Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules, 2007 Schneider Family Award winner and Newbery Honoree, is a quiet, touching story about a girl with an autistic brother. This came across my desk months ago, as I was making a bibliography on autism, but I didn't have time to read it then. I wasn't going to make time to read it now, until a coworker told me it featured Frog and Toad are Friends. (I just happen to be using that book for this month's book club.) I absolutely adore the use of Frog and Toad are Friends in this book. David, the autistic brother is obsessed with the audio tape and uses lines from the book when he cannot come up with his own. It serves as a kind of code between brother and sister.

The most interesting relationship in the book, is not the one that Catherine has with David, but the one she develops with Jason. Jason is a boy she meets at her brother's OT waiting room. Jason is wheelchair bound and unable to speak. She is realistically hesitant about Jason. Catherine's artistic skills and ability to see his life in a way neither his mother nor speech therapist can expand Jason's world.

We have it shelved in our children's section, but I think it would would wonderfully with young teens. This isn't something I usually think about (though it should be), but another coworker of mine was complaining earlier tonight that too many of the applauded teen books are not suitable for her young teens.

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