NOTE: Books mentioned in Quest usually can be ordered through local bookstores or online. Reviewed books are not available through MDA.
Weakling Willie by Sabrina Low-DuMond, 23 pages, 2008, $16.95, PublishAmerica, www.publishamerica. com
Sabrina Low-DuMond wrote her book, Weakling Willie, in order to help children ages 4 to 6 understand muscle disease. She was inspired when her son, Zack, 13, was teased at school for using a rolling backpack because of scoliosis and muscle weakness due to Pompe disease (acid maltase deficiency).
“There are a lot of kids that make an automatic assumption that where there’s a muscle disease, there are mental challenges, and that’s not always the case,” Low-DuMond says.
Low-DuMond’s young Willie Weetle, a rhinoceros beetle with weak muscles, illustrates her point as he wonders and worries about why he’s not as strong as other beetles his age. He endures teasing by those who don’t understand his weakness, but in the end he learns — and teaches others — that weak muscles don’t have to hold anyone back from living a good life and making a positive difference in the world.
“There are no accidents, and with purpose comes opportunity,” Low-Dumond affirms. “Weakling Willie helps differently-abled children understand the great value and purpose they bring to the world, and helps other children understand what muscle disease is like.”
Weakling Willie can be ordered from Amazon.com, Borders.com, Target.com, or from local bookstores. All proceeds from the book will benefit MDA, the Acid Maltase Deficiency Association and United Pompe Foundation.
Our Mansion on Anglin’ Road by Arthur Dale Likens, 2008, 248 pages, $14,99, Tate Publishing, www.tatepublishing.com, (405) 376-4900
This poignant tale of understanding, compassion and acceptance within both a family and a community draws from the author’s Ohio childhood. The novel focuses on a typical family, whose eldest son has muscular dystrophy, living in a typical community. Of course, the boy’s disability poses problems for family and community, but it never becomes the focus, as other problems take precedence. This family story should appeal to both children and adults.
The Wheelchair by Elisa Linovitz Snader, 2008, 20 pages, $12.50, AuthorHouse, www.authorhouse.com, (888) 519-5121
First-grade teacher Snader collaborated with illustrator Kimberly Robb, who has muscular dystrophy, to create this children’s book. A simple story about a boy who sees a girl in a wheelchair and is frightened at first, the book helps young readers get comfortable with the presence of wheelchair users in their neighborhoods and communities. They grow up knowing that using a wheelchair is normal, not different or frightening.
A New Epoch by P.A. Meley, 2007, 78 pages, $14.99, PublishAmerica, www.publishamerica.com, (301) 695-1707
This science fiction novel, written by an author with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, is about a family of Different people trying to live in a society that emphasizes Sameness. The family struggles to maintain its core identity as Different (including a disability), while maintaining the façade of Sameness, in a society where being different is dangerous and threatening.