Rules for older readers?

I just finished reading Rules by Cynthia Lord and feel conflicted.  Yes, certainly, this book is for the upper elementary and middle school readers.  In my opinion, it should be required reading for this group, especially given the struggles so many middle schoolers face with fitting in, bullying, and other daily dramas.  It’s no wonder that the book is a Newbery Honor winner, Buckeye Children’s Book Award winner, and an ALA Notable Title.

So what’s the problem?  Well, I think this book would be an appropriate selection for older readers as well.  Even though the protagonist is 12 years old, I think she is wise beyond her years and also exhibits great maturity.  The book’s lessons in diversity, acceptance, and not worrying about what others think is valid for a wide range of teens (and most adults could learn from it as well).

So would this book be included in YA collections?  Definitely not.  Would teens venture into the children’s lit section to check it out?  Probably not. So what to do?  I think I would include it in a pathfinder with other titles on diversity, learning disabilities and the like.  Even in high school, the lessons Catherine learns, and imparts, are valuable.

For a full review of the book, please check out my children’s book review blog at


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