The poem repeats the phrase “I’m weird, I’m new” throughout and details his struggles with others when he was an autistic child. It is clear from the start that Benjamin understands that he is not like other children his age.
He admits it’s a fight for him. His words express the sadness and isolation that one goes through to be different from others, which is very related. It’s safe to say that everyone will experience these feelings at some point in their lives.
Benjamin’s poem captures these feelings perfectly and with a mental acuity far beyond his years. The last stanza of the poem is more optimistic, letting the reader know that they realize that others feel the same way and that everyone is a bit strange in their own way. It’s a unique observation that there aren’t many kids his age, and it gives us some insight into what’s going on in his head.
All images have been used with the express permission of Benjamin Giroux / Facebook
Benjamin’s poem was so poignant that it caught the attention of the National Autism Society. The organization shared it on its Facebook page, where it has been shared almost 40,000 times. It has heightened autism awareness and the emotions of those who have experienced the disease.
The poem has been translated into 20 different languages and has since been turned into a book titled “I’m Strange, I’m New” published by Schaeffer Publishing earlier this year, according to a recent Facebook post by Giroux.
The #oddtoo hashtag has also been linked on social media. Sometimes an author struggles to live up to the expectations of their first poem and chooses to express themselves through art and music these days.
We’re delighted to share this sneak peek of the forthcoming I AM ODD, I AM NEW by Benjamin Giroux, illustrated by Roz Maclean. We can’t to share the rest of this beautiful book celebrating neurodiversity with you! https://t.co/GCF3RA5yaf— BookEnds Literary (@bookendslit) April 21, 2020
Pass this poem on to your friends and family to raise autism awareness. We need to end the stigma surrounding this disorder that affects so many around the world and make this world a more tolerant and understanding place.