Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt

Published by Scholastic

Summary:  Selah works hard at being “normal”, making up rules to help her fit in at school and retreating to her room at the end of the day, exhausted from trying to hide her feelings.  When a friend tries to braid her hair in class one day, Selah explodes and hits the girl.  The incident puts her on probation at school and ostracizes her from most of her classmates.  As Selah tries to figure out what is going on with her, she begins to think that she, her mom, and grandfather may all have autism.  A sympathetic English teacher helps her to express herself through poetry, and Selah begins to share what she’s feeling, first to her family and later on to her school.  As she begins to feel more comfortable with who she is, Selah comes up with a new list of rules to help her be herself and to communicate with those around her.  Includes an author’s note about her own journey to an autism diagnosis and self-discovery as well as a list of resources.  288 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  This novel in verse will be helpful to anyone with autism, or who knows someone with autism, or who sometimes feels like they don’t fit in very well.  I was inspired by Selah’s powerful poems, her journey, and the ways she learned to advocate for herself.

Cons:  It made me sad that no one at Selah’s seemingly caring private school had picked up on her autism in her eight years of attendance there.

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