Mallko y Papá is a book about a father’s initial struggle and ultimate acceptance and celebration of his son, who has Down’s Syndrome. The style of writing and overall presentation is unique, or at least unlike other books I’ve encountered on special needs for readers of all ages. The book often reads like a personal journal, with art work, handwritten notes/dialogue and typed text, poems and short stories within the overall narrative. The variety of plotlines blends together seamlessly, with glimpses into the perspectives and experience of Mallko’s parents and other family members while showing different aspects of Mallko’s daily life, including challenges small and large, and life’s simple pleasures that bring him joy. The drawings and graphic art at times tell a more personal story than the words alone express.
It is somewhat unique to read this type of personal account and journey from a father’s perspective, and in that regard I believe this work is truly important. It addresses common themes of acceptance of individuals with special needs, yet gently pushes the reader to join the author in his journey beyond “acceptance,” and to view, experience and celebrate those with differences as perfect exactly as they are. The author describes and portrays his experience, particularly his initial struggle to accept his son’s condition, in a way that is honest, engaging and relatable, while the overall theme of this book has a strong message of love and human connection that is beautifully simplified.