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Rules by Cynthia Lord

When Cynthia Lord’s daughter asked her why she never saw families like her own portrayed in books or on television, Lord went searching for books that included children with severe special needs. While she found some, most were very sad. “Sadness is part of living with someone with a severe disability, but it’s only one part. It can also be funny, inspiring, heartwarming, disappointing, frustrating – everything that it is to love anyone and to live in any family.” This first novel reflects all of these different facets of family life.

Twelve-year-old Catherine has spent years trying to teach her autistic younger brother David “the rules,” including:

Say “thank you” when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it).

Not everything worth keeping has to be useful.

No toys in the fish tank.

If it’s too loud, cover your ears, or ask the other person to be quiet.

Take your shoes off at the doctor, but at the dentist leave them on.

But this summer, Catherine meets a new “sort-of” friend and she realizes the importance of thinking about others’ perspectives and that we often follow social “rules” without even knowing why.

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