Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

A Kind of Spark

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Powerful book about autism propelled by authentic voice.

A Kind of Spark Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

A great book!

I got this book from the library in attempt to get my daughter to read it. She didn't want to so I decided to do so. I thought it was an amazing book. It's about a girl who is autistic. She describes how she can feel and see things more then others. She learns about the witch trials and greatly felt for all the women who were killed. She is bullied at school even by a teacher. I think the author really brings to light of the struggles that can be felt for those on the spectrum or even just different then neurotypical people. Yes their is the bit of her punching a child when she was bullied or when she talks about the time she bites the babysitter. Theirs also a part that she mentions a girl being put in an institution for being different but i don't feel these things are bad for a child to read. All in all I feel this book is suppose to bring to light that just because a person is different or "weird" that it doesn't mean they shouldnt be heard by others. Their thoughts and opinions count just as much as anyone else. I highly recommend the read. It brought me moments of laughter and even some tears.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Quick-paced and compelling, this story travels deeply into the point-of-view of a person with autism. This is because the debut author of A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicoll, is autistic and writes from the heart. Though the story wastes no time getting its point across, it's well-written enough to leave readers wishing there were a few more chapters.

The subplot exploring historical witch hunts conveys how high the stakes can be for people who don't fit the norm. Though such violence no longer takes place in the town square, Addie feels the threat of being institutionalized casting a shadow over her every move. Her quest to speak the truth about witch burnings -- a desire to stand up for human rights -- spotlights this fear. The result is a story that can help broaden the understanding of people like Addie (or Greta Thunburg), whose differences can serve as their strengths.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate