Created by Laura Abbott

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Lord, Cynthia. Rules. Scholastic, Incorporated, 2008. 224 pages. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-439-44383-8.

Annotation: Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life but that is impossible with David, an autistic younger brother.

Summary: Catherine, a middle school student, is concerned about appearing normal. Although she loves her autistic brother, David, she is embarrassed by his odd behavior. Catherine really wants to impress Kristi, the new popular girl next door and she does not want her flaky family to mess things up for her. In an attempt to cope, Catherine creates “rules” for David to help him understand how the world works. But when she befriends Jason, a nonverbal paraplegic who uses a book of pictures to communicate, she begins to understand that normal is not so easy to define or be. Catherine learns that it is more important to accept others than to follow normal rules of behavior. ,

Evaluation: Cynthia Lord realistically shows that life with an autistic family member can be both rewarding and exasperating. Her commitment to showing an accurate view of how an older sibling, who is concerned with fitting in among peers, is spot-on. This well-written story has a positive and enlightening resolution. Recommended for ages 9 to 14.

Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Autism, Family, Friendship

Awards: 2007 Newbery Award Honor Book, 2007 Schneider Family Book Award – Middle School, 2007 ALA Notable Children’s Book