________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 2. . . .September 11, 2015


Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna. (A One-2-One Book).

Lorna Schultz Nicholson.
Richmond Hill, ON: Clockwise Press, 2015.
217 pp., trade pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-0-99393-510-7.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Sylvia Santiago.

*** /4



Anna stopped in front of a building with a red awning and it made me think of the red bicycle. “Let’s look at the menu,” she said. The menu was on a laminated board on the brick wall outside the restaurant.

My hands started to flap. My brain started filling with words. Menu. Sauce. Red awning. Sauce. Red bicycle. Digestive system. Chyme. Spaghetti and meatballs. Alfredo with garlic sauce. Prawns with a pink, rose sauce. The words started to spin. My hands flapped faster and faster. I tried to breathe.


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.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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