Book Share Wednesday: Rules

Rules by Cynthia Lord, a 2007 Newbery Honor Book, is a humorous and heartwarming story about feeling different and finding acceptance. This story is close to my heart, as I have family members, several close friends' children, and many students who fall under the autism umbrella.
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She loves David, but he is wearing her patience thin despite her attempts to provide him with the rules that everyone else seems to know but that David has to be taught.
She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public", “You can yell on a playground, but not during dinner,” and “It’s fine to hug Mom, but not the clerk at the video store.”---in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.
Life becomes even more complicated when Catherine meets Kristi, the new girl next door, who seems to have the perfectly normal life Catherine has always wanted. While bringing David to occupational therapy with her mother, Catherine meets Jason, a boy her age who is confined to a wheelchair and can not speak. Catherine grows closer to Jason, illustrating words to put in his communication book, while becoming wary of Kristi’s determination to be popular and cool.

As the summer goes on, Catherine finds herself confused by the conflicting demands of her friendships with Kristi and Jason. She begins to wonder if she needs some new rules to live by herself  and forces her to ask, "What IS normal?"

It's fun to have your students write their own rulebook for various places or activities in their own lives! "Some rules are written down. . .and some rules aren't." You can grab a quick sheet here to record their rules and turn into a class Rulebook!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

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