Rules (novel)

Rules is the debut novel by author Cynthia Lord. Released by Scholastic, Inc. in 2006, it was a Newbery Honor book in 2007.[1] It is a Sunshine State Young Readers book for 2008–2009 and won A 2007 Schneider Family Book Award.[2] In 2009 it also won the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award.[3]

AuthorCynthia Lord
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's Novel
PublisherScholastic Paperbacks
LC ClassPZ7.L87734 Rul 2006


1. People have good intentions to live by the rules they are given, but no matter how dedicated they are, some rules might be broken for reasons good or bad.[4]

2. There are flaws in all of us – not just those with special needs.

3. We all try to do the best we can to fit in, but things don’t always end up the way we intend.[5]

4. Always stick with family no matter what.

5. Even the best of us can't stick to their own rules.


Lord has two children, a son, and a daughter, and was inspired by them while writing Rules. She states that the character of David is loosely based on her autistic son, while the character of Catherine is a mixture of herself and her daughter, who loves to draw. Most of the characters and incidents come from a very personal place in Lord's life, including the character of Jason, who was very loosely inspired by an experience she had as a kid while watching a child in a wheelchair communicating with his mother.

The Q&A following the end of the book welcomes the reader with these words when asked where the idea for Rules came from: "I have two children, a daughter, and a son, and my son has autism. One day when my daughter was about ten years old, she asked me, "Mom, how come I never see families like mine in books and on TV?" I didn't know how to answer her, so I went looking for children's books that included characters with severe special needs. I did find some, but most of the books I read seemed very sad to me. Sadness is part of living with someone with a severe disability, but it's only one part. It can also be funny, inspiring, heartwarming, disappointing, frustrating—everything that it is to love anyone and to live in any family."


  1. "2007 Newbery Medal and Honor Books". Association for Library Services to Children. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  2. American Library Association Schneider Family Book Awards
  3. "Past Winners - DCF Children's Book Award". DCF Children's Book Award. November 2014. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  4. Rules by Cynthia Lord
  5. Rules by Cynthia Lord

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