Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

"Most people like to talk in their own language."

The abstract
is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.

Abstract: Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 195 pages

7 comments:

Mary said...

This title was suggested by Sharon who wrote:

I would like to suggest this title for your blog. While I am not convinced it is a Newbery winner, I feel it could at least be an honor book. You are immersed in the world and mind of Jason, an autistic 12 year old.

This was a hard book to read; you realize how difficult the world is for Jason, but he deals with it,in many ways, better than the people around him. And while you come to understand that Jason's autism will never go away, you end up making peace with that. It also humanizes autism, in that you understand that the person doing those "weird" things has a brain that thinks just as well as anybody's. Will kids like and read this? I hope so. Mature older elementary/middle school readers and up. Even though there is a "youngish" feel to the book, high schoolers could enjoy it.

Hope you like it!

Clare said...

This book is hard to read, but I do think it is very true to life as far as climbing inside the mind of an autistic young adult. This seems to be a high functioning autistic child, which is what many school aged kids would encounter in a classroom setting. I think the author did a good job of portraying the mind, the thought process, the physical/involuntary responses of autism but I would have to say it doesn't strike me as a Newbery winner.

Kris said...

I found this one to be difficult to read at times, mostly because the voice of Jason was so realistic, it hurt to know what he was thinking. The writing was awkward but so appropriate. I was afraid the ending was going to disappoint me, and either be too predictable or too horrible, but neither happened. Overall, a good, thought-provoking read.

Jill said...

I thought this was a very thought provoking book. It reminded me of Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, a book told by a young adult male with cerebral palsy. It also hit home to me as I taught, and became very close with, a boy with autism last year. Some of the feelings Jason was having (the itchy grass, not looking people in the eye, hating PE class!) all rang true when thinking back to last year. I think Baskin did a good job with her depiction of Jason. It was a touching read, just not sure if it is Newbery worthy.

Jen said...

While I'm necessarily convinced it's The Newbery, I do find this book to be a really important read for kids in elementary school. I think this point of view is a truly necessary voice to foster inclusion and friendship at school and beyond. Recommended reading, though I'd prepare the patron for the sometimes heart-wrenching truths within.

tessyohnka said...

When my sister trained as a speech pathologist in the late 60's one of her professors talked briefly about autism and followed his short summary by saying that the incidence was such that they would probably never have a child with autism in their caseload. Since that time the numbers have exploded and I have many personal connections to young people with autism. I have been excited to read the many recent titles in young readers and young adult fiction and value their importance. I admire the voice that Baskin creates in "Anything But Typical" but I don't think that it speaks with significantly more strength than Cynthia Lord's "Rules" which won a Newbery Honor, Stork's Marcelo in the Real World, Crowley's The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous or Dowd's London Eye Mystery. My applause to all of them.

Anonymous said...

While I have no experience with someone dealing with autism personally, I am very impressed with the feeling conveyed in this book of actually understanding him.
Our Eva Perry Mock Newbery middle school kids are currently reading this one.