by Eric Walters, published 2000
“You know, it wasn’t so much about being in the wheelchair that I learned about, but how people reacted to me being in the chair. People treat you different. They act like you’re…you’re…” “Stupid!” David snapped.”
What a courageous book for someone to write. And what a perfect book for middle school boys. The author of this children’s book is a middle school teacher, and clearly knows the issues boys are up against, especially the issue of bad company. In this compelling book, I was never quite sure if the main protagonist was going to revert to his old bad habits and friends, which would get him in lots of trouble, or, stick to a change. That would be exciting enough. However, add to that mixture a new friend who is confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk, and hell-bent on self-destruction from his own anger. What a combination.
Throughout the book, I felt like I was right with the mind and emotions of teen boys, as they navigate the tricky thing called life. The book is not sentimental, nor sensational, but just honest exploration of how to be a good friend, and how to overcome the stuff life throws at us.
I loved this children’s book. It has won many Canadian awards, and the USA could pay more attention! I give it the LitKidz award of the day! great for any boy in middle school, or even perhaps a bit younger. The author Eric has also founded an orphanage in Africa that’s worth checking out: Creation of Hope