About This Book:
Perfect for readers of Song for a Whale and Counting by 7s, a neurodivergent girl campaigns for a memorial when she learns that her small Scottish town used to burn witches simply because they were different.
“A must-read for students and adults alike.” -School Library Journal, Starred Review
Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can’t stop thinking about them. Those people weren’t magic. They were like me. Different like me.
I’m autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And sometimes I feel things all at once. I think about the witches, with no one to speak for them. Not everyone in our small town understands. But if I keep trying, maybe someone will. I won’t let the witches be forgotten. Because there is more to their story. Just like there is more to mine.
Award-winning and neurodivergent author Elle McNicoll delivers an insightful and stirring debut about the European witch trials and a girl who refuses to relent in the fight for what she knows is right.
*Review Contributed by Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*
The one thing I found surprising was Ms. Murphy’s treatment of her student, which would not go over well in the US. My school has had an autism unit for over 15 years, so perhaps we are more used to seeing and dealing with neurodivergent children. Jenna’s behavior seems more in line with reality, since many friendships are strained while growing up, and having a friend who regularly melts down in class is challenging even for the most understanding friend.
Just as it is a bit less common for girls to be on the autism spectrum, it is harder to find them reflected in books. Kapit’s Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! and Lupica’s Team Players do offer glimpses into such characters, but Addie is a welcome addition to the list. It’s a good idea to investigate newer titles when dealing with many topics, since diagnoses, treatment, and public perception can change over time.
A Kind of Spark is a fast paced, interesting read set in an intriguing part of the world for US readers, and dealing with history that might be unknown. Addie’s struggles are universal, and will appeal to readers who want to investigate what the tween years are like for others who might not have lives exactly like theirs.
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