Project SUCCESS

Learn about a community service project for teens happening in Lansing, Jackson, and Grand Rapids: Project Success. A great way to meet people and help your community at the same time.
Project SUCCESS is a community service project for middle and high-school students with and without disabilities.  It is a fun way to build lasting friendships while making a contribution to your community.

The group works together on three service projects over three to five months of club meetings. Activities are organized in the school and/or the community. In past clubs, the group organized a drive to collect food and supplies for the Humane Society, solicited flower donations, and baked cookies to take along on a visit to a nursing home, and visited an elementary school to talk to the children about disabilities and give the children a chance to “experience” a disability by using a wheelchair, wearing a blindfold, trying to talk with a mouthful of marshmallows, or wearing sound blocking earmuffs.

This is what some of the teens who took part had to say about Project Success:

I was able to reach out and help others.”
  “ I had fun!”
  “ I made a difference.”
  “ I liked having something to do after school instead of sitting home.”
  “ I feel good about all my friends.”
  “ I feel good about myself.”

Project SUCCESS is currently offered in Lansing, Jackson, and Grand Rapids. If you would like more information, contact Pam Patchak-Schuster at (800) 828-2714 or (517) 203-1200.

Disability Sports in Michigan

Books for Teens

There are many books written especially for teens experiencing cerebral palsy. Here are some titles we recommend, along with descriptions of their content.

Cerebral Palsy, by John Coopersmith Gold, Stephen D. Rioux

ISBN: 0766016633
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Pub. Date: May 2001

From the Critics
From Children's Literature  
What would life be like if you had cerebral palsy? In this sensitive, scientific discussion of an incurable disorder, which strikes about two in one thousand infants yearly in the United States alone, young readers will find out. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the body's muscles. Exactly why or how this damage happens to unborn or newborn children isn't yet known, but scientists continue to search out answers. The effects of the disease can vary widely, from mild symptoms that are difficult for others to easily detect, to severe disabilities that eliminate the hope of independent living. The text explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the many forms that cerebral palsy might take; the learning problems and physical impairment that may be experienced; how diagnosis is made; and the medical treatments and therapy available to help patients manage the disease. But the text is not limited to the clinical facts. The author also traces the story of two young cerebral palsy patients and how they cope each day with the special challenges facing them. Also included—a complete glossary of medical terms used in the body of the text, a subject index and a recommended reading list of books and Internet sites for those wishing more information about the disease. Part of the "Health Watch" series. 2001, Enslow, $18.95. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree

Stuck in Neutral, by Terry Trueman

ISBN: 0064472132
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pub. Date: November  2001

From the Publisher
Shawn McDaniel is an enigma and a miracle—except no one knows it, least of all his father. His life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. Not even those who love him best have any idea what he is truly like. In this extraordinary and powerful first novel, the reader learns to look beyond the obvious and finds a character whose spirit is rich beyond imagining and whose story is unforgettable.

My life is like one of those "good news-bad news" jokes. Like, "I've got some good news and some bad news—which do you want first?"

I could go on about my good news for hours, but you probably want to hear the punch line, my bad news, right? Well, there isn't that much, really, but what's here is pretty wild. First off, my parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My being born changed everything for all of us, in every way. My dad didn't divorce my mom, or my sister, Cindy, or my brother, Paul—he divorced me. He couldn't handle my condition, so he had to leave. My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news.

Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL), Books for Youth Editor's Choice 2000 (Booklist), Top 10 Youth First Novels 2000(Booklist), 2001 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), 2001 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers (ALA), and 2001 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

From the Critics
From Horn Book  
The invention of Shawn is compelling, evoking one of our darkest fears and deepest hopes — that a fully conscious and intelligent being may be hidden within such a broken body, as yet unable to declare his existence.
 
