MMGM (3/20/2017): Rules by Cynthia Lord
Update (June 26, 2021): In the time since publishing this post, I have learned about some ableist elements of Rules that I did not know about when posting this review. I recommend taking the time to learn about these issues from this article at Disability in Kidlit. I apologize for my ignorance regarding these issues. Thank you for understanding.
For MMGM, I am recommending Rules by Cynthia Lord.
The main character of Rules (a Newbery Honor book) is Catherine, a 12-year-old girl whose younger brother, David, has autism. Catherine is often conflicted between trying to help her brother in the world and wishing that he could behave around others. In the story, set in summer, Catherine makes two friends, a girl named Kristi who moves in next door, and a wheelchair-ridden boy named Jason who cannot speak and must use cards with words written on them. All of these events culminate in Catherine's struggle between embarrassment and protectiveness, or between her and her brother. Catherine is a great narrator for the story, staying strong and likable as she deals with issues in her life. Kristi and Jason are great characters as well, and Catherine's conflicts as part of friendship with them are relatable to anyone who's ever had friends. Although an important part of this book is autism, unlike many other books about the subject, this one is not very sad, making it a particularly enjoyable read for any kid, class, or adult.