CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 8. . . .October 21, 2011
Addy’s mother has always told her that she is special, special because she is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids. Addy doesn’t resent her hearing problem because