From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly  
First-time novelist Trueman raises ethical issues about euthanasia through the relationship between 14-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and his father. In a conversational tone, narrator Shawn explains that when he was born, a tiny blood vessel burst in his brain, leaving him unable to control any of his muscles. What no one knows is that Shawn is a "secret genius" who, while unable to communicate, remembers everything he has ever heard. His condition, which includes violent seizures, overwhelmed his father, who moved out when Shawn was three years old; the man later won a Pulitzer Prize for a poem based on his experiences as parent to a victim of C.P. Weaving together memories with present-day accounts, Shawn describes the highs and lows of his day-to-day life as well as his father's increasing fascination with euthanasia and evidence that the man is working up the courage to personally "end [Shawn's] pain." The strength of the novel lies in the father-son dynamic; the delicate scenes between them carefully illustrate their mutual quest to understand each other. The other characters (Shawn's brother and sister, mother, teachers) lack this complexity. As a result, many of the scenes feel more contrived than heartfelt ("I always feel so guilty complaining about it at all!" says his sister). All in all, the book's concepts are more compelling than the story line itself. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
 
From Children’s Literature
In this honest, touching story, fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel describes how his life is like a "good news-bad news" joke. The good news--he loves living in Seattle, he thinks his brother and sister are pretty cool and he has the ability to recall everything he's ever heard since the age of five. The bad news--his parents are divorced and he has cerebral palsy, a condition that leaves him motionless and unable to control his muscles or communicate with others. Everyone around Shawn believes he is retarded and has no understanding of his surroundings. However, this belief couldn't be further from the truth. Shawn's actually quite alive on the inside, and he finds pleasure in his dreams and everyday experiences such as driving around Seattle with his family and watching television. One day, when he overhears his father make comments about ending his son's pain and suffering, Shawn becomes afraid and anxious. His father loves him tremendously--in fact he writes a poem about Shawn's condition, which wins the Pulitzer Prize--but he's torn about whether or not to end his son's life. The debate about euthanasia continues throughout the rest of the book, and the abrupt ending leaves the reader wondering about his father's final decision. Although this topic is very controversial, the author handles it tactfully and provides an insightful look into the life of a physically handicapped teenager. This unforgettable, eye-opening book makes an excellent selection for both young adults and adults. 2000, HarperCollins, Ages 10 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Debra Briatico—Children's Literature
 
From The Five Owls  
With a voice tucked deep inside the lead character's psyche, not unlike Bruce Brooks' recent novel Vanishing, Terry Trueman has his protagonist, a young man with cerebral palsy named Shawn, describe his situation in this way: "I do sometimes wonder what life would be like if people, even one person, knew that I was smart and that there's an actual person hidden inside my useless body; I am in here, I'm just sort of stuck in neutral." Shawn lives his life in a wheelchair. He has total aural recall of everything he has ever heard, which gives him a unique perspective on the world. Sadly, he cannot share what he knows and feels. Shawn's father is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who has written about his son in a blank verse poem (quoted throughout the book in snatches) that brings audiences to tears. In one poignant moment, we see Shawn listening to the poem read aloud, as people watch him and hear about him. The real dramatic focus of the novel is Shawn's divorced father's sudden interest in a real life case of a father who killed his son (who had been afflicted with a similar physical disability) in an attempt to bring an end to his suffering. Shawn wonders, "Is my own father planning to kill me?" What gives added tension to Shawn's predicament is his total inability to communicate with anybody and his total dependency on others. This novel could have taken a more plot-driven tack, creating a Hitchcock-like story with suspense and pathos. Instead, first-time author Trueman has made the events of the story take second place and written a wonderful inner dialogue, giving voice to a fully-aware, witty, bright, and normal young man who just happens to have cerebral palsy. The voice isamazingly true to any fourteen-year-old young man, lusty, funny, self-deprecating, and loving. Readers will be fascinated by Shawn's description of what it is like to be severely handicapped and what out-of-body experiences feel like when he has seizures. It is not clear at the end of the novel exactly what does happen. Does the father emulate the news story he has been studying and actually kill his own son, or does he face his frustrations and try to deal with the handicap in a more positive way? Stuck in Neutral will raise ethical questions and probably inspire some young readers to seek more practical knowledge about the handicapped. One thing is sure: readers will be fascinated by and care about Shawn. 2000, HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Stephen Fraser — The Five Owls, September/October 2000 (Vol. 15 No. 1)
 
