story, forms a friendship with student Zac on the first day of school. Zac notices that Noah is very outgoing and friendly and behaves somewhat differently than his peers. He later learns from his teacher Noah has Downs Syndrome.

She said working with children from all walks of life, communication has been the biggest barrier when it comes to interacting with special needs students.

For example, she said Noah may get excited when playing and working with other students causing some difficulty in interpreting what is being said.

"It's just a matter of figuring out what [Noah] is saying," Tarnow said.

Tarnow said the book could help students and even adults improve relationships with others who may appear different.

"Just because [Noah] is different doesn't mean you have to be afraid of him," Tarnow said. "He's got a huge heart even with somebody he doesn't know."

Hardback and standard editions of the book are available through Tarnow by visiting the "My Friend Noah" Facebook page. Standard editions are available through the publishing company at www.tatepublishing.com and the national release of the book is Aug. 23.

Tarnow will have a book signing Monday and Tuesday at Ladies Fitness, 206 East Church St. in Cartersville, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. She will also have a book signing at Staples in Acworth on Saturday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.