Take a Shelfie: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus | Mentoring in the Middle

Take a Shelfie: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Where did Dusti Bowling, the author, come up with this tremendously readable idea?!

Aven was born "unarmed."  At home in Kansas, with her friends, school, and family, she's just another kid.  Just one with no arms.  Her parents, who adopted her when she was two, won't let her feel sorry for herself for a minute.

But then, her parents are offered a job running the Stagecoach Pass, a dusty old theme park in Arizona that needs a new life, and suddenly, this "problem-solving ninja" is faced with leaving everything and everyone she knows.

It's hard enough to make new friends in school.  Try doing it when everyone is staring at you, wondering how you write, eat, and use the bathroom.

Dusti Bowling has taken an incredible topic, and armed with lots of understanding about how people live without arms, she turns Aven into an inspirational protagonist without making her seem too unrealistic.  Aven ultimately befriends two boys, each of whom has reasons for wanting to be left alone.

If I have a criticism, it is that Conner, the boy with Tourette's Syndrome, barks.  I understand that some people with Tourette's do that, but it is a far smaller percentage than those with less noticeable tics, and while I get why she used a characteristic that was more "out there," I personally, wish she hadn't.  Conner explains why he stays away from people and Aven hears him, but ultimately, she persuades him to push himself in ways he never has before.

I found this book hard to put down.  There are mysteries to be solved about a photograph, a necklace, and tarantulas, by this young woman and her friends. 

This is a great book for students who loved Melody in Out of My Mind, Auggie in Wonder, Alice in A Blind Guide to Stinkville, and Ally in Fish in a Tree.

I found this video about a family where the mother and son were born without arms.  It's worth watching to see how they navigate the world.  You could use this as an activating strategy before reading the book, or after, as a culminating activity.

If you'd like to purchase this book, click on the link below.  I am an Amazon affiliate, which means they give me a few pennies for this purchase, which does not come out of your cost.

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