From KLIATT  
Shawn, age 14, lives in Seattle, and he tells us the "good news" about himself first: he has total recall of everything he has ever heard, a talent that makes him proud. But the "bad news" that follows is truly heart-rending; Shawn is confined to a wheelchair, so severely disabled with cerebral palsy that he can't control any of his muscles, and frequently experiences seizures—which he enjoys, as they help him feel like he can escape his body. He can't talk, walk or feed himself, can't even swallow or blink when he wants to. Worst of all, no one knows that he has a lively intellect, because he has no way of communicating. The stress of caring for Shawn has broken up his parents' marriage; Shawn says of his father, "He couldn't handle my condition, so he had to leave." But his writer/journalist father does love him; he even wrote a touching poem about Shawn that helped to win him a Pulitzer Prize. Now Shawn's father is interested in the case of a man who killed his brain-damaged son—and Shawn begins to strongly suspect that his father may be thinking of killing him. Even more heart-rending, this novel was written by the mother of such a child, as she explains in an author's note at the end. She holds out the hope that her young son, like Shawn, might be a "secret genius witty and funny and wise;" sadly, no one will ever know because he has no way of communicating. This book will provoke thought and discussion, as it ends without making it clear whether or not Shawn's father will kill him, thinking that he will be putting Shawn out of his pain and not understanding the bright, thoughtful person trapped inside a body that won't obey him. It certainly will help YAs understand something of what life might be like for the severely handicapped, and for their families. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, HarperCollins, 118p, $14.89. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)

Petey, by Ben Mikaelsen

ISBN: 0786813369
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Pub. Date: March 2000
Annotation
In 1922 Petey, who has cerebral palsy, is misdiagnosed as an idiot and institutionalized; sixty years later, still in the institution, he befriends a boy and shares with him the joy of life.

From the Publisher
Petey is a touching story of friendship, discovery, and the domination of the human spirit over physical obstacles. The arc of a life bound by cerebral palsy is portrayed in this riveting novel from Ben Mikaelsen.

From the Critics
From Catherine Petrini - Children's Literature  
Petey, a cerebral palsy patient who lives in an institution, cannot walk, talk, or take care of himself. More tragically, the intelligent child is misdiagnosed as mentally impaired, with no capacity for thought. Calvin is a clubfooted boy whose depression is mistaken for mental deficiency. The two become fast friends, and with Calvin's help, Petey learns to communicate in his own unique way. The boys grow to adulthood together. When the two are sent to different facilities, Petey's heart is broken. Years later, he finds someone to take Calvin's place-a lonely teenage boy named Trevor. Trevor's friendship gives Petey another chance at life, but what Petey gives to Trevor is even more remarkable. Ben Mikaelsen's novel is the story of Petey's lifelong struggle to overcome barriers that seem insurmountable, and of the people whose lives he touches. Mikaelsen's prose is a bit pretentious at first, but as he warms to his subject, so do his words. Regardless, Petey's courage and spirit are engaging enough to pull any reader through to the book's tearful but satisfying conclusion.
 
From Joyce Sparrow - VOYA  
At his birth in 1920, two-year-old Petey Corbin is diagnosed as an "idiot" and is admitted to Warm Springs Insane Asylum in Warm Springs, Montana. The story that follows shows the relationships Petey forms with his caregivers, until he is seventy years old and living in the Bozeman Nursing Home. Trevor Ladd is an eighth grade student who has yet to make friends at his new school. On his walk home from class one day, Trevor sees the school bullies throwing snowballs at an old man in a wheelchair outside the nursing home. The old man is Petey, whose cerebral palsy was misdiagnosed so many years ago. Trevor protects Petey and, with the assistance of Petey's nurse, Sissy, the two become friends. Trevor takes Petey fishing at a local dock and shopping at K-Mart. Frustrated pushing Petey's dilapidated wheelchair, Trevor begins a fund raising campaign to collect money to purchase a new one. The townspeople, including Trevor's workaholic parents, find it difficult to understand the bond between this old man with a twisted body and limited speaking capabilities and the lonely but dedicated preteen. The friendship the two enjoy, including Petey's reunion with his friend Calvin and former caregiver Owen, is a story that both adults and students will enjoy. An author's note is included to explain how cerebral palsy was misdiagnosed early in the century. This sensitive story is recommended reading for adults and students alike. Adults will enjoy the book because it shows positive interaction between a disabled, disfigured older man and a preteen. Students will find the novel easy to follow because of its episodic nature, showing Petey's emotional growth as he is involved with each caregiver. The quality of the writing adds to the story without making it unnecessarily challenging, and will be enjoyed by students with varieties of reading levels. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
 
