Hate Mail

  • Pages:144
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:autism, bullying, hate mail, depression, family
  • Pub Date:09/01/2014
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 9-12
  • Fry Level:3.5
  • Lexile:HL590L
  • ATOS:4.0
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:W
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Inspired by real-life events, Hate Mail examines the transformative power of speaking out against prejudice.

Jordie’s cousin Todd has moved back to Montreal and is attending Jordie’s high school. Todd has autism and requires an aide. Todd has not been welcomed in the school. He’s known as a freak, and even other parents seem to resent Todd’s special needs. Jordie does everything he can to distance himself from his cousin, fearful of what his friends might think. When he learns that Todd’s whole family is buckling under the pressure of a hateful letter, Jordie starts to question his own behavior. But Todd’s resources are unique, and he soon finds a way to prove his worth to his peers and to the community at large.

"Polak does a great job at getting inside Jordie’s head, to his true feelings and the reasons behind his reluctance to stand up for his cousin. He is so afraid that his friends will look at him differently that he hesitates to discuss his personal life with anyone. And what teenager cannot relate to that?...[Recommended] to anyone who is interested in teaching their children about social justice and the importance of standing up for what you believe in."
– CM Magazine
"Shows how a young person learns to deal with autism and depression. Just doing the right thing and standing up can bring about change...A quick and easy read."
– Library Media Connection
"A timely and topical story about bullying, prejudice, human justice and finding the courage to act in the face of it all...Highly recommended."
– Resource Links
"A compelling read...[Polak is] deft at informing readers about autism—explaining behavioural patterns, for instance—without lapsing into lecture mode...Encourages teen readers to consider the prejudices at play in their own lives, and to find the courage to stand up for what they believe is just."
– Montreal Review of Books
Quebec Writers' Federation Prize   | 2014  |  Winner