A Picture Book to Inspire Sensory Awareness

a children’s picture book for children ages 2-5

A heartwarming story about a boy with autism and a mother’s love, Kelley Donner’s debut picture book Ball! Ball! Ball! is the first book in the Happy Heads series dedicated to creating realistic characters with special needs and autism in children;s literature.

Tom is fascinated with all things round and enthusiastically points out any object he can find that resembles a ball. From peas to balloons, Tom learns that “balls” can be smooth or squishy, can pop, and even have different temperatures. A delightfully, uplifting sensory story, Ball! Ball! Ball! shows that even love can appear in the shape of a ball.

Each book in the Happy Heads Series tells the story of one child with special needs and/or autism and his or her individual challenges and triumphs. Ball! Ball! Ball! is about Tom, a young boy with autism who speaks only a few words and is fascinated with round objects. It is a book about sensory awareness and self-discovery. This is Tom’s story.


“As a doctor working in child mental health I warmly recommend this book. It is a inspiring story of exploration and affection. The illustrations are breathtaking and will draw any reader in from the start. While I feel that this is a book for everyone to enjoy, it is of particular interest to parents of children with special needs. It’s inclusive character will appeal to children who may feel different from others.” - Anna Conway-Morris, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at CPFT

“...the end of the book got me. The mother was not trying to get him to "use his words." She brought him a ball, and he exclaimed "BALL!" and she understood it as "thank you." That was good enough.” - Amanda Seigler at, a fierce advocate for children with autism. Her fight against fake “bleach” cures against autism made national headlines.


Sensory Tie-In Activities

This month I visited a special education classroom in Bangabandhu Primary School in London which was using Ball! Ball! Ball! for their Topic (main subject of curriculum for a term in the UK). Maddi Outram had done a wonderful job combining sensory fun activities with elements from the book. I have written about this visit on my blog A Little Donnerwetter. If you would like to see various sensory tie-in activities, please click the link below.

In the News:

Cambridge Independent Article Ball.jpg
Cambridge News.jpg

Other News:

A Little Donnerwetter, May 15, 2019 - Sensory Fun at Bangabandhu Primary School

Cambridge Independent, July 3, 2019 - Educator Kelley Donner to read from her debut book at Cambridge’s Big Weekend