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.