A Kind of Spark

Elle McNicoll

We think everyone should read Elle McNicoll’s important debut. Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year and a Carnegie medal nominee, A Kind of Spark offers a unique insight into neurodiversity from a child’s point of view, by an emerging author who is neurodivergent herself. The story follows an autistic girl named Addie, who is 11 and living with her parents and her older twin sisters. Addie loves sharks and she loves words, but sometimes finds the world a difficult place to live in. Horrified by what she is casually taught at school about the historical persecution of so-called witches – whom she discovers were actually innocent women perceived as different in some way – Addie embarks on a campaign to establish a memorial to the witches in her Scottish town, which then becomes a personal quest to make her voice heard, drawing interesting parallels between the history of the outcast witches and the perception of autism in contemporary society. The publication of this book is the culmination of the author’s own quest to illuminate the everyday experiences of children with autism, which happily matched the aims of pioneering publishers ‘Knights Of’ resulting in this wonderful addition to the growing wealth of representative fiction for children.

Published by Knights Of

Reviewed by Ash Smith