I am the type of reader who can not put a book down when it is one of those books that grabs me in after the first few pages. Needless to say, I was not very social yesterday with my family for Easter since I picked up The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen at Barnes and Noble yesterday morning, right when they opened at . I first heard about the book this weekend on Twitter and read a review that compared it to Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper which is one of my all time favorite chapter books. As soon as I heard this comparison, I had to get my hands on The Running Dream. As I walked out of B&N, I couldn’t wait to read the first few pages so I devoured the first chapter while sitting in my car. Throughout the day, I read every minute I could because I missed the characters and needed to find out what happened next in their lives.
Without spoiling the book, the main character is Jessica, a 16 year old who loves to run on her track team. After a tragic accident, she loses a leg and her whole world turns upside down. This tragedy, in turn, makes her a stronger person in many ways while going back to school and getting a prosthetic limb. As she faces challenges each day at school, she reaches out to a classmate, Rose, who has cerebral palsy. This friendship blossoms from the empathy they share for one another because they both want people to see them for who they are and not for the condition they have. Rose reminds me of Melody from Out of my Mind because they both are underestimated by others based solely on their outer appearance. The characters in this book are powerful and remind the reader that we can all make a difference and that with the right mindset, we can reach our goals in life!
I am eager to read this book aloud to my fifth graders as soon as we get back from our spring break. They loved Out of my Mind and were full of empathy for Melody and strong emotions for all the characters in that book. I know they are going to be entranced by The Running Dream and are going to fall in love with the characters as I did, awaiting their every move and decision.
This book left a last impression on me as a person, I’d love to hear what impression it has left on you or your students.
Happy Reading! :)