Book Recommendations

A few months ago I read Rain, Reign, by award-winning author Ann Martin. Ever since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, there have been many books published with autistic protagonists. Rain, Reign is another, quite wonderful one. Though targeted for middle grade, the book rivals my favorite YA novel portraying a main character with Asperger’s, Marcelo in the Real World, by Storke. Martin’s novel chronicles the life of Rose who obsesses over homonyms, rules, and prime numbers, alienating her from her peers and frustrating her single, hard-drinking father. Enter a dog that she names Rain, who is lost and found and lost again, a sympathetic uncle, a tough dad who rings just so true, and the book is a winner.
Girls Like Us, a YA novel by Gail Giles, is a second book that deals with disability so authentically and respectfully. Two high school graduates from special ed classes move in together in an apartment on the home of an older woman named Miss Lizzy. Quincy, mixed race, and prickly sees that she and Biddy, White and kind, have very little in common. Both girls, though, have been terribly abused, and their deepening friendship and relationship with the somewhat naïve Miss Lizzy speak to disability with candor and tenderness. The book details the exploitation often heaped on those with disabilities, but portrays with such accuracy the sensitivity and understanding they have of themselves and those who are able-bodied.
So that’s 5 stars for a middle grade novel and 5 stars for a YA. That leads me to recommend a picture book that does not touch on disability at all, except that I’m Deaf-blind, and I love it. The book is called Baby Party by Rebecca O’Connell. It is a sequel to the highly-recommended Baby Parade. By my count this is Rebecca’s 8th published book, her first being a hilarious, yet sad YA, Myrtle of Willendorf, and her second The Baby Goes Beep, a book I cannot praise enough. Rebecca is one of the most eclectic writers, also publishing nonfiction, two middle grade novels, and an ABC book, Done with Diapers. “Clap for the baby” the text begins in Baby Party, introducing readers 1-3 to various shapes in the form of party hats and birthday gifts. I clap for Rebecca O’Connell and look forward to many more of her delightful books.


About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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One Response to Book Recommendations

  1. shilorea says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, Sally. I am adding these all to my “to read” list on Goodreads.

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