From School Library Journal  
Gr 7 Up-This ambitious book succeeds on a number of levels. It is based on a true, tragic situation in which Petey, born with cerebral palsy in 1920, is misdiagnosed as mentally retarded. Unable to care for him at home, his parents relinquish him to the care of the state, where he languishes in a mental institution for the next five decades. Step by institutional step, readers see how this tragedy could happen. More importantly, readers feel Petey's pain, boredom, hope, fear, and occasional joy. A handful of people grow to know and love him over the course of his long and mostly difficult life, but few are able to effect much change. In 1977, statewide reorganization and a new, correct diagnosis result in Petey being moved to a local nursing home. There, the final, triumphant chapters of his life are entwined with an eighth-grade student named Trevor, who finds his own life transformed by love and caring in ways he never could have imagined. Mikaelsen successfully conveys Petey's strangled attempts to communicate. He captures the slow passage of time, the historical landscape encompassed. He brings emotions to the surface and tears to readers' eyes as time and again Petey suffers the loss of friends he has grown to love. Yet, this book is much more than a tearjerker. Its messages-that all people deserve respect; that one person can make a difference; that changing times require new attitudes-transcend simplistic labels. Give this book to anyone who has ever shouted "retard" at another. Give it to any student who "has" to do community service. Give it to anyone who needs a good book to read.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
 
From Kirkus Reviews  
Born in 1920 with cerebral palsy and dismissed by ignorant doctors as feeble-minded, Petey Corbin spends all but the first two years of his long life institutionalized, his world barely larger than the walls of an asylum ward or, much later, nursing home. Within those walls, further imprisoned in an uncontrollable, atrophied body, he nonetheless experiences joy and love, sorrow, loss, and triumph as intensely as anyone on the outside. Able to communicate only with rudimentary sounds and facial expressions, he makes a series of friends through the years; as a very old man in a 1990s setting, he comes into contact with Trevor, a teenager who defends the old man against a trio of bullies, and remains a loyal companion through his final illness. This is actually two books in one, as with a midstream switch in point-of-view as the story becomes Trevor's, focusing on his inner growth as he overcomes his initial disgust to become Petey's friend. Mikaelsen portrays the places in which Petey is kept in (somewhat) less horrific terms than Kate Seago did in Matthew Unstrung (1998), and surrounds him with good-hearted people (even Petey's parents are drawn sympathetically--they are plunged into poverty during his first two years by the bills his care entails). There are no accusations here, and despite some overly sentimentalized passages, the message comes through that every being deserves care, respect, and a chance to make a difference. (Fiction. 11-13)

Coping with Cerebral Palsy, by Laura Anne Gillman

ISBN: 0823931501
Publisher: Rosen Publishing Group, Incorporated, The
Pub. Date: January  2001

From the Critics
From School Library Journal  
Gr 5 Up--A realistic self-help book written with a little sassiness and a "That's the way it is and this is how to deal with it" attitude. A short chapter is devoted to the basics-definition and treatment. Following chapters discuss attaining independence, schooling, dealing with the insensitivity of others, depression, traveling, working, and relationships with others, all taking into account the amount of disability. Dion Pincus's Everything You Need to Know about Cerebral Palsy (Rosen, 2000) concentrates on the factual aspects and less on how to manage living with the disorder.-Martha Gordon, formerly at South Salem Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Cerebral Palsy, by Nathan Aaseng

ISBN: 0531125297
Publisher: Scholastic Library Publishing
Pub. Date: October  1991
Sy .nopsis
Aaseng presents "a history and definition of {cerebral palsy}, its causes, detection, treatment, and prevention. {He} then presents contrasting case studies of two youngsters growing up with {the condition} and profiles individuals who have triumphed over their disabilities. {Bibliography. Index.} Grades seven to twelve." (SLJ)

Annotation
Discusses the causes, effects, prevention, and treatment of the debilitating condition known as cerebral palsy, which may occur in many different forms.

From the Publisher
A look at the causes, detection, prevention, effects, and treatment, of cerebral palsy, along with the description of a day in the life of a person with the disease.

