Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine justwon the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Init, Caitlin, a fifth grade girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, must learn to cope without her beloved brother Devin after he is killed in a school shooting.
My colleague Rebecca says that Mockingbird presents “a fully-rounded portrait of a girl and her community. Her school counselor, especially, is a source of strength and perspective. Lots of humor throughout, which may seem surprising, given the themes, but it is not a heavy read.”
More and more characters who have Asperger’s have appeared in fiction the past few years. Here’s a few that I think are especially worth reading:
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
When Ted and Kat’s cousin, Salim, disappears from the London Eye Ferris Wheel, the two siblings must work together to find him. Ted’s different style of thinking -logical, not emotional – serves him well while he tries to unravel what happened while the two of them watched Salim go up. This novel works as a great mystery to puzzle out and as a fascinating character study.
Along Came Spider by James Preller
Even though Trey is never outright declared to have Asperger’s Syndrome, he shows some of its signs like obsession and difficulty reading social cues. Only his long-term BFF and neighbor, Spider, wants to hang with him. Spider’s star is rising in fourth grade at Spirow T. Agnew School and he worries Trey will hurt his popularity. He challenges Trey to make some other friends. What happens then will surprise you as much as it surprises the two boys.
Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome byClarabelle van Niekerk
Sam is a gifted musician. He also has Asperger Syndrome. His classmates and the reader learn what that means in this book for younger children. And although Sam may sometimes act a little odd, he has many gifts and talents that make him worth knowing.