I am so excited to tell you all about this wonderful book. I literally couldn’t put it down and I am sure that my oldest boy will love it as much as I did. I decided to read it myself before I read it to oldest boy as I wasn’t sure what to expect and now I can certainly tell you that I am going to read it with him. The recommendation for this book is for children between 9-12 years old but I would recommend this book to children around those ages but also to all adults. Younger children would struggle with this as while the vocabulary and writing is simple enough the themes are quite complex and it would be unlikely to interest a smaller child. I am sure this book will have an important impact to anyone who reads it but especially to people who are themselves or know others on the autistic spectrum. This is by far the best book that I have read so far this year for children or adults. Everyone should be issued a copy to read this book.
The book tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her and her autism, and make her voice heard?
My honest review
I will start saying that the book was written by Ellen Mcnicoll who is a Scottish author and who is passionate about disability rights and representation. This is her first novel and I am sure it won’t be her last. The illustration of the book cover is by Kay Wilson and let me just tell you that this one certainly stand out from other book covers.
The book contains 192 pages and 21 chapters with no illustrations.
I just got blown away by this story. I can honestly tell you that I just couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it. Addie, our stories protagonist, is autistic and she is trying very hard to fit in to a neurotypical society that doesn’t understand her. She tries to mask how she feels and who she really is by following social stereotypes. The story shows how adults react to be around autistic people and how they can blame Autism for the behaviour or ideas that they have. Addie has the support of her parents and her twin sisters, one of her sisters is autistic as well and we see a strong bond between them. It is incredible what people can achieve with the support from their families and as well with the support of the right people.
The story is told from Addie’s point of view which transports you into her mind and lets you see what she is feeling and the way she is struggling to fit in to the world. She faces a hard time in school as her teacher doesn’t support her and her peers in her classroom doesn’t understand her. While in class her teacher starts to talk about their town’s witch trials and how a lot of women were accused of being witches because they were different. Addie feels that she can identify with their being seen as different and decides to try and convinced people to make a memorial plaque. While doing this she discovers the real meaning of friendship, and realises how it’s not just children can be bullies but some adults as well.
My oldest boy is autistic and he struggles every day to fit into a neurotypical world just like Addie. When he was young we were told he wouldn’t be able to do certain things and the older he is getting the more he shows them how wrong they were. This book made me laugh, made me cry and makes me reflect about the world that we live in and how we respond to different people.
Last but not least the book was published by ‘Knights of’ a publisher who publishes children’s books with a focus on diversity shown in both the topics of their book and also in their choices of writers, illustrators and everyone else that works with them coming from different backgrounds which is amazing.
Thank you so much for reading this review and hope everyone has a good week.