Having started it the other day, I finished reading Cynthia Lord’s Rules, a short novel for young people about a girl coping with her own developing identity in the shadow of her autistic brother. The author has an autistic child and portrayed her characters with an authenticity which I could recognize, having worked with children with autism and communication disorders in the past. The book has received both the Newbery Honor and the Schneider Family Book Award. Going in, I worried about the possibility of the protagonist, Catherine, coming across as a self-pitying whiner, and there are elements of that, but she seems as though she comes by it honestly as a girl her age, so to speak, and not as an author’s two-dimensional fabrication. I also thought Lord’s handling of Jason, a wheelchair bound boy who communicates with a binder of word cards, and the development of his complicated friendship with Catherine to be simply and honestly explored.
I also read Bone: Book 1 - Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith. Since this is the first in a series of graphic novels, I won’t comment on each, but will acknowledge each as I finish it. Though there will be nine books in all, seven are currently in my possession, so I will comment on the seven as a whole (unless the eighth is out and I’ve got it by the time I finish).