Rules, by Cynthia Lord – The Newbery Project

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Rules, by Cynthia Lord

Rules, by Cynthia Lord

Rules:
No toys in the fishtank!
A boy takes off his shirt to swim, but not his shorts.

So many of my fears for Owen actually happen to David in this book.

My fear that other kids will make fun of him, and  he’ll think they’re his friends.

My fear that his big sister, who currently thinks he is the most awesome baby ever, will one day be embarrassed by him.

My fear that he won’t have any friends and will drive his brother and sister crazy by tagging along with them all the time (okay, my own little brother did that, and he didn’t have a disability).

My fear that our lives will sometimes feel like they revolve around his disability instead of around our family as a whole.

Rules is the story of 12-year old Catherine’s constant frustration with her brother David’s autism, even as she loves and protects him. We see how embarrassed she is by him, while at the same time stoutly defending him. Catherine isn’t a perfect sister, and I’m grateful for that. I think sometimes we work so hard in the disability world to emphasize the positive that we make it feel abnormal to have feelings of regret, sadness, and fear.

Cynthia Lord has a son with autism, and you can tell her writing comes from a real place. The real experience — not what we wish it could be. And she does this with a great deal of humor, mixed with enough Arnold Lobel quotes to send me to B&N and Amazon looking for the complete Frog and Toad collection.

I laughed a lot, and I cringed more times than I can count, and I knew deep down that I was no better than Catherine.

And, I suppose, no worse.

Rules, by Cynthia Lord; Audiobook Narrated by: Jessica Almasy

Newbery Honor – 2007

A.R Level: 3.9; Middle Grades

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