Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Lord, Cynthia.
New York : Scholastic, 2006
IL 3-6, RL 4.5
ISBN 0439443822

(6 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

If someone says “Hi”, say “Hi” back.
Say “Thank you” when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it).
Don’t stand in front of the TV when other people are watching it.
No toys in the fish tank.
Rules, rules…so many things David doesn’t understand! It’s hard enough for any twelve-year-old to make her way in adolescent society…but soooo much harder when you have an autistic little brother!  Catherine loves David deeply, and protects him all she can, but his embarrassing behaviors present a real challenge in her search for the ideal best friend.  One day, as Catherine sits sketching in the waiting room during one of David’s many therapy visits, she meets someone who really rocks her categories and changes her whole perspective on who she is and what kind of relationships matter most. What was it that turned her world upside down, and what is “normal”, anyway? Read Rules by Cynthia Lord.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #2

Some rules keep us safe, some don’t always seem necessary, and some can usually go without saying ­ Rules like…
“Keep your pants on in public,” and “If the bathroom door is locked, KNOCK! (especially if Catherine has a friend over!)”

Catherine takes care of her little brother who’s autistic, by writing down important rules like these ones and protecting him when other kids make fun of him. Still, she wants to be a normal kid; make friends with the girl next door and go with a boy to the summer dance. NOT necessarily go with her brother to his occupational therapy appointments.

But, while she’d there she finds an unlikely friend. Jason can only communicate by pointing to word cards in a notebook, but he doesn’t really have useful words like “whatever” and “sucks a big one,” so Catherine makes him more.

She enjoys getting to know Jason, but would it ruin her chances of being a “normal” 12-year-old if she tells other people about him?  (Stella Shafer, MLIS student, iSchool, University of Washington)

Booktalk #3

"No toys in the fish tank." “A boy takes off his shirt to swim, but not his shorts.” These are some of the many rules 12-year-old Catherine has for her autistic younger brother, David, to help him cope with others. Catherine loves her brother but is frustrated dealing with his autism. His needs always come first in the family. While attending David’s therapy sessions Catherine meets Jason, a boy who can only talk using cards. This opens a whole new world for Catherine.  (Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards nominee, 2008-2009)

Booktalk #4

"No toys in the fish tank", and "If someone says hi, say hi back". Catherine takes care of her brother David who is autistic by writing some of these rules for him. She doesn't mind helping, but she wants to be a normal 12 year old girl and not go to David's occupational therapy meetings in the summer. But while she is there, she meets a very interesting boy while sketching in the waiting room. His name is Jason and he is also in a wheelchair and can only communicate by pointing to cards with pictures. Jason doesn't have cards with funny slang words on them like, 'whatever' and 'sucks a big one' so she makes Jason some more cards. She has a dance this summer and needs a date, but does she want to take a chance and risk being that 'normal 12-year old girl' for a boy?  (Emily Manis,, college student)

Booktalk #5

“Most people say if you tell a wish it won’t come true. But I don’t think wishes work like that.  I don’t believe there’s some bad tempered wish fairy with a clipboard, checking off whether or not you’ve told…. But it’s a long shot I’ll get my wish, so even if there is a fairy in charge of telling, it won’t matter.”
I take a deep breath and let the words come out…..
“I wish everyone had the same chances, because it stinks a big one that they don’t.”
It’s the 1st day of summer vacation and what do I get to do??
Tag along with mother and David to another occupational therapy appointment.
Our lives revolve around my younger brother David, he is Autistic.
I love him dearly and I try to help by making lists of rules, so David understands how the world works.
But I have to repeat myself constantly,
“If someone says “Hi,” you say “Hi” back.”
“No toys in the fish tank!”
“If the bathroom door is closed, KNOCK!”
I write his rules in the back of my sketchbook, the front is for ME!
I like to draw anything and everything.

But the day I drew a boy from the therapy center, I didn’t expect what would happen next.
All I wanted this summer was to be “normal”.
 I knew I was going to be a little lonely because my best friend was spending the summer in California with her dad.
I hoped the girl next door would take the place of my missing best friend.
Now that summer is over, I can only conclude, “What is normal anyway?”

To find out what happened to me that summer, read Rules, a contemporary realistic fiction novel, written by Cynthia Lord. (Mellissa McCants,, college student)

Booktalk #6

Booktalk #

“No toys in the fish tank”

“Sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you.” 

“If someone says Hi, you say Hi back.”
“If the bathroom door is locked, KNOCK! (Especially if Catherine has a friend over!)”

These are simple rules to most people, but not for Catherine’s younger brother David, who is autistic. 12 year old Catherine longs for a ‘normal’ childhood including friends and not to be embarrassed by her brother. But what is ‘normal’ really anyways? Find out how Catherine grows and tries to remain a normal childhood while having an autistic brother in this contemporary realistic fiction novel “Rules” written by Cynthia Lord.  (Brittany Marietta,,  college student)

SUBJECTS:     Autism -- Fiction.
                        Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        People with disabilities -- Fiction.

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