Hey there and welcome to Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. This week’s theme was inspired by my YouTube friend Allyn, who mentioned in one of her videos that April is Autism Awareness Month, which makes this Feature Shelf #25, the Fiction with Characters who are Autistic Edition.
This week’s shelf is four middle grade novels, and one YA title, which I’ll save for last, all of which have characters who fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.
First up is Rules by Cynthia Lord. Catherine’s family revolves around her younger brother David, and Catherine is a little resentful since he receives much more one-on-one parental attention than she does. She also makes up rules for David to keep him from embarrassing her in public. The summer Catherine is twelve, she makes a sort-of friend in Jason, who is paraplegic, and meets Kristi, who moves in next door. She finds out making friends is complicated, and sometimes rules get in the way.
The second novel on our shelf this week is Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. Al Capone Does My Shirts is set in 1935 on Alcataraz Island. Moose lives there because his father is a guard and so his sister, who has a “condition,” can attend a special school in San Francisco. All Moose wants to do is have a normal life and stay out of trouble, but that can’t be easy with an autistic sibling, and living in a place where trouble lives…
Third up is Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine. Caitlin is ten. She loves textbooks and dictionaries because they paint facts plainly, in black and white. So she turns to the dictionary for a definition of “closure,” and figures out that this is what she and her father need after the death of her brother, and sets off on a journey to make closure a reality.
Next, Anything but Typical by Nora Baskin. Jason is a writer. He’s also autistic and incredibly sensitive to the world around him. He makes a friend online, a girl called Rebecca, who posts stories to the same site that he does. He wants to meet her, his first real friend, but he’s scared that she won’t be able to see past his autism.
Last on the shelf this week, our sole YA title: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork. The summer after Marcelo Sandoval’s junior year of high school, his father decides Marcelo needs experiences outside the special school he attends. So Marcelo is put to work in the mailroom of his father’s law firm. In the “real world,” Marcelo learns about emotions he hadn’t had an opportunity to experience in his school, and learns what it really means to be part of the world.
So those titles are in honor of Autism awareness month: Rules, Al Capone Does My SHirts, Mockingbird, Anything but Typical and Marcelo in the Real World.
And that’s it for this episode. For the Feature Shelf archives and show notes, both video and podcast, or to request your own Feature Shelf check out thebooksupplier.com/featureshelf. You can also send me requests on Facebook or Twitter at thebooksupplier (all one word) or an email at thebooksupplier at gmail dot com.
I’m going to leave you there now, dear readers. Thanks for listening to Feature Shelf #25: The Autism Awareness Edition. As always, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.
Thus endeth this week’s shelf. If you’re looking for more books with autistic characters, I included my short list in the show notes, as well as links to other lists I found while searching the internet. I hope, though, that you found something that piques your interest. If not, and you’d like to request your own Feature Shelf, you can do so by leaving me a comment here on YouTube, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Thanks for watching Feature Shelf #25: The Autism Awareness Month Edition. I am the (book) supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.