Hi guys and gals!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're celebrating the upcoming BOOK BIRTHDAY of a Middle Grade Fiction novel that delivers a high count of take away messages while still maintaining a story readers will really connect with. Without further ado, today's book of choice is...
About the book...
Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn't found a new best friend. He's still not a great bike rider—even though his brother George, who's autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad's recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom's advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn't know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life seems to have thrown their way.
This is one of those stories that you step into expecting one thing and experience something MUCH bigger than you ever imagined.
Benny is such an every day kid you can't help but love him. He strives to do his best though he recognizes his own limitations and seeks to right wrongs he's committed...even those that truly aren't his doing. the unfortunate timing of his Dad's health decline is the perfect example. There was no way he could have known that a simple day at the track combined with a bout of clumsiness was going to take down the man of the house. It was heart-wrenching to watch the guilt gnaw away at him with no way to comfort him and say everything would be fine. Grant it, he wasn't alone with these sentiments attempting to reach his ears, but he also wasn't the most reachable having bigger matters on his mind. Through Benny's eyes, we get to capture the world as both he and his brother see it. Sometimes it's pretty, and other times it's downright ugly, but never underestimate Benny's brother George because the moment you do, his accuracy about the situation at hand will astonish you.
I thoroughly appreciated the way autism was represented in its varied forms, such as Benny's brother versus the teacher's son. I don't claim to be an expert on the issues in the least, but I've worked with a few individuals on the spectrum and have seen some of the variances in personality first hand. The author does an accurate yet tactful representation while allowing readers the chance to learn not only about the condition but a few ways to work with it. There's no need to wear kid gloves around folks with this diagnosis; they are people just like you or I...they just process things differently. It's accepting the challenge to learn the best way of approach that really shows a kindness to another. I love how we don't just see the "bad" side of things but also the good because for every hinderance it can create, there are just as many good attributes it can bring to light.
In the end, it reminds us it's not the kindnesses witnessed that are important but those given when no one is watching that serve to build our character (though I loved the footprint idea!). Everyone is different. Everyone is unique. It is those qualities that set us apart that help make the whole person people see before them. Autism or and other difficulty is not WHO the person is but rather simply a PART of them. At the end of the day, their hearts beat as true as yours or mine and sometimes even louder. Recommended read for Middle Grade fans and beyond. The story is approachable enough to satisfy younger readers yet delves into the bigger aspects of the subject matter for those upward in years.
About the author...
Cammie McGovern is the author of Say What You Will as well as the adult novels Neighborhood Watch, Eye Contact, and The Art of Seeing. Cammie is also one of the founders of Whole Children, a resource center that runs after-school classes and programs for children with special needs. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children.
Special thanks to Gina at HarperCollins Children's Books for the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. Remember, this book hits store and virtual shelves FEBRUARY 23, 2016, so pre-order it now or mark your calendar!
Until next time...happy reading!