Can you live in a world where you're an outlier? Dusti Bowling welcomes you in! | Mentoring in the Middle

Can you live in a world where you're an outlier? Dusti Bowling welcomes you in!

 Dusti Bowling drew on personal experience from family members and friends to write this book and her compassion, understanding, and matter-of-fact inclusion open doors for all students.Cover of the book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus 

Aven was born "unarmed."  At home in Kansas, with her friends, school, and family, she's 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 familiar and starting a new life herself.

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.

With lots of understanding about how people live without arms, she turns Aven into an inspirational protagonist without making her seem unrealistic.  Aven ultimately befriends two boys, each of whom has reasons for wanting to be left alone.

Conner has Tourette's Syndrome and he barks when he's nervous.  Some people with Tourette's do that, but it is a smaller percentage than those with less noticeable tics.  

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.  The book is hard to put down!  There are mysteries to be solved about a photograph, a necklace, and tarantulas.  Why not?!

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.

Watch this video about Sophi, a young girl who makes her way in the world much like Aven.

  • Would you like the novel study guide to go with the book?  Click here to take a closer look!

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