CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 2. . . .September 11, 2015
Lorna Schultz Nicholson’s Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna, is the first book in the “One-2-One” series. The “One-2-One” novels feature stories of students in the Best Buddies program which pairs developmentally disabled teens with peer “buddies” for the purpose of social interaction and to support diversity.
Harrison Henry is a 15 year old student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. He has high functioning autism/Asperger’s and a fixation on human anatomy. This fixation surfaces whenever Harrison feels anxious; he starts listing bones or repeating medical facts. Hoping to make Harrison’s transition to high school more comfortable, his mother insists he participate in the Best Buddies program.
Anna Leonard is a high school senior who joins the program because it’s another extracurricular activity that will enhance her university application. A self professed keener, Anna approaches Harrison as she would a school project. She does research on autism/Asperger’s and selects activities to accommodate Harrison’s condition and interests. There is an earnestness to Anna that is endearing. Over the course of the book, the delicate friendship that develops between the two very different students is encouraging.
Chapters alternate, narrated in the first person from each character’s viewpoint. This approach works well, allowing readers to note the difference in the way Harrison and Anna experience the same situations. It is especially effective in Harrison’s case. By showing the unusual way someone with autism/Asperger’s processes information, empathy is created. Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna seems a promising start to the “One-2-One” series.
Sylvia Santiago is a writer and reviewer in Calgary, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.