Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On Choosing Not to Be Offended

In between a thousand other things, I'm preparing for some upcoming presentations, including those scheduled for AASL and NCTE in November. And then yesterday, as I was reading -- and loving -- the new middle grade novel INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CATCUS by Dusti Bowling, I found a passage I can't wait to include in at least one of my presentations.

You've got to read this book! It features "Armless Aven," who was born without arms and has such a positive outlook -- being armless isn't going to stop her from doing ANYTHING. I love it!

And because I believe one key to a more loving, tolerant world is to give people the benefit of the doubt, not take things so personally, choose NOT to be offended, I dog-eared a particular passage from a scene that includes Aven and her very cool mom. Thanks to Dusti for giving permission for me to share it. When you're done here, go forth and find thyself a copy of the book! You will love it.

My eyes filled with tears. “When Connor was here yesterday... he called me disabled.”

Mom scrunched her eyebrows “Well...okay. Did that make you angry?”



“Because,” I said, trying to hold back more tears. I know I am. I don't need other people telling me I am and telling me what I can or can't do.”

“I'm sure he didn't say it to hurt you.”

“I don't ever want to be seen just as a disabled person,” I said. “I don't want to just be Aven Green, that girl with no arms. I don't want to be labeled like that.”

“I think Connor would be the last person to label you like that. You shouldn't get so offended if someone calls you disabled, Aven. You do have extra challenges that others don't have. It does take you longer to do most tasks. Your movements are limited. There's a big difference between saying you're disabled and saying you're incapable.”

“Well, he tried to say I was incapable of becoming an astronaut.”

 She laughed and stood up off the bed and faced me. “I think it would be extra challenging for you, but I don't think it's impossible, not with robotic arms and all that.” She did a robot dance to show off what I assumed were some ridiculous robot arms that would never be of any use to an astronaut. “I don't think anything's impossible for you,” she said as she continued her display.”



  1. Oh, I love the Mom in this book. Heck, I love the ideas presented in the book as well. Thanks for the post.

  2. I stopped before I even finished your post to request this book. I've heard about it several times, so I can't wait to get it. Wishing I could attend NCTE to hear your presentation. Planning on 2018! Hope you'll be there.


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