Tag Archive | disability

With music, THE KIDS OF WIDNEY JUNIOR HIGH TAKE OVER THE WORLD! by Mathew Klickstein (book review)

book cover of The Kids of Widney Junior High Take Over the World! by Mathew Klickstein. Published by Schiffer Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Bullied his first week at junior high, 11 year old Robbie is rescued by big Peewee who invites him to band practice where the autistic eighth grader is a singer.

Led by their special ed teacher (and former rock musician), the six-member Kids of Widney Junior High rock band has written many original songs as they prepare for their first big public concert.

Robbie quickly learns that his new friends’ lives aren’t like media stereotypes – Daniel and Cain live with blindness but don’t want to feel his face, and Tanesa zings through life with cerebral palsy.

As the concert date nears, longtime couple Peewee and Elisa have a big argument during rehearsal, overwhelming Cain who says he’s quitting the band!

Does Peewee understand the true power of his words now?
Can the Kids get Elisa and Cain back to rehearsals?
Will the record company exec really attend their show?

This fictional account of the real band members’ struggles in junior high echoes the experiences of many young people that the world sees as ‘different’ on the outside.

The Kids of Widney High are still performing as adults today, opening for established bands, have produced four albums, and were featured in ‘The Ringer’ movie. Real-life Peewee says “Don’t let anything, even your disabilities, cloud your dreams. Just go for it!” (pg. 141).

Happy book birthday to The Kids of Widney Junior High!

Where will your dreams take you?
**kmm

Book info: The Kids of Widney Junior High Take Over the World! / Mathew Klickstein; illustrated by Michael S. Bracco. Schiffer Kids, 2020. [author site] [illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Statistics show OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST, right? by Susin Nielsen (book review)

book cover of Optimists Die First, by Susin Nielsen. Published by Tundra Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sister’s death wasn’t her fault-
Everyone says so,
but she can’t accept that…

Everyday life in Vancouver is filled with deadly risks, so 16-year-old Petula takes every precaution now (but nothing can bring back her little sister or her best friend).

The new guy with the prosthetic arm witnesses her panic attack in class and is in her youth art therapy class and thinks Petula is nice (but doesn’t know how Maxine died).

Ack! Petula and Jacob have to do a project together for English?! His movie-making skills and her recently abandoned crafting supplies plus her mom’s rescue cats should be perfect (but Dad doesn’t agree about having so many cats, not one bit).

As they work together, Jacob reveals his struggles with surviving the crash that killed his best friends back in Toronto, Petula begins to look forward to spending time with him, and life becomes brighter for both of them (but hopefully kissing is less germ-filled than she thought).

When the art therapy class rebels against their teacher’s little-kid ideas, she challenges them to find creative ways to face their issues – parental rejection, grief, survivor’s guilt, addictive behaviors – and they begin working together (but don’t call them friends quite yet).

But when one secret comes to light, Petula’s new happiness and the art therapy group’s progress are all threatened.

From the author of We Are All Made of Molecules (recommended here).

How do you know when it’s time to let old problems go?
**kmm

Book info: Optimists Die First / Susin Nielsen. Tundra Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Among P.T. Barnum’s wonders, WE ARE ALL HIS CREATURES, by Deborah Noyes (book review)

Book cover of We Are All His Creatures, by Deborah Noyes. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The greatest showman!
Spotlight on him!
Overshadowing all others to reach his dreams…

Barnum’s museum of wonders captivates New York in 1842, yet his daughters feel he cares about the mermaid more than he loves them, would rather transform a little person into General Tom Thumb than tell them stories.

Jo is the decoy, drawing away mobs of fans so that famed opera singer Jenny Lind can safely make her way to each performance hall on Barnum’s 1851 tour, ever in her best friend’s shadow.

At home on her father’s lavish estate in Connecticut, only twelve year old Helen and the Barnum menagerie sense the presence of little sister Frances’ ghost who’s angry enough to wreak havoc as big sister Caroline’s 1852 wedding day approaches.

In 1868, no one can know that the Bearded Lady has a son! Mr. Barnum runs a most respectable establishment, and news of her illegitimate child would doom them both. Luckily, the American Museum is so crowded that Jack can sketch the animals with no one the wiser.

This double-handful of tales re-imagines the lives, dreams, and worries of people locked into their orbits around the self-created brilliance of “there’s a sucker born every minute” Barnum.

