Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin stole my heart. I feel very lucky that this book landed in my hands. This story is about Jason Blake, a 12 year old boy with autism. The story is told by Jason, in his language, in his way, in the way he sees and perceives the world. Through this story, Jason let us in his world, the way people talk, the way he perceives them, the way most people don't wait long enough for the right answer to come out. Jason's world is anything but typical. As Jason tries to understand and cope in his world, he writes and shares his story online. Jason has a beautiful way with writing, he understands how writing works, how to develop his character, how to create an engaging plot. What Jason never imagined was that there is a someone on the other side of the online world reading his stories, enjoying them, and learning from him. Jason is starting to grow a strong online friendship with this person, who is a girl. But Jason's biggest fear is that this girl will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.
There are a couple of things that really impressed me about this book. Like I mentioned before the story is told by Jason, and you can "read" his thinking. He also presents the other side, what the other people are "thinking" or "doing." This type of description in the book makes it accessible for readers to be exposed and understand his world, and the things that people around him do that might help or might not help him. This book made me wonder of all the things we do as teachers in school that actually might not work or help a child. It brings a perspective that we are not usually exposed to. This book makes you want to read more about Autism and how to help children in the classroom. It makes me want to keep growing on my journey of understanding their world. I believe this book is a MUST for teachers. I strongly believe this. This chapter book is geared for students in grades 4-8.
As I am reading the authors' acknowledgments in the first page, I see that she is thanking Michael Moon, current president of the Autism Acceptance Project, who gave the author an amazing appraise for this book. If you are interesting in expanding your reading and understanding on Autism, you can read more about the Acceptance project right here.