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Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles by Tony Lehman
Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles is a story about Hanukkah but with a twist. It traces the celebratory rituals that Jacob and his family enjoy for the eight days of Hanukkah as well as shows Jacob’s frustration and embarrassment with his autistic big brother Nathan who constantly repeats himself, hugs complete strangers, and obsessively announces long lists of random facts. A centerpiece of the Hanukkah tradition is lighting the menorah; and, for Jacob, it becomes central to his holiday anxiety: Every day of the Hanukkah celebration, much to Jacob’s chagrin, Nathan blows out the newly lit candle on the menorah. Their parents are patient with Nathan and his autism; and, they help guide Jacob and their new neighbors’ son to becoming a bit more understanding of his disorder as well. (more…)
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Duyvis’ Otherbound is a tour-de-force in complications. The story is told through dual narrators, Nolan and Amara. Nolan, a bilingual Hispanic teenager growing up in small town Arizona, has a crippling neurological disorder, masked as epilepsy. This disorder has already cost him one foot and incurred massive medical debt for his working class family. In the past, Nolan’s disorder even caused hallucinations whenever he blinked. He is constantly aware of the burden he unintentionally places on his family and struggles to connect with those around him, his disabilities impairing him both physically and mentally. Nolan is also doing his best to hide a secret: the hallucinations never stopped. Every time Nolan closes his eyes his mind is transported into the body of our second protagonist, Amara.