From the Critics
From School Library Journal  
Gr 4-10--A history and definition of the condition, its causes, detection, treatment, and prevention. Aaseng then presents contrasting case studies of two youngsters growing up with cerebral palsy and profiles individuals who have triumphed over their disabilities. His style is simple without being simplistic; his narrative is informative and upbeat. Even when describing some of the most debilitating aspects, he helps readers to see those with cerebral palsy as people. The design contributes greatly to the book's success; good quality black- and-white photographs feature poses of children that emphasize their personalities rather than their disabilities. A number of well-drafted, anatomical dia grams clarify relevant parts of the text. A short bibliography lists fiction and nonfiction titles, and the addresses of related organizations are provided. Thomas Bergman's Going Places: Children Living with Cerebral Palsy (Gar eth Stevens, 1991) and It's Your Turn at Bat (21st Century, 1988) by Barbara Aiello and Jeffrey Shulman are good treatments of the subject of exception ality for children. An excellent addition to most collections.--Constance A. Mellon, Department of Library & In formation Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

Barry’s Sister, by Lois Metzger
ISBN: 068931521X
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Pub. Date: March 1992

Synopsis
This novel concerns "the impact a child with cerebral palsy has on hisfamily. Fourteen-year-old Ellen Gray tells the story, from her initial anger and shock at her mother's pregnancy through her brother Barry's diagnosis and treatment to the recovery of her family's equilibrium. The story takes place during a three-year period and is told in four parts, each one representing a phase of adjustment that Ellen goes through. . . . Grades six to nine." (Booklist)

Annotation
Twelve-year-old Ellen's loathing for her new baby brother Barry, who has cerebral palsy, gradually changes to a fierce, obsessive love, and she must find a proper balance for her life.

From the Critics
From Publisher's Weekly
Masterfully written and well-researched, Metzger's first novel is an affecting portrayal of a girl's reaction to a brother born with cerebral palsy. Ellen, 11, lives in New York City with her mother Loretta and her father, a submariner who's away for extended periods. When Loretta announces her pregnancy, Ellen is resentful, and after Barry is diagnosed, the girl's inner turmoil is manifested in poor grades, lying and shoplifting. But while homebound by an illness, she grows to love her brother with an intensity that soon allows time only for schoolwork and taking care of him. The situation is rectified when Loretta and newly acquired friends help Ellen achieve a wiser perspective. Although at times Ellen's narration sounds somewhat precocious, this accomplished novel, which takes its protagonist through puberty, junior high, a quasi-crush and eventual maturity, deserves space on YA bookshelves. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
 
From School Library Journal  
Gr 4-7-- Ellen Gray is 12 when her mother announces that she is pregnant. Her father, a naval officer, is seldom home, and her anger at him spills over onto the expected baby; she asks God to ``make something happen so that the baby will disappear.'' When the infant is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she is sure she is being punished. Her guilt leads her to ignore him, but after seeing that her grandmother blames Ellen's mother for Barry's disability and avoids him, Ellen becomes fiercely protective toward her brother. It takes time, patience, and loving friends before Ellen and her parents resume their rightful roles in the family. Metzger has woven what is almost an allegory on families of children born with physical disabilities. All of the elements are here: the pity, shunning, and mockery displayed by those whose lives have been touched by disability; the isolation; the conflicting emotions; and the relief at finding others who share their problems. What is particularly impressive about this book, however, is that they are all included in an effortless and natural way. Mrs. Gray's realization that Ellen has become obsessed with caring for Barry comes abruptly and without explanation, but that is a minor flaw in what is, first and foremost, a well-written coming-of age novel. Ellen is struggling with her image of herself as a worthwhile human being; with her ambivalent feelings toward her father; and with her inability to like or respect her grandmother and aunt. She is a character that readers will take to their hearts, because her growing pains are universal. --Constance A. Mellon, Department of Library & Information Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC-
 
From Hazel Rochman - The New York Times Book Review  
The information that Ms. Metzger presents about cerebral palsy is preciseand accurate. . . . Everything becomes focused on Barry and his condition. . . . {Yet} Ms. Metzger never lets us forget the world out there, especially thenoisy and vital New York City neighborhood where Ellen lives. . . . The emotional therapy talk . . . is occasionally overdone--this is a young-adult problem novel in that sense--and Ellen's neat stages of anger, depression, overcompensation and equilibrium have little to do with the messy adjustments of real life. Still, Ellen learns to allow friends, school, romance and laughter back in her life. . . . As she gets close to a friend and looks at her family as individuals, she accepts that everyone is 'somewhat handicapped.' Her empathy is hard won.

