I love reading with kids! I cherish the intimate experience that reading together creates in a class, especially when the text asks the reader to look critically at the world in new ways. Recently, I was invited into some classrooms to read Nick Springer on the Move, a book that I wrote to create a new narrative about amputees.
Because young people are so curious about the world, they welcomed Nick’s story into their lives. They sat in silence and with concern on their faces when Nick got sick with meningococcal meningitis. They empathized and tried to imagine how Nick would redefine his life as an amputee. They were filled with hope as they watched Nick relearn how to navigate his teenage life, how to drive, how to play wheelchair rugby, and how to achieve his sports dreams. Then, they cheered as Nick won a gold medal with Team USA in the Paralympic Games.
Their rollercoaster of emotions as I read was everything, Chris Kuster, the illustrator, and I had imagined would happen when young people were presented with an inclusive wheelchair sports story. But when I shared more information about how Chris created every image with his mouth due to paralysis and explained how few children’s books feature people living with disabilities, the students had powerful reflections and comments including new perspectives on all of the abilities within disabled people. Here are some of their own thoughts and images about Nick Springer on the Move.
I hope Nick Springer on the Move finds its way to the bookshelf in your home, local library, or classroom, and you get to share it with a young reader. If it does, check out these resources to support your discussion and let me know what you think. Keep believing in the Possible!