Planet Earth is Blue
While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."
This is timely because it involves a character on the autism spectrum and foster care. While there are many sad things about this book, it is generally upbeat, and the portrayal of a successful foster care family is something that is more and more needed in middle grade literature.
There are a number of books that have been published recently that involve children in various stages of the foster care system; Hunt's One for the Murphys(2012) and Sloan's Counting by 7's (2013) seem to have started this resurgence. More recent books include Dilloway's The Summer of a Thousand Pies, Hennessey's Echo Park Castaways, and Lewis' Scarlet Ibis. It's important for young readers to understand that the children in their school have a variety of experiences, and for all readers to see themselves in literature. I know that Ohio has an increasing number of children in the foster care system, so I'm always glad to see books that show experiences my population might have.