So often at school you are asked to read a book because of a theme it fits, or because of a topic that it addresses. I find myself looking specifically for books that I know will fit some of the themes that teachers here at O’Neill utilize when working on a unit. As a result, or perhaps completely by accident, I have finished two books recently that would fit into the our Disabilities Unit. The first is called The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. The main character has been in a school bus accident and has lost the lower part of her right leg. She is a fantastic runner, and now she wonders if she’ll ever run again. As she goes through her process of grief and recovery, she finds support from a freshman girl in her math class. The friendship that develops between these two drives the book and in many ways changes Jessica’s life as much as losing her leg.
The second book is called Girl, Stolen by April Henry. This is a great action story, since it is a kidnapping story. However, the interesting twist is it isn’t supposed to be a kidnapping, but really just a car jacking. When Griffin takes the car, he doesn’t realize Cheyenne is sick in the backseat. And things get more interesting when Cheyenne reveals she is blind.
What I really liked about both of these books, is they could be used for the Disabilities Unit, but the whole point of each book isn’t the disability each person has, it is what they do with their lives, period. I enjoyed both of these books, the main characters and all the nuances they each brought to the table. I especially enjoyed The Running Dream and will remember that book for a long time.
Books can have a message or a theme without getting in the way of a good story, or character development and those are the books that I remember. I will remember Jessica and what she choices she made, or Cheyenne and how both she and Griffin are changed because he stole a car – not that Jessica lost a leg and Cheyenne was blind.