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Marcelo in the real world – Francisco X. Stork

Posted by Laura on January 29, 2010

Marcelo is seventeen and has a summer job working at his school caring for the ponies.   He is looking forward to starting on Monday, but his father, Arturo,  has other plans for him. Arturo believes that Marcelo should work in the mail room of his law firm because Marcelo needs experience in the real world.

Marcelo’s school is a private school for children with developmental or physical disabilities called Paterson. Marcelo has a form of Autism that is best described as Asperger’s Syndrome.  He is very literal, he notices everything, he doesn’t seem to feel emotions as others do, and he can hear “internal music.”  Which is part of his  special interest that he calls remembering.

Arturo makes a deal with Marcelo.  If he is able to complete the summer job and follow all the rules, he can complete his high school education at Paterson.  If he fails to live up to expectations, Marcelo will have to go to the public high school.  Unfortunately for Marcelo, when he arrives at the law firm he is assigned to work with Jasmine and she resents his being there.

Then there is Wendell, the son of Arturo’s partner.  He has designs on Jasmine and wants Marcelo to help in getting Jasmine on his boat so that he can bring her “below.”  Marcelo is going to find out that the real world can be pretty nasty.  It is a good thing that he can go to Rabbi Heschel and speak about theological and moral issues even though he is Catholic.

Marcelo in the real world by Francisco X. Stork is the recipient of  the 2010 teen Schneider Family Book Award.  From the ALA Website:  “The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

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