by Carol Cujec & Peyton Goddard
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Charity is an intelligent thirteen-year-old, but no one knows that because she is autistic and has difficulty communicating and controlling her body. Her parents love and support her, but have no more idea than anyone else how smart she really is. Forced to attend a special “school” that’s basically just a holding cell for kids with disabilities, Charity is regularly abused (locked in a closet) for misbehaving (not immediately following instructions – something she has no control over). When her mom learns what’s going on, she takes Charity out of that school and enrolls her in a public junior high that has excellent support for kids with disabilities. Charity is evaluated and assigned aides who help her develop strategies (physical and mental) to gain more body control and eventually communicate through a keyboard. It is incredibly gratifying to see Charity break out of the prison she’s been living in her entire life, connect with her family, and even make friends. Unfortunately, she faces a lot of skepticism from the school administration, students, and their parents who doubt her and even bully her. Based on the life/true story of Peyton Goddard. Insightful, infuriating, and ultimately inspiring. For middle school and up.
Reviewed by YA Librarian