Why diversity matters at Christmas 03/12/20
A Kind of Spark
Publisher: Knights Of
Addie’s class are told they have a ‘fun’ new project to study in the run-up to Halloween. As the teacher recounts how 16th century women were accused of witchcraft for reasons as innocuous as being left-handed, 11 year old Addie is left stunned. She’s horrified that innocent people, including women from her own area, were persecuted, executed, then forgotten by society. The revelation leaves her determined to lobby for a local memorial in her small Scottish village.
Oppression of those with perceived ‘differences’ is of course not confined to the history books. And Addie, who is autistic, experiences this at first hand and in various forms, both at school and in the local community. But we soon see that she is not one to sit back and accept injustice – and with support from a new girl at school - she fights valiantly for what she knows is right.
This debut novel from a neurodivergent writer offers an utterly convincing and hugely likeable narrative voice. Challenging many a myth and a stereotype, but never forcing its messages, this is a powerful book with a gentle touch. With Addie’s twin sister also on the spectrum, we are reminded that there are ‘many different ways to be autistic’. We see that there are regrettably also many ways to ignorant and unpleasant, and that even adults can be bullies. And we are reminded what a phoney place the world of social media can be. But above all, we revel in joining Addie in her crusade for equality and truth.
A short, sweet and accessible read, but with so very much to say.