So this is our Community Reads book this year, Rules by Cynthia Lord
We just finished reading it at home as a Read Aloud and it was fantastic. It is 200 pages with both long and short chapters but it is really engaging so it is hard to just stop reading. Ask Flowergirl who picked it up and finished it in the wink of an eye. Any way it is a very realistic story about a sister Catherine who is 12 and her younger brother David who is 8 and Autistic. In her efforts to make her life more "Normal", she makes a variety of rules for David to follow such as "No toys in the fish tank, If it is to loud, cover your ears or ask the person to be quiet." So most conversations with her brother revolve around a rule or two. A big setting of the book is in the reception area of Out patient Rehabilitation services where her brother attends Occupational Therapy. Now being an Occupational Therapist myself, any book with that has a major part of the setting relating to OT gets points!! It is at Rehab. that she meets another boy ( Jason) who attends Speech therapy and is restricted to a wheel chair. Jason is non-verbal using a communication book with words in it. Catherine being artistic engages in making him colorful words figuratively and literally. " stinks a big one" I think it is pretty realistic to life as 8, 12 year olds, complete with pet Guinea Pigs, & warm family life that is not always perfect.
It really comes down to accepting differences. It is about giving us a birdseye view to what both a family and society do when faced with a child with a disability. It opens a lot of points for further conversations with kids- What would you do? What do you think will happen next? Do you agree with how she handled that? Obviously I could go on and on with the plot but that would leave you with nothing to read so I will leave this as highly recommended.
Learning to accept differences in how we look, speak, dress how we think or what we believe is very important at any age. Something important to learn but rarely taught in any formal way. So read on, hope you enjoy it as much as we have. Now to start a new read aloud- I think it will be Seedfolk. Stay tuned and we will let you know as it unfolds.