Ellen’s Case, by Lois Metzger, Jean Karl, Editor

ISBN: 0689319347
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Pub. Date: August 1995

Synopsis
"In Metzger's Barry's Sister (1992), Ellen swings between anger, guilt, and devouring love for her little brother, who was born with ataxic cerebral palsy. In this sequel much of that conflict seems to be over. At 16, Ellen loves Barry unconditionally and feels responsible for him. But she relives the trauma of his birth and confronts the sorrow of his future during a malpractice suit in civil court. Did the doctor mess up Barry's birth? Who is responsible? How much does Barry need for lifelong care? What will the jury think? Ellen develops a crush on the passionate, clever malpractice lawyer, and she finds herself stirred and shaken by the intensity of the three-week-long trial. . . . Grades seven to twelve." (Booklist)

Annotation
When sixteen-year-old Ellen Gray finds herself attracted to the lawyer in charge of the malpractice case related to her four-year-old brother's cerebral palsy, she becomes involved in the trial and gains a new perspective on her own life and options for her future.

From the Critics
From School Library Journal  
Gr 6-10-In Barry's Sister (Atheneum, 1992), Ellen Gray secretly wished that the unborn ``Gray baby'' might disappear, and struggled to free herself from the belief that her wish caused his disability. In this sequel, a trial is scheduled to consider medical malpractice charges-four-year-old Barry's cerebral palsy might have been the result of a birth trauma. When attorney Jack Frazier visits her mother, Loretta, to discuss procedures, Ellen is attracted to him and decides that she, too, will be part of the courtroom cast. The detailed proceedings are the heartbeat of the story. From Loretta's courageous testimony to the jury's somber proclamation, the plot accelerates through the courtroom scenes. It is during a private visit with the judge that Ellen finally learns that the trial is for her protection and Barry's care when their parents are no longer able to care for him. Metzger once again demonstrates exceptional skill at building and then peeling back the intricate layers of her characters. Their thoughts, emotions, and actions are solidly consistent throughout. Ellen's imagined romance with Jack Frazier adds interest, as does the promise of a future friendship with a young man who also has CP. An understanding of CP is also introduced, not by way of a lecture, but through the sensitive portrayal of family members who love, accept, and value one another.-Sarabeth Kalajian, Venice Public Library, FL
 
From Hazel Rochman - BookList  
In Metzger's "Barry's Sister" (1992), Ellen swings between anger, guilt, and devouring love for her little brother, who was born with ataxic cerebral palsy. In this sequel much of that conflict seems to be over. At 16, Ellen loves Barry unconditionally and feels responsible for him. But she relives the trauma of his birth and confronts the sorrow of his future during a malpractice suit in civil court. Did the doctor mess up Barry's birth? Who is responsible? How much does Barry need for lifelong care? What will the jury think? Ellen develops a crush on the passionate, clever malpractice lawyer, and she finds herself stirred and shaken by the intensity of the three-week-long trial. Her parents and friends seem too wise, strong, and therapeutic to be true, but the lawyer is more interesting (is he manipulating her?), and so is the awkward, angry boy who has a crush on "her". The trial is the core of the story, and it is riveting: the confrontation between prosecutor and defense, the public faces of judge and jurors, the strain of testifying, the medical information, the surprise, the tension. It makes you wonder why there aren't more YA books about the human drama of the courtroom.

 

Teens with Physical Disabilities: Real Life Stories of Meeting the Challenges, by Glenn Alan, Alan Cheney
ISBN: 0894906259
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Pub. Date: April 1995

Synopsis
This is a "collection of autobiographical sketches by teens living with . . . physical disabilities. Rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and paralysis resulting from a gunshot wound are {discussed. Bibliography. Index.} Grades six to nine." (SLJ)

From the Critics
From School Library Journal  
Gr 6-9-A collection of autobiographical sketches by teens living with the challenges of physical disabilities. Rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and paralysis resulting from a gunshot wound are all discussed. The narrators explain the source of their disabilities and describe coping skills. At the end of each section, Cheney provides answers to commonly asked questions. The selections have an interesting, lively tone. Black-and-white photographs of the young people illustrate the text. This book will be useful for self-help purposes, but does not contain enough information for reports.-Ann M. Burlingame, North Regional Library, Raleigh, NC
 
