Mockingbird in the Furnace

My friend Madelyn Rosenberg is launching her new blog, The Furnace, with an interview with Kathryn Erskine, author of Mockingbird (forthcoming from Philomel, April 2010).  It's an excellent interview, covering everything from Asperger's Syndrome to the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech to the themes of tolerance, understanding, and finally hope that are common to all of Erskine's work.

Mockingbird's 10-year-old narrator Caitlin has Asperger's, as does Erskine's daughter.  I think there are more and more middle grade and YA novels with characters on the autism spectrum lately, many of them inspired by personal experience.  Here are the ones I've read recently:

  • Rules by Cynthia Lord (a Newbery Honor book told from the perspective of an older sibling)
  • Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree and Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis
  • The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
  • Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (a potential Printz winner)

Some of these, including Mockingbird, are featured in The Voices of Autism by Suzanne Crowley (SLJ, 8/1/2009), a look at recent books about autism and the people who write them.  Have you read any of them?  If so, did you read them because they're in some way about autism, or would you have read them anyway?