You know I love me my books about kids with special needs–if you have some recommendations let me know. In the meantime, I want to tell you about one that I just loved.
The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla (Harper) tells the story of Charlie, a middle schooler, who travels across country with his family (both biological and made). They are on their way to see their father and grandmother, who have gone to Virginia so that their dad can see a team of doctors who might be able to help him recover from a brain injury he endured while a journalist in a war-torn country.
Charlie is on the spectrum and he loves birds. As part of his journey he tries to track down the “someday birds” he and his dad once dreamed of trying to see together. Charlie is also on the spectrum, and faces challenges from his environment and his family, who, while supportive, often get frustrated by the way Charlie sometimes responds to those challenges.
There is also a B story about refugees and the pain and loss of war that could not be more timely.
The Someday Birds really pulled me in–and not just because it is a great story (which it is) but I loved this family that is trying to tackle so many things, autism just being one of them. As a mom of someone on the spectrum, I am actually really picky about autism books. I know autism can be a challenge for the whole family–believe me, I know. But I prickle at books that portray it as a curse. Likewise, I am wary of stories that make the character’s autism a life lesson for everyone else. My child is actually not here for your edification–sorry.
The Someday Birds hits the sweet spot. Charlie definitely has struggles, and his family is impacted by those struggles, but none of them are defined by them. Charlie also has very interesting gifts–he is tenacious, passionate, and smart. He is a kid who has a lot to offer.
But you don’t have to be looking for an autism story to love this book. It is just such a lovely story. It will carry you away!