Author: Cynthia Lord
Summary: Catherine is a 12 year old girl who wants to have a normal life, but it is impossible when her brother David has Autism and her family revolves around his disability. She spends years trying to teach David rules in order to wear off his embarrassing behaviors. During the summer Catherine meets Jason who has cerebral palsy, a boy different than any other boys she met before. Her own behaviors force her to question what is normal?
Reflection: I bought this book because I was interested in seeing how the author was going to portray Autism in a book for children. The books was humorous, entertaining and sensitive. I enjoyed how the author embedded a serious issue with the everyday lives and events of Catherine, a young child like many.
How would I use the book: I would definitely use the book as a read aloud over a period of days and examine the issue of acceptance. I would highlight the disabilities that are mentioned in the story, Autism and Cerebral Palsy and make sure that students are aware that their peers can face these disabilities, but not to treat them any differently. This book is more for the upper elementary grades. I would form literacy circles and provide various questions to enhance knowldege and enjoyment of the book. As actitivities I would have students create some of the things mentioned in the story done by David or Jason. The students can construct their own and have a sense of what it might feel like to have one of those disabilities.
Domains of Social Justice: 1) Self Love and Acceptance: Students learn to love themselves for who they are. 2) Respect for Others: Students learn to appreciate those who are different from them in any way. 3) Social Movements and Social Change: Students learn that they can help students with these disabilities by becoming friends with them and protecting them from anyone that wishes to harm them. 4) Social Action: Students learn that they can become advocates for their disabled peers and teach the entire school about the disabilities or any others present in the school by any means.