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in their grandmother’s erratic memory. 14+

The Gift

James Riordan, Oxford, 978 0192 753601, £5.99 pbk

One twin is able-bodied, the other a wheelchair user. One twin is a gifted athlete, the other a poet. They also reveal other and more surprising skills. This book is memorable inter alia for the portrayal of a selfish and dishonest mother who exploits her children to cheat the benefit system and steal from shops, and for a rare positive portrayal of a special school. 11+


Sherry Ashworth, Simon & Schuster, 978 1416900948, £6.99 pbk

A teenage boy suffers a disabling accident on the rugby pitch. His girlfriend is determined to stand by him. His friend regards himself as responsible for the accident. The narrative is accurate and harrowing. 13+

Accidents of Nature

Harriet McBryde Johnson, Andersen, 978 1842707418, £5.99 pbk

Along with many other issues, this book deals with the sensitive area of disability and sexuality. A seventeen year old girl with cerebral palsy goes to summer camp. She is challenged to transform herself over the summer. It’s a painful read in parts but uplifting. 13+

Dreaming in Black and White

Reinhardt Jung, trans. Anthea Bell, Mammoth, 978 0749741570 pbk. OP but available from Amazon.

A young physically disabled boy has dreams that tell him what his life would have been

charts Libby’s journey and that of her family, through accurately recorded periods of rage and

despondency, to the point of equilibrium.

’ The book


in Nazi Germany. He is a candidate for the T4 programme, whereby Germany was to eradicate the disabled members of the population. While many children know of the Holocaust, few know that Hitler targeted the disabled as well as Jews, homosexuals and political opponents. 11 +

Before I Die

Jenny Downham, David Fickling Books, 978 1862304871, £6.99 pbk

This is a rite of passage book. The journey is undertaken by Tess, a young woman informed that she is terminally ill. She is far from a stereotypical victim of illness. Contrary to expectation, the book becomes a celebration of life as well as a prelude to death. 13+

Pig Heart Boy

Malorie Blackman, Corgi, 978 0552559799, £5.99 pbk

Thirteen year old Cameron needs a heart transplant if he is to live long enough to see his brother born. No human donor is on hand. He is given the heart of an animal. This book tells how he comes to terms with his new identity. His relationship with his over-protective mother is depicted in credible terms. 11+ n

Rebecca Butler writes and lectures on children’s literature. She is currently in the fourth year of a doctorate researching how children’s literature featuring wheelchair users can be used in the field of primary education.

Books for Keeps No.189 July 2011 11

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