Book Review: 'A Kind of Spark.' By Elle McNicoll.


I have been doing a lot of courses and research on Autism over the past year and had heard so much about this book and the awesome Elle McNicoll recently that I could not wait to read it and oh my goodness...


Blurb


'A Kind of Spark' tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there's more to the story of these 'witches', just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?'


My Review


...'A Kind of Spark' had me in tears. Honest to goodness, there were so many emotions going through me when reading this beautiful book. I loved Addie to pieces and thought she was absolutely awesome. I loved her passion, I loved how kind she was and I loved her relationship with her sister's Keedie and Nina. Elle tells such a magical story with Addie learning more about these witches and then fighting for them. You truly want to see her succeed and achieve what she sets out to do. This book is eye opening and so insightful and I think absolutely everyone should read it. I've been telling all the teachers at school about it as I believe it should be in every school library.

This book is so important in giving Autistic children a voice and I feel it also highlights how unique we all are and how all our minds are different, from the way Audrey is sweet and befriends Addie to how mean Emily is and how she think's it's ok to treat Addie the way she does. Kids brains work differently, they all see things different as they are all going through their own individual experiences. I don't mean for that to take away from Autistic children and the importance of looking at Autism in this book but I think the more books we have on both Autism and not judging children who you think might be different to you in school the better. I feel we need to be teaching our kids more compassion and more empathy and supplying them with the right knowledge and tools so they have the confidence to approach and build friendships with every child, so no one is left out just because they may think and act a little different to them. I don't believe children have the intention to be mean but I have witnessed many times when they don't quite know how to talk or play with someone who they see as different, this book highlights that with Addie and Audrey and I think we need to see more examples of these wonderful friendships in books and give children the best role models possible.

Addie's teacher in this book made my blood boil, seriously, I could feel myself get angry and tense with the way she treated Addie, I was fuming. The emotion that Elle poured into her characters is amazing because I very much wanted to jump into the book and protect Addie from this mean and horrible woman. I got very attached to this book as I work with a boy who is autistic and he is one of my favourite people in the whole world, therefore, imagining anyone treating him the way the teacher and the bullies treated Addie, well, I was crying and utterly shattered and was screaming at the book 'not on my watch.' The relationships and dynamics in 'A Kind of Spark' while simply captivating and heart-warming are also great lessons. Never ever be a Miss Murphy, always be a Mr Allison.

Another thing I learnt with this book and is something I actually wanted to ask about is saying 'Addie has autism vs Addie is autistic'. I grew up being taught that if someone has a special need that you don't ever label that person or put the special need first, for example, you would never say 'downs syndrome children,' you would say 'a child with downs syndrome', but when Addie is talking in the book, she explains that she doesn't have autism and that she is autistic and it made a lot of sense. I'd like to know if that is the correct way of saying it or if preferences will be different for everyone? I do hope having this discussion is ok as I hope to be better and more knowledgeable going forward.

'A Kind of Spark' is a gorgeous book full of adventure, passion, important lessons and the magic of believing in yourself and not letting anyone stand in your way. I highly recommend you pick up a copy today!! 

Happy reading.
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