Arm count = zero,
Nose for mysteries and secrets = keen,
Sense of humor = boundless!
Moving to a new school can be nerve-wracking, especially in junior high when you don’t know anyone and you don’t have any arms to wave hello or shake hands… but Aven will carry on regardless of the stares.
Just released this week, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus showcases Aven’s curiosity, self-sufficient attitude (thanks to her parents), and witty storytelling as she leaps (or tiptoes) into new situations in her new town and school.
How do you treat new folks who are different from you?
My book talk: Moving across the country, 13-year-old Aven wonders whether living in Arizona will be more difficult because she has such fair skin or because she has no arms.
Her adoptive parents have encouraged Aven to do everything for herself – button her jeans, brush her teeth, play the guitar – and she can.
Dad really needs a job, so off they go to Arizona where he and Mom will manage an Old West theme park, and Aven will start 8th grade without the longtime friends who are used to her crazy stories about where her arms went, knowing she was born that way.
Eating with her feet (of course she washes them first!) in front of new kids? Yikes! Better after meeting Connor, who never eats in front of anyone because of his Tourette’s tics, and Zion, who eats by himself so kids don’t tease him about being big.
Uncovering the mystery of the missing Cavanaugh photo and the secrets in the locked shed? Just takes persistence and clue-gathering by Aven, Connor, and Zion. And a crowbar. And the right key.
Making sure that Stagecoach Pass park stays open? She’ll have to think on that a while.
Ancient saguaro cacti that guard the hilltops near the park, tarantula photos on the ice cream parlor walls, upcoming soccer tryouts – interesting opportunities for Aven, whose blog posts shout and whisper the happy and challenging parts of her new life.