by Cynthia Lord
Winner of the Newbery Honor Medal
Twelve year Catherine just wants a normal life, normal parents and normal friends. But life is not normal when you have a little brother with autism and your whole existence revolves around his disability.
Catherine has spent years compiling a list of rules to keep David from embarrassing himself and her.
1. If someone says "hi" to you, you say "hi" back.
2. Say "thank you" when someone gives you a present(even if you don't like it).
3. No toys in the fish tank.
4. Sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you.
When a new girl moves in next door Catherine feels like she just might have a chance at a brand new friendship and maybe even a normal summer hanging out, doing normal teenage things. The problem is that Catherine forgot to let her family in on her plan.
I found Rules to be honest and believable. As the main character Catherine struggles to find a balance between independence from her brother but is also fiercely protective of him. There is great love but also resentment. The story also showed the impact that a child with disabilities has on the whole family in a realistic way.
I would recommend this story to ages 9 and up. Reading it with your children would be a great way to have a conversation about disabilities. The Salmon Public Library has this book and it is available for check out.