From Mary Harris Veeder - BookList  
Attend to the title carefully: this book isn't about the diseases or accidents that disable teens; it's about teens themselves. Daily life is the central concern, and the young adults profiled express a wide range of typical teenage attitudes--from belligerence to cynicism to idealism. The narrators, each of whom is introduced by a photo and a thumbnail biography, aren't poster children. Each chapter concludes with a short question-and-answer section about the disability in focus. A gritty, tough collection of stories, the book will provide a strong complement to theoretical discussions of the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Petey . by   Ben MIKAELSEN, In 1922, Petey, who has cerebral palsy, is misdiagnosed as an idiot and institutionalized; sixty years later, still in the institution, he befriends a boy and shares with him the joy of life.
YA

Coping With a Physically Challenged Brother or Sister(Coping Series) by Linda Lee Ratto; Rosen Publishing Group, 1992. Young people talk about how they feel as siblings of the physically handicapped. age level young adult 13+

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars; Viking Press, 1970. A teen-age girl gains new insight into herself and her family when her mentally retarded brother gets lost. age level 14 - 16, grades 9 -12

Don't Stop the Music by Robert Perske; Abingdon Press, 1986. A journalist becomes involved with two young people having cerebral palsy.
age level 14 - 16, grades 9 -12

Wild Horse Summer by Hope Ryden, Paul Casale (Illustrator), Clarion Books, 1997. Alison spends her thirteenth summer on a ranch in Wyoming where she learns to ride a horse and where Kelly, who is blind, helps her overcome an old fear. age level 14 - 16, grades 9 -12

Bringing Nettie Back by Nancy Hope Wilson; Atheneum, 1992. Eleven-year-old Clara's life is enriched by her friendship with the vibrant Nettie, whose family is so different from her own, but then a serious brain condition threatens to change Nettie forever.
age level 10 -13, grade level 5th - 8th

Don't Call Me Marda by Sheila Kelly Welch; Our Child Press, 1991. This is a story about Marsha and her family. When her parents make the decision to adopt a 'developmentally delayed' daughter, Marsha finds that her world is abruptly changed, and not for the better. Written from Marsha's point of view, this charming story accurately reflects the adoption process and the feelings of those involved. The book is written for grade school children and, although I found it easy to read, it was engaging. age level 10 -13, grade level 5th - 8th
 

Christopher Reeve : Actor & Activist (Great Achievers ) by Margaret L. Finn, Margaret Sinn; Chelsea House Publishers, 1997. This is an admiring biography of filmdom's Superman, whose life was forever changed by the riding accident that left him a quadriplegic.
age level 11 - 13, grade level 6 - 9th

After the Dancing Days by Margaret I. Rostkowski; HarperTrophy;1988. A forbidden friendship with a badly disfigured soldier in the aftermath of World War I forces thirteen-year-old Annie to redefine the word "hero" and to question conventional ideas of patriotism.
age level 11 - 13, grade level 6 - 9th

Are You Alone on Purpose? by Nancy Werlin; Juniper Publishers; 1996. A good student, Alison is afraid to cause trouble because of her autistic twin brother; Harry, the school bully, cries out for attention from his withdrawn rabbi father. Alternating chapters show Alison's and Harry's separate worlds before they are brought together by an accident that leaves Harry in a wheelchair. Out of loneliness and anger, the two forge a friendship that changes both of them. age level 11 - 13, grade level 6 - 9th

Falcons Wing by Dawna Lisa Buchanan; Orchard Books, 1992. After her mother's death, twelve-year-old Bryn tries to make a new life when her taciturn father moves them to a rural community in Canada to live with her elderly aunt and her cousin Winnie, a loving girl with Down's syndrome.
age level 11 - 13, grade level 6 - 8th

Tru Confessions by Janet Tashjian; Henry Holt & Company, 1997. Twelve-year-old Tru wants two things more than anything else--to find a cure for her twin brother, Eddie, who is developmentally delayed, and to create her own television show. Written in the form of a computer diary by the sassy heroine, this refreshingly humorous novel sensitively portrays the struggles and triumphs of living with a sibling with special needs.
age level 11 - 14, grade level 6 - 8

Unjust Cause by Tehila Peterseil; Pitspopany Press, 1997. David's family cannot come to terms with his learning disability. Like thousands of other children with learning problems, David is made to feel foolish and inadequate. Then he enrolls in a Jewish Day School and his life is changed.
age level 11 - 14, grade level 6 - 8

 

CPON The Cerebral Palsy Outreach Network
Copyright 2017 | The Cerebral Palsy Outreach Network | Michigan State University | 909 Fee Road | Room B601 | East Lansing, MI 48824