Lord, C. (2006). Rules. New York: Scholastic.
Appetizer: Catherine is looking forward to the summer, especially since she learned that another girl her age is moving-in next door. Catherine has her hopes set on making a new best friend. She's also worried that her 8-year-old brother, David, might get in the way of any friendships she hopes to form. David has autism and sometimes struggles to follow the rules his big sister has made for him. On top of that, Catherine starts to get to know another boy while waiting for David at his speech therapist's office. Jason cannot move most of his body and must rely on pointing to cards to speak. Catherine may be the perfect person to help him find his voice.
I assigned Rules to my Diversity in Education course. After a few students declared Palacio's Wonder to be one of the best books ever, I wondered whether Rules would take the other book's place in their hearts--or best of all, would their hearts expand to equally love both?
My students definitely enjoyed the book. Our discussion focused heavily on Jason. Since Rules contains hints that he has quite the crush on Catherine, their attention focused on the romantic future of a teen with Jason's condition.
A great read!
"'Come on, David.' I let go of his sleeve, afraid I'll rip it. When he was little, I could pull my brother behind me if he didn't want to do something, but now David's eight and too strong to be pulled.
Opening the front door, I sigh. My first day of summer vacation is nothing like I dreamed. I had imagined today warm, with seagulls winging across a blue sky, not overcast and damp." (p. 1)
"He might not understand some things, but David loves rules.
I know I'm setting up a problem for later because Dad's always late, but I have rules, too, and one of mine is: Sometimes you've gotta work with what you've got." (p. 4)
"Sometimes I wish someone would invent a pill so David'd wake up one morning without autism, like someone waking fro a long coma, and he'd say, "Jeez, Catherine, where have I been?" And he'd be a regular brother like Melissa has--a brother who'd give back as much as he took, who I could joke with, even fight with. Someone I could yell at and he'd yell back, and we'd keep going and going until we'd both yelled ourselves out.
But there's no pill, and our quarrels fray instead of knot, always ending in him crying and me sorry for hurting him over something he can't help." (p. 8)
"And there are only two people I haven't already drawn: Jason and his mother.
I worry that glancing will turn into staring too easy for Jason, and I hate when people stare at David." (p. 18)
Tasty Rating: !!!