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Book Reviews


Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Aspergers by John Elder Robinson

Sarina Nayak

Look Me in the Eye is an autobiography that follows John Robinson through his life with undiagnosed Aspergers. Robinson always wanted to connect with children his age, but despite his efforts, he could not fit in with them. He grew up at a time when a diagnosis of Aspergers did not exist. He was 40 when he learned he had Aspergers. We follow Robinson through his childhood in a dysfunctional family and a struggle to fit in. We follow him later in life, through his high school years and his adulthood, working fascinating jobs. This book gives us insight into the life of someone with Aspergers while also entertaining us with stories from John Robinson’s life. This would be a great read for anyone who wants to learn how Aspergers affects social interactions and the lives of those with Aspergers. It shows us how for many people, Asperger’s is not their disability, but their superpower. This book may not be appropriate for ages under 13 due to language.


Focused by Alyson Gerber

Rhea Bhatia

Focused is a novel that takes you along a journey with Clea. Clea is a middle school student who has ADHD, and had never known about ADHD until middle school. She could not accept it at first. She tried her best to make schedules and specific time periods to work, but at first it was hard to do. After a few weeks spent working with her guidance counselors, she found her voice and was able to tell her teachers what she needed, like a quiet place to work. She’d figured it out! All she needed was help and support from her friends, family, and teachers. This book is an encouraging read for kids struggling with the realization that they have an ADHD diagnosis.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Sarina Nayak

Fish In A Tree is an amazing read.. Ally Nickerson’s inability to read sets her apart from the rest of her class and often leaves her vulnerable to bullying. At the beginning of the story, Ally believes that she is not smart and that there is something wrong with her. But when a new teacher arrives at Ally’s school, she starts to think differently about herself. She finds out that she has dyslexia. She soon learns that she is not unintelligent, but that her brain simply works in a way different than her peers. This book teaches us to appreciate the importance of diversity and uniqueness. Fish In A Tree would be a great read for all ages and anyone who wants an insight into what it is like to have dyslexia.


Wonder  by R. J. Palacio

Sarina Nayak

The book Wonder is a moving story. Wonder follows Auggie Pullman, who was born with a facial difference that often set him apart from other kids. Auggie wants others to realize that although he has his differences, he is just the same as everyone else. When Auggie’s parents decide to enroll him in school after being homeschooled his entire life, he faces a bully who taunts him. Auggie inspires a positive change in his community as the people around him start to understand how to value each other for who they are. This book would be a great read for anyone who wants to learn about acceptance.


Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCleary

Annika Bhatia

The book Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic is written by comedian Michael McCreary. In his book, Michael McCreary talks about what it was like growing up with autism and how it led to his career in comedy. Although the book is based on his life, McCreary explains the different levels of autism to his neurotypical readers. Recommended for children ages eleven and above, this book is humorous and achieves his goal in spreading awareness about autism.


The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Rhea Bhatia

The War That Saved My Life is a historical fiction book during WWII. Ada Smith is 10 years old, and has a club foot. Her mom is embarrassed about how it looks, and because of this she is abused and neglected by her birth mother, serving as a housekeeper in the apartment she’s never allowed to leave.When WWIIcomes to London, Jamie is sent by their mother to escape, but Ada is not. Jamie helps Ada sneak out and walk to the trains, where they end up in a village in Kent.In Kent, a woman named Susan Smith takes Ada and Jamie in. Susan provides food, water, and a place to live for them. While there, Ada discovers a love for riding horses which gives her a new freedom of movement, as she had difficulty walking and getting around before. Follow along as Ada and Jamie live with Susan and have many fun and suspenseful adventures in book two - The War I Finally Won


Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Annika Bhatia

The book Things I Should Have Known is about a heartwarming sibling relationship between two sisters, seventeen-year-old Chloe and her older sister Ivy, who is on the spectrum. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people. When she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy, she realizes she can live with it. Recommended for children 13 and up, this book touches on many topics, including autism and LGBTQ.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Sarina Nayak

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read. It follows Aven Green, who was born without arms. Aven’s life was turned around when her parents got a job offer to work at Stagecoach Pass, an old theme park in Arizona. Most of the kids at Aven’s new school don’t treat her nicely, but she soon befriends a boy named Connor, who has Tourettes syndrome. Aven and Connor bond over investigating a strange box at Stagecoach Pass. They soon uncover the secrets that have been hidden at Stagecoach Pass. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus would be a great read for anyone who wants to read about finding an accepting group of friends.


The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

Sarina Nayak

          “The View from Saturday” follows Mrs. Olinski, who became paraplegic after getting into a car accident. When Mrs. Olinski’s team, “The Souls”, won against the eighth-graders at the Academic Bowl, everyone was in awe, considering that “The Souls” were only in the sixth grade. How had Mrs. Olinski chosen the members of her triumphant team? The book tells amusing short stories of the four team members. As you read the short stories, you can slowly begin to understand why the four sixth graders worked so well together. “The View from Saturday” would be a great read for anyone ages 9 and above.


Save Me a Seat by Gita Varadarajan and Sarah Weeks

Rhea Bhatia

 Save Me a Seat is a book about boys named Ravi and Joe. Ravi has moved to America from India, and has a very different life than he did in India. In India, Ravi was at the top of his class at his school. In the US, he does not know anyone at his new school, except for one of his teachers and doesn’t know how to fit in. Although Ravi speaks English, his classmates still find it hard to understand him because of his accent. Ravi begins going to the resource room where he connects with Joe, who also doesn’t have many friends, and together they conspire a plan to stop Dillon, a boy who bullies kids who are different.


Rules by Cynthia Lord

Annika Bhatia

The book “Rules,” written by Cynthia Lord, is about a sweet sibling relationship between 12-year-old Catherine and her younger brother David, who has autism. Catherine is sometimes embarrassed by her younger brother’s actions, and has set some rules that he needs to follow, like “knock on the bathroom door before going in” and “no putting toys in the fish tank.” But that summer, when Catherine meets Jason, a boy who uses a wheelchair and is nonverbal, and Kristi, the best friend next door that she’s always wanted, she starts to question what she thinks is normal. This book is recommended for ages 10 and up, and shows that not everyone’s version of “normal” is the same.

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