There aren’t a lot of young adult books out there with disabled heroines.
When I was 14 I lived off stories written by Judy Blume and Kit Pearson. It was so important to have heroines that I could identify with. Young women that overcame teenage awkwardness to become strong, confident, empowered women. That’s why I was so thrilled to read Gadget Girl by Suzanne Kamata.
Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother’s muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity.
When Aiko’s mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She’d much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.
Gadget Girl began as a novella published in Cicada. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in Cicada over the past ten years. –Goodreads
If you know any young women who could use a role model to identify of the Hello God, It’s Me Margaret variety, I recommend this novella. If you’re a teacher or person who works with young women this is a great book.
Any recommendations for good children’s literature that’s inclusive? What have you guys been reading?
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