Recommended for ages 12-16
Micah is a legally blind 8th grader. He’s excited to have made the junior goalball team, but he’s got some stuff going on that is stressing him out. For starters, his utevitis is flaring up again – it’s the degenerative eye condition that’s taking his sight, and hurts like crazy. His parents want to get him a guide dog, which rankles him because he feels like it’s a decision they’re making for him, and he doesn’t want to feel dependent on the dog. Finally, a new player joins the goalball team, and he’s good. Really good. Micah’s frustration shows on the goalball court, and almost costs him his spot on the team, and some friendships. Luckily, he’s got a lot of support in his corner, from his parents to the specialist, Cam, who’s helping him work out walking with a cane and talking out his feelings.
This is another Hi-Lo book from Lorimer, and it’s a great choice middle schoolers and high schoolers. We’ve got a lead character who works with his disability, and he’s a jock on top of it! Ms. Whyte takes the time to explain and narrate goalball the way Mike Lupica writes about sports, so readers will discover a new sport and learn that disabilities are obstacles that can be overcome. We get insight into navigating school and life for a kid with a disability, and it’s presented realistically, as empowering as it is frustrating for Micah. Sports gives most kids confidence, and we see that here, illustrated with Micah’s love for goalball.
This is a great summer reading choice that works nicely with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks intiative. As with other Lorimer Hi-Lo selections, it’s age appropriate and offers a deeper read, ready for reluctant and struggling readers who have worked on their skills and are ready for the next step.