Review Blog

Apr 12 2019

Me and my sister by Rose Robbins

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760524456.
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Themes: Autism, Difference, Disability, Family, Siblings. What an amazing book. The narrator explains that he and his sister like doing the same things, although sometimes at different times, they like different foods, his sister makes him laugh and she is sometimes rude to Nanna, but Nanna understands. They go to different schools, and learn different things.
From the first few pages readers are aware that his sister has a disability and watch as he copes with a sister who is different. Readers will applaud him as he waves good bye to his sister on her school bus, and helps his sister when she is upset, knowing that she does not like to be hugged, using a high five instead. Readers will be embarrassed along with him as people in the street are rude, and thankful that Nanna understands his sister, when sometime he does not.
All the way through this wonderfully understated book, clues are given as to how children should react to a child who is different; being gentle and kind, not touching them, comforting them when they are upset, recognising signs that they wish to be alone and so on.
The boldly outlined illustrations replete with swathes of primary colours, enhance the lives of these two children, making them central to the story, without any distractions on each page. The boy tells his tale in capital letters, reflecting the life he leads with his sister. Things are never calm or on an even keel, the whole family is aware that their family is different and must react to their daughter's difference.
The author cleverly shows a child wanting to be the best he can be to help his sister, but also aware that sometimes he may do the wrong thing or not quite understand. She calmly tells the readers that it is alright to feel frustrated sometimes, to be upset when you are told off but not your sister, to want to be by yourself sometimes without her. A wonderful awareness raising book, first published in England, this will find a place in all classrooms where diversity is encouraged and accepted. Teacher notes are available.
Fran Knight

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