Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Alice doesn’t like noise, smells or strangers. She does like rules. Lots of rules.
Nobody at her new school knows she is autistic, and soon Alice finds herself in trouble because the rules here are different. When she meets Megan in detention, she doesn’t know what to make of her. Megan doesn’t smell, she’s not terribly noisy, and she’s not exactly a stranger. But is she a friend? Megan seems fearless to Alice; but also angry or maybe sad. Alice isn’t sure which. When Megan decides to run away, Alice decides that Megan is her friend and that she needs to help her, no matter how many rules she has to break or how bad it makes her feel.
About the author
Kathleen Cherry lives in northern British Columbia with her husband and two daughters. She is a school counselor and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in psychology. Kathleen loves working with children and empowering them to develop their creativity through writing. She enjoys visiting school classrooms and libraries. As well as writing, Kathleen also loves to run, travel and read. For more information, visit www.kathleencherry.ca.
- Short-listed, Red Cedar Book Award nominee
- Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
- Short-listed, PNBA Book Award
- Short-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
- Short-listed, Silver Birch Fiction Award
- Winner, Chocolate Lily Book Award
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
"Cherry does a remarkable job of presenting Alice’s stream-of-consciousness thinking without letting it weigh down the story. The character’s tendency to focus on multiple definitions of words, in situations that perplex her, assists readers in understanding Alice’s point of view, and her reliance on previous experiences and rules when interpreting new situations captures an important aspect of autism...As Alice relates the story of her developing friendship with Megan, it unfolds as an honest account by an unfailingly accurate and likeable narrator. Her challenges with sensory stimulation and verbal communication are only part of her rich characterization, and readers will immediately perceive that there is a great deal more to Alice than any kind of diagnosis would suggest...While the short sentences and straightforward plot present this book as a story for younger readers, its characterization of Megan, a girl abused by her stepfather, may resonate more clearly with ages 10 to 12. Older children and adults, however, will overlook the intended audience in favour of the delightfully fresh perspective Alice provides...Highly Recommended."
"[Alice's] difficulties, along with her steadfast courage, are effectively depicted...The happy outcome of their connection, as Alice describes a 'tingling, bubbling feeling' in her body when their friendship is cemented, makes the journey worthwhile. Insightful and sometimes moving, Alice's evolving coming-of-age provides a perceptive exploration of unexpected friendship in the face of disability."
"Readers look at life through the eyes of Asperger's. The author understands Alice and does an astounding job bringing her to life. Kids will understand and empathize with Alice by book's end. They will also understand a little more about kids like Megan. Understanding can go a long way toward kindness and acceptance, making Everyday Hero a brilliant debut."
Kid Lit Reviews
Everyday HeroAlice doesn't like noise, smells or strangers. She does like rules. Lots of rules. Nobody at her new school knows she has Asperger's, so it doesn't take long for her odd behavior to get her into trouble. When she meets Megan in detention, she doesn't know what to make of her. Megan doesn't smell, she's not terribly noisy, and she's not exactly a stranger, but is she a friend?
Understanding and empathy can be explored in this novel about the story of friendship between Alice, a girl with Asperger’s syndrome, and Megan. The easy to read text is accessible for middle school students and teachers in this story about children’s rights, family responsibilities, and respecting differences.
Author available for school visits @KathleenCherry_
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.