Autism, The Invisible Cord

Autism Invisible Cord9781433811913_p0_v1_s260x420Autism, The Invisible Cord:  A Sibling’s Diary

Barbara Cain, Author

Magination Press, Fiction, 2013

Themes:  Autism Spectrum, Sibling Relationships, Family Relationships

Suitable for Ages: 9-12

Opening“If you were to see him riding his bike, smiling in the wind, you’d never know.  Ezra looks like any other sixth grader with faded jeans, turned-around cap, and messy bunch of butterscotch-colored curls.  You see, my brother is like any other eleven-year–old…except when he isn’t.  Like today.”

Synopsis:  Jenny’s younger brother, Ezra, has autism.   She shares her story about life with Ezra in a diary she writes daily.  Jenny is a 14-year-old student trying to balance her last year in middle school, with running a friend’s campaign for class president, auditioning for the  spring musical, and worrying about protecting her brother from a school bully.  Some times Ezra can be the biggest obstacle in Jenny’s life because she feels like her brother’s keeper.  At other times Ezra can be the most amazing brother.  When Ezra gets a service dog,  the invisible cord between them begins to loosen and Jenny begins to focus more on the things that she wants to do.    She discovers she is a very talented writer and works on a special school project.  Her dream is to attend a very prestigious summer writing camp.  It is Jenny’s time to shine.

Why I like this book:  Barbara Cain has written a beautiful and realistic story about what it feels like growing up with a sibling with different abilities.   Cain has created an engaging character in Jenny who shares the daily complexities of her life with Ezra — the frustration, embarrassment, worry, joy and hurt.  Cain writes with great sensitivity and authenticity.  I highly recommend this book for kids who have a sibling with autism, and for their parents.  This is also a good middle grade read in the classroom.  Barbara Cain, MSW, is a clinical supervisor at the University of Michigan’s  Psychological Clinic and has authored many books.  She has included some from very helpful pages of back matter for siblings.  You may visit Barbara Cain on her website.

This book has been provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the work.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

25 thoughts on “Autism, The Invisible Cord

  1. I was working with a third-grade boy some time back and he had a severely autistic sister so I encouraged him to write about it. He thoughts were always so poignant and often painful. Thanks for sharing this one!

    • Barbara, I’m not surprised that you encouaged him to write about his thoughts. In this story, Jenny is afraid to share some of her deepest feelings with even her best friend — some were happy and others negative — and she was afraid what her friend would think of her. Writing would be cathartic. This was a great book.

  2. What a superb opening. It draws me right in to wanting to know more about Jenny and Ezra. Great title, too!

  3. Sounds like another interesting read for parents and children alike. Kids with autism fascinate me. One kid at a school that my friend Meg teaches at easily figured out a puzzle that other kids that didn’t have autism simply couldn’t do. He has his challenges in other things (of course) but I was amazed at how quickly he deciphered the puzzle.

    • Michael, I thought you may work with autistic kids. That’s why I like the idea of “following” the ASD kids into their world to understand. So many have very special brains. Your story I’ve heard so many times. It’s a matter of finding the child’s ability.

  4. Great book to show the sibling’s perspective, Pat. Kids can often feel left out when one child needs more attention.

    • Yes, kids who have siblings with ASD or any disability, often feel left out. It is so challenging for parents to keep that balance. I’ve seen many do it well. Glad there are books like this for siblings so they don’t feel so alone.

    • Glad you liked the story Erik. This is a book you could read and I know would find interesting. Yes, Jenny is a journalist on the school newspaper and does a big progrect that makes change happen in the school. Didn’t tell anyone else that. Know you could relate.

  5. Families with kids with special needs are pretty amazing to me. What a range of emotions that get all wrapped up in each other! I spend a lot of time with these families and am always in awe of their abilities to be “normal” with everything that they have to deal with. This sounds like a very intriguing book. I think I will look for it. thanks!

    • Coleen, I’m glad you liked the book and know someone who may benefit from reading Jenny’s story. She’s a strong protagonist and there are some things that I didn’t share that make the book an excellent read!

  6. Pingback: We are not invisible | DiJiTalk.com

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