Is it ever right for the difference of others to be a show for the rest?
**kmm

Book info: We Are All His Creatures: Tales of P. T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman / Deborah Noyes. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is undaunted Ellie, trying to ROLL WITH IT in a new town, by Jamie Sumner (middle grade book review)

book cover of Roll With It, by Jamie Sumner. Published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The next great celebrity baker!
Wheelchair user extraordinaire!
Moving to a new town? oh, no…

Oklahoma is a lot farther from Nashville than it looks on the map, but Ellie and Mom have to get there and convince Mema to let them help take care of Grandpa whose dementia is getting worse.

Small town, small school, no one cares how far Ellie has progressed medically or that the 12 year old is a great baker, seeing only a kid in a wheelchair, someone from that old-people trailer park.

Carpooling with Coralee who loves outrageously bright clothes and Bert who quotes facts instead of making conversation… middle school isn’t kind to any of them.

Ellie will stand up for Coralee and Bert, even if her legs won’t due to cerebral palsy, and her new friends will stand up for her.

What if her distant dad convinces Mom they’re too far from a specialist?
What if Ellie, Mom, and Mema can’t keep Grandpa safe at home?

Ellie writes letters to famous bakers after she tries their recipes in search of the perfect one to enter in the town Pie Contest…maybe a little victory could be a big win.

How do you power through circumstances that you cannot change?
**kmm

Book info: Roll With It / Jamie Sumner. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

O is THE ORACLE CODE graphic novel mystery, by Marieke Nijkamp & Manuel Preitano (book review)

book cover of The Oracle Code: a Graphic Novel, by Marieke Nijkamp & Manuel Preitano. Published by DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Brilliant hacker,
devoted friend,
her life shattered by one shot.

A bullet meant for someone else puts Babs in the Arkham Center for Independence, where the Gotham City teen will learn everything about being a wheelchair users – or so says the Director.

She’d rather be in her own Gotham City bedroom, wondering what case her police commissioner father is on now, gaming with Ben to earn her own hacker name.

This mansion was modernized for ACI and its residents of differing physical abilities, but old secrets and shadows linger in its halls and walls – secrets that Babs and new friend Jena will puzzle out.

Where did Jena’s brother Michael go?
Why does the Director insist he was never at ACI?
Can Babs hack the Center’s computers to get the truth?

When Jena is released from ACI but doesn’t say goodbye to anyone, Babs knows she’s been “disappeared” like other kids… now to discover where Jena really is and rescue her!

When life puts limits on you, what’s next?
**kmm

Book info: The Oracle Code: a Graphic Novel / Marieke Nijkamp (author), Manuel Preitano (illustrator, colorist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer). DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults, 2020. [author site] [illustrator Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

D Deaf and THE SILENCE BETWEEN US, by Alison Gervais (book review)

book cover of The Silence Between Us, by Alison Gervais. Published by Blink YA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Lost her hearing at 13,
learned ASL at a school for the Deaf,
now…halfway across the country at a hearing high school?

Maya knows they had to move to Colorado for Mom’s job, but jumping into her senior year at a new school, needing an interpreter to understand lectures, lip-reading at lunch – exhausting.

Add her little brother’s cystic fibrosis relapses, Mom’s demanding work schedule, and trying to get a part-time job – everyone is stressed.

Not sure she’s interested in a relationship with a hearing guy, but Beau is nice and learning sign language to communicate better with her.

Why can’t he understand why Maya doesn’t want a cochlear implant?
Why can’t Beau’s wealthy father accept his college choice?
What if Maya’s best college option doesn’t choose her?

The author is Hard of Hearing, working with individuals of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community as each chooses how they interact with the hearing world amid misunderstandings, discrimination, and victories.

How are medical services near you prepared to assist Deaf patients during the pandemic?
**kmm

Book info: The Silence Between Us / Alison Gervais. Blink YA, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

FOUR THREE TWO ONE…survivor’s guilt may explode, by Courtney Stevens (YA book review)

book cover of Four Three Two One, by Courtney Stevens. Published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An art installation,
recreating the NYC bus bombing
where they almost died with the others…
almost.
Is almost enough or too much?

A year after an angry white boy explodes himself on a sightseeing bus, the four teen survivors are still trying to piece their lives together:

Golden and Chan – young sweethearts from the same Kentucky commune,
Caroline – from New York wine country, unable to escape vicious Simon,
Rudy – former athlete, now wheelchair-bound in Florida.

A medic who helped them away from the burning bus has spent the past year honoring the victims online and will soon unveil the rebuilt bus with their families’ memories – on the very street where it happened.

He asks people who can’t attend to donate scholarship money for the survivors and invites Golden, Chan, Caroline, and Rudy to be there.

Can they really face that bus where 19 others died?
Can they undo their connections to the bomber’s choice to bomb that bus at that moment?
Can they move forward, alone or together, ever?

