Friday, May 12, 2023

Mine for Keeps

 


Mine for Keeps by Jean Little is a reissue of a beautiful, sensitive novel about a young girl facing the challenges of cerebral palsy. As vocabulary has changed regarding disabilities, this edition was updated to reflect that. Jean Little has a gift for communicating a child's world so authentically and I am so glad another generation can experience the beauty of her writing.

Sally had been boarding at a special school for children with disabilities when her parents made the decision to bring her home. Sally is faced with so many feelings: fear that she won't fit into her family; sadness over leaving the only friends she has known, and doubt that she will be accepted at her new, "regular" school.  

The first challenge for Sally is figuring out where she fits into her family. The attention she receives causes some envy from her siblings and everyone is learning to adjust to a new normal. What is really noteworthy is her supportive mother and father. They offer help when absolutely necessary but allow Sally to struggle a little to gain more independence.  Her second challenge is facing a new school and trying to find friends. She worries about what other children will think of her having to use crutches (and the fear and dread of misstepping and falling at school).  

A secondary part of the story is the friendship between Sally and a new pet. As she nurtures him, she grows in confidence and is determined to train him. With the help of some new friends, she faces this challenge with creativity and grit. This endeavor leads to helping another child who has struggles of his own. All in all, this was a thoroughly delightful, poignant story about the transformational influence of family and friends. 

When the book was written, mainstreaming children with disabilities was a significant shift in 
educational philosophy. Mine for Keeps offers not only a historical perspective on the integration of children back into their families and into schools, but also offers a very positive example of encouraging all children--regardless of their abilities--to reach their fullest potential. The feelings that Sally experiences are universal: wanting to fit in and be accepted for who we are and learning to grow through challenges with the help of caring friends and family. I highly recommend this wonderful book!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Mine for Keeps from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are solely mine.
 

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