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?
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.