Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rules

Reflection from Cara Esarey - a book I haven't been able to read yet - but I will!

Lord, C. (2006). Rules. New York: Scholastic Press.


            Rules fits in the genre of realistic fiction because all of the events and characters are within the realm of possibility.  These actual events have not occurred in real life, but they could.  Because this story is realistic fiction, many students will find it relatable.  I think this book could fit into the situational realism and contemporary realism categories of realistic fiction.  I think it fits into the situational realism category because this is a family story that is likely to happen to many students.  It is about a traditional nuclear family of a mom, dad, brother and sister.  The brother has autism and it goes through their lives told by Catherine, the narrator, a twelve year old girl.  The story is told in the first person.  Students will relate to this book because they will be about the same age as the narrator and since autism is becoming more prevalent, many probably have someone in their family or know someone with autism.  I think it fits into the category of contemporary realism because it deals with issues of the present day culture.  Autism is becoming more prevalent and chances are students have met someone with autism. 
The issue of people with disabilities can be a controversial topic.  Rules shows how Catherine deals with this in her daily life.  She loves her brother David, who is eight years old.  It shows how she struggles taking care of him and how sometimes she wants him to just be “normal”.  This story takes place over summer break.  Catherine goes with her mom and David to occupational therapy.  There she meets a boy named Jason, who also has disabilities.  It is never said what specific disability Jason has, just that he is in a wheelchair and has to use a communication book in order to communicate with others.  Catherine and Jason spark up a friendship and she uses her artistic skills to make him new words and pictures for his communication book. 
This book also deals with acceptance by peers because Catherine does not automatically tell her new neighbor Kristi that Jason has a disability when Kristi suggests that Catherine ask Jason to the dance.  She lies and says that she is not interested in going to the dance and that she is busy.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how Catherine solves this dilemma!  She was also embarrassed when Kristi first moved in because she feared that Kristi would not understand about David. 
As a special education teacher, I very much related to this book.  I think this would be a great book for all children to read.  It can teach them to be kind and understanding individuals.  Catherine is a great example of a kind and caring young woman.  This book also shows them that it is okay to be different and that not everyone has to be the same.  I think this book has a lot to teach young people and it will keep them interested.  I think they will find it easy and fun to read because it is written from the perspective of someone their age.  This book is also a Newberry Honor Book and Schneider Family Book Award winner.
Big Questions:  How would you handle the situation with Kristi, Jason, and the dance? 
Can you see yourself spending your summer the way Catherine did taking care of David and getting to know Jason? 
What can you do to help raise awareness and acceptance of those with disabilities? 

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