by Cynthia Lord
Ages 10 & up, 200 pages
Genre/Topics: Realistic Fiction, Autism, Coming-of-Age
Catherine is a twelve year old girl who desires a normal life, but sometimes it’s difficult when her brother, David, has autism. She loves David, but feels she must always tell him her ‘rules’ so he knows how the world works. Here are some of Catherine’s rules: No toys in the fish tank. At someone else’s house, you have to follow their rules. Sometimes people laugh when they like you, but sometimes they laugh to hurt you. A boy can take his shirt off to swim, but not his shorts. Catherine hopes that David can maintain these rules and many more when a potential new friend moves next door. She tries to make everything perfect to impress her maybe best friend. Catherine meets another friend when she accompanies her mother at David’s occupational therapy. Jason is a teen in a wheelchair and communicates through many word flashcards. Catherine loves drawing and introduces words and phrases that she thinks he is missing, such as awesome, gross, and stinks a big one. At first, Catherine is unsure how to relate to Jason but gradually they develop a friendship.
I thought Rules was an excellent book that had the right mix of being an awkward teen trying to be herself, yet how to be realistic and not always worry about rules. I felt the book had a lot of ‘heart’ without over doing it. Cynthia Lord has a child with autism, so I think her personal insight is seen in the book. Rules won numerous awards. It won the Schneider Family Book Award for the artistic expression of the disability experience for children and or adolescent audiences. It also earned an Newbery Honor. I highly suggest this great read.
- A Good Book! (katiebughug.wordpress.com)