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Thirty Days Has September

I really enjoyed this story on All Things Considered today. Journalist Christopher Stevens talks about his new book, Thirty Days Has September: Cool Ways to Remember Stuff. It’s a collection of mnemonic tips and tricks for remembering, math and spelling rules, geography, science, etc. (For example, We Just Like Rushmore to remember the four heads on Mount Rushmore — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Rosevelt).

That’s clever but what I found more interesting was the unexpected inspiration for the book. Stevens’ 12 year-old son is profoundly autistic. He cannot understand spoken language but can recognition and reproduce music including the words. He communicates and responds to musical verses as cues to taking a bath, going into the car, etc. These are his mnemonic devices. Stevens has also written a book with his wife about their son called A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives – and Made a Family from the Pieces.

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