It's always good to end the week on a positive note. Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives. We have a choice. Choose positive. Choose to celebrate. I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all the other celebrations HERE
This week I am celebrating what this year's Schneider Family Award winners mean to me.
One of the winners, Fish In A Tree, made me very excited. The story is a special one. When I first heard Lynda Mullaly Hunt talk about Ally and her story, it was one of those moments where the rest of the room just goes away and you only pay attention to who is talking. To listen to Lynda tell Ally's story is special because it reaches your core. It's a personal story for Lynda, and you know she is absolutely speaking from her heart when she tells it. I've had the pleasure of being in Lynda's company several times this past year and I'm so happy to see Lynda and Ally get the recognition they deserve.
Now, as many of you know, my daughter has a physical disability. She has a limb length discrepancy which has her currently wearing a six inch shoe lift. She will be undergoing her next limb lengthening surgery this summer, which will get her about 4 inches of new bone growth. She has a fused ankle and no hip, as well. The ankle is a permanent situation but one day she'll have a hip made for her. As difficult the situation, it is a part of her life, but it is not her life. She leads the life of a regular tween. She drives her parents nuts. She loves to be with her friends. She has her own passions and hobbies. Which is why the next two 2016 Schneider Award winners meant a lot to me.
I was also thrilled to see Kimberly Brubaker Bradley win a Schneider for The War That Saved My Life. Ada's story was fantastically written and bits and pieces of her story hit home. Not because they were similar, but so completely opposite. The passion the story brought out in me and my daughter - how could she be treated like that? How could the mom be so awful? How could you mistake a physical disability with a cognitive impairment? Wonderful conversations I had with students and my own child around this book. Because of the life my daughter lives, the thought of being isolated and not allowed to do things does not make sense to her. But it was also interesting to her to see Ada work so hard to do some things - the perseverance was a good lesson. And she agreed that I'm not like the mom in the story at all, phew!
But the book that caused me to jump up and down with joy when I heard it announced was Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls. When I read the book last January, I immediately shared it with my daughter. We read it together and talked about what it meant, how she saw herself in the book. In fact we co-wrote the Nerdy Book Club post about the book. It was the first time my daughter expressed how she felt about having a disability - how she knows people look at her but she would rise above it. The words in the book, "being disabled does not mean being unable" are words that I feel she exemplifies. She lives this motto day in and day out. I will always hold this book close to my heart.
And just a quick celebration I have to mention in light of this post and what it means to us. My daughter, who has a definite disability, just made a state cut for Wisconsin swimming this past weekend. She will participate in the Wisconsin state 12 and under short course championships this February. Many able bodied swimmers don't get a state cut. It's an awesome accomplishment.
If you want to know more about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and his foundation, Emmanuel's Dream, click here.
To learn more about the Schneider Family Award, click here.
Thanks for celebrating this awesome award with us!