Author – Barry Jonsberg
Age – 10+
Candice Phee is a bit different. She sees the world in a very precise way and is very smart – but the kids in her class call her Essen. Which is really SN – Special Needs. This doesn’t really bother Candice. She’d like to have friends but understands why she hasn’t – until Douglas Benson joins her class. Douglas believes he is from another dimension and spends all his time trying to get back to his own. Candice takes this all in her stride, and they become firm friends.
The story is set up as a chapter per letter of the alphabet – after a school project is given to them by Candice’s best teacher in the world. It is a recount of your life – one paragraph per letter of the alphabet. But Candice takes it further and does quite a bit more.
By the author of 2011’s Being Here, this is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud, wonderful, sad, wonderful story. When Douglas’ mum says ‘You are autistic aren’t you?’ Candice replies, ‘No, I’m me.’
There are no labels put on these characters by the parents, author or teachers. The chapter about losing her sister is so sad – it touched me and made me want to read more. All I can say is wonderful – again.
(Friends, Individuality, School project, Family, Labels, Special needs)