Golden’s tennis partner Becky arranges the road trip that will get them all to NYC for the ceremony…ready to remember or not.

How have you worked through being a survivor?
**kmm

Book info: Four Three Two One / Courtney Stevens. Harper Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Spoil the sea, fear the sky – eco-drama to read with your ears! (audiobooks)

Scary stuff this week with @AudiobookSYNC’s two free titles to download – because the stories are so true!

Download the audiobook you want by clicking on the title and following the instructions. You can get both of these professionally produced works free of charge through Wednesday, 20 May 2019.

CD cover of Spill,  by Leigh Fondakowski | Read by Elisa Bocanegra, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Nicholas Hormann, Travis Johns, Jane Kaczmarek, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, Kate Steele, Mark Jude Sullivan Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Spill – by Leigh Fondakowski

Read by Elisa Bocanegra, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Nicholas Hormann, Travis Johns, Jane Kaczmarek, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, Kate Steele, Mark Jude Sullivan Published by L.A. Theatre Works

This documentary about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico includes conversations, interviews, and court proceedings – dramatized by a full cast in front of a studio audience.

CD cover of Meet the Sky,  by McCall Hoyle | Read by Morgan Fairbanks Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Meet the Sky – by McCall Hoyle

Read by Morgan Fairbanks. Published by Blink

Sophie didn’t intend to ride out the hurricane on their Outer Banks island, especially with the guy who broke her heart by vanishing only to reappear recently – but they do want to survive! I recommended Meet the Sky here last month (no spoilers!)

What’s your scariest humans against Mother Nature story?
**kmm

H = Hurricane and help in MEET THE SKY, by McCall Hoyle (YA book review)

book cover of Meet the Sky, by McCall Hoyle, published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Evacuation means leaving the place.
Mandatory means that it must be done.
She knows this, he doesn’t even care.

After the accident, her sister’s rehab was long and arduous, her dad abandoned them, and Sophie concentrated on helping mom with their stables and preparing to become a veterinarian.

Then Finn walked back into her life like he’d never stood her up at the dance, like he didn’t remember how close they had been before, like he hadn’t disappeared without a trace, without even a phone call…

And now the hurricane grows more powerful than predicted as the teens are stuck on the barrier island, trying to stay alive!

Go back to coastal North Carolina with the author of The Thing With Feathers, which I recommended here.

Checked your emergency preparedness skills and supplies lately?
**kmm

Book info: Meet the Sky / McCall Hoyle. Blink YA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As a ferocious hurricane approaches North Carolina, Sophie is stranded on her Outer Banks island with Finn, guaranteed to break her heart again, if they survive the storm.

Did Mom and Mere and the horses get to the mainland safely?
What brought Finn back to the island?

Surfing during a hurricane evacuation is just like class clown Finn, delaying their journey through the increasing wind to safety.

Too close to the shore, Sophie and Finn fight through lancing rain and wind-borne debris to find shelter. Too late?

Her life torn apart when THE PROPHET CALLS, by Melanie Sumrow (YA book review)

book cover of The Prophet Calls, by Melanie Sumrow. Published by Yellow Jacket/Bonnier | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A house full of children,
being second or twelfth wife…
not her dream, not her future!

Gentry’s mother is Father’s second wife, her love of music blooming in her children – an unhealthy practice from the outside say the other wives who also sniff that food is wasted on her sister Amy because the Prophet will never allow a disabled person to be a wife.

If Gentry could only play the violin instead of worrying about outsiders attacking the polygamist compound or becoming a wife as a young teen or hearing the Prophet calling out punishments…

When do you say that your elders don’t know what’s best?
**kmm

Book info: The Prophet Calls / Melanie Sumrow. Yellow Jacket/ Bonnier Publishing USA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Playing the violin is Gentry’s dream, not becoming a wife and mother, but how far will the young teen go to make music in defiance of their polygamist cult’s Prophet?

Bad luck for Gentry that her 13th birthday comes just as the Prophet declares in a phone call from prison that no women may leave the Watchful compound, days before she and Tanner are due to play at the folk music festival in Santa Fe!

Father’s other wives have long said that her Mother’s love for music is too worldly, but surely Gentry’s talent is a blessing…

Can Tanner find a way for them to perform at the festival?
Can Gentry stay clear of the Prophet’s eldest nephew and his grabby hands?
Can she keep little Amy safe from those who can’t see past her disabilities?

Every call from the Prophet brings new fears and restrictions as he decides what is taught at their school, which devout men get to marry more wives, and who is banished to the outside where crazy people think men walked on the moon.