“My good hand flaps against my thigh as we walk. I keep my eyes averted all the way, like if I don’t see other people, they might not see me.” p 57
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis.
Amulet Books Imprint, Abrams, New York, 2016.
YA apocalyptic science fiction, 456 pages.
Lexile: HL640L (What does HL mean in Lexile?)
AR Level: Not yet leveled.
Teen Denise just wanted to work in the cat shelter and make it through her daily life. But then they found out about the comet. Since then, she’s been trying to figure out how to survive the apocalypse – and bring her family with her. But it isn’t easy. Her sister is missing, her addict mom is running so late they can’t get to the shelter, and her autism makes all these changes even more confusing and distressing.
“I hardly ever saw anybody in a wheelchair really in the swing of things. […] I worried that when I grew up I’d be an invisible man.” page 105
This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability) by Aaron Philip, with Tonya Bolden.
Balzer + Bray imprint, HarperCollins, New York, 2016.
Middle grade autobiography, 179 pages.
Lexile: 880L .
AR Level: 5.8 (worth 4.0 points) .
Aaron (pronounced Ay-ron) Philip is an ordinary kid who became famous through his tumblr and drawings, which led him to become a disability activist.
I had never heard of Aaron Phillip before, so despite seeing this book in the store, I didn’t pick it up until I started my diverse disabledbooklist. And it would have been a real loss if I hadn’t.
“Maybe, Donavan thought, he wasn’t the only one who felt uncomfortable about Vic’s homecoming dinner.” page 43
Donavan’s Double Trouble by Monalisa DeGross, illustrated by Amy Bates.
Amistad, HarperCollins, New York, 2008.
Realistic fiction chapter book, 180 pages.
Lexile: 550L .
AR Level: 3.8 (worth 4.0 points) .
Note: Donavan’s Double Trouble is the sequel to Donavan’s Word Jar.
Donavan’s got all kinds of troubles lately. Heritage Month is coming up, and he doesn’t know anyone to ask. He’s struggling with math and his younger sister is overtaking him. His favorite uncle is back, but no longer a firefighter. He doesn’t play basketball or teach dance moves anymore, because Uncle Vic’s National Guard unit was called up, and he came home without his legs. Donovan’s not feeling good about these changes – he just wants his old uncle back.
When I was trying to find books about PoC with disabilities, one word was overwhelmingly used to describe this book: sweet. Having read it, I would certainly agree.
I became interested in this after talking with Naz about how seldom people of color are represented in works about disability, particularly fiction. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. People constantly give me books, and I’m always buying more or making great finds on the free shelf at the library. Besides the thousands of books my family owns, we always have at least a dozen library books checked out from various places (usually closer to a hundred…). For at least the past decade, I’ve had an interest in reading books with disabled characters. How could I never have read a book with diverse disabled characters?
We meet Vicki in the most intimate and vulnerable time in her life – after she’s just attempted suicide and is now hospitalized for severe depression.
I got this book through a branch loan (CSviaS) after Naz recommended it to me when we were discussing the sad lack of books about disability with intersectionality. It took a while to come through with holidays interrupting ILL services and me being on vacation, so during that time, I thought of one book in my collection and accidentally encountered another at the store. I’ve also been hitting up Google with the idea of reviewing a number of books about disability by people of color and generating a list for kids, parents, and teachers. Just like early readers, this is one of those little niches of the book world that we need to diversify.
This book is beautiful. That probably seems like a strange thing to say about a book about depression, but the writing is just lovely. It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, not in any way the content, but the writing style. I was quickly immersed in Vicki’s world and wanted her to heal and live.
Despite the author’s good intentions, this book is definitely not recommended.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
Alloy Entertainment, Random House Children’s Books, New York, 2015.
YA realistic fiction, 311 pages.
Lexile: HL610L (What does HL mean in Lexile?)
AR Level: 4.4 (worth 7.0 points)
NOTE: This is a teen read, not intended for 3rd or 4th graders despite the reading level!
Madeline has a rare disorder known as SCID – which amounts to being so allergic to the world around her that she can never leave her house. And with the internet, books, a nurse who is also a friend, and silly game nights with her mother, she doesn’t need to go anywhere. Until Olly’s family moves in next door.
“Everybody laughs. Especially the ones who don’t do it out loud; they do it the loudest.” p. 186
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane.
Magic Carpet Books, Harcourt, my edition 2003, first published in 2002.
Middle grade fantasy, 320 pages + excerpt.
AR Level: 5.8 (worth 13.0 points)
NOTE: This is the 6th book in the Young Wizards series.
“Becoming a wizard isn’t easy. In fact, it can kill you.
All first-time wizards must go through an initiation in magic called an Ordeal. Most last only a few days. So why has Darryl McAllister been on Ordeal for three months?
Or has he? Darryl hadn’t actually gone anywhere. His body is still here; it’s his mind that seems to have departed. And that’s where Kit and Nita come in. Only together can they unravel the mysteries around Darryl – who he is, what he is, and why the source of all death in the universe, the Lone Power, is desperately trying to destroy him.” -back cover blurb
Even that is a little spoilery, but better than the synopsis you will find on most popular websites (including the two linked above), which give major spoilers. Unfortunately, this review will also be somewhat spoilery since this is the sixth book in a series. Discussing this book will give away some plot elements from the first five books.
I last read these these books many years ago and had forgotten that one of the two main characters is Latino. The other might be Latina (her given name is Juanita, her father is Irish-American but I don’t think her mother’s background is specified). When younger, I only cared about female characters. Although the two have very equal parts, I inaccurately recalled Kit Rodriguez as a sidekick to Nita Callahan and her younger sister Dairine.
Most of this review will be have spoilers for either the book or the series, but be sure to scroll down to the non-spoiler end…