Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rules by, Cynthia Lord

Rules by Cynthia Lord is a great book for the pre-adolescent age group (grades 5-7 seem very appropriate). It is the story of Catherine, who has an autistic brother, David. The book lays out social norms, as well as how handicapped individuals are treated in public. We see the treatment of David, and Jason, Catherine's friend who is nonverbal and in a wheelchair, and it is a good story to make students question maybe their own actions around people that are 'different,' or think about people they know who are treated differently.

Preparing to read this book to my class, I had a discussion about racism, prejudice, and what it feels like. Of course the students brought up issues like racial prejudice, because that's the example they're usually taught. One of my students, a very bright 11-year-old girl, got very upset when discussing this subject, because she has an older brother with severe cerebral palsy, and is very aware of the looks people give him every time they go in public.
Having this come into the open, and dealing with it as a class strengthened my desire to read this book with the class. It is appropriate for 5th graders, there is no bad language in the book, and the theme is most definitely pertinent to the issues of equity and multiculturalism. If you're interested in this book, click HERE to go to the Amazon.com page for it.