cover image My Brother Charlie

My Brother Charlie

Denene Millner, Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, , illus. by Shane W. Evans . Scholastic Press, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-545-09466-5

This mother-daughter author team base their thoughtful and moving story on their experiences living with Ryan’s autistic brother, RJ. Callie, a candid narrator whose twin brother is autistic, explains that “Charlie’s brain works in a special way.” She mentions the boy’s strong will (“When Charlie wants something, nothing stops him. Even when it’s dangerous”) and tendency to withdraw into his own world, acknowledging that “there are days when it’s hard to be Charlie’s sister.” Yet she also documents Charlie’s talents and the good times they share. Her often-silent brother has taught Callie important lessons, among them “love doesn’t always come from what you say. It can also come from what you do .” Throughout, Callie demonstrates maturity and loyalty: “We love Charlie strong. We watch over him with the might of angels. We have to.” Equally expressive, Evans’s (When Gorilla Goes Walking ) mixed-media art features closeup images of the siblings and their parents and conveys the wide range of emotions all experience. The authors’ postscripts offer background and advice for families dealing with someone with autism. Ages 6–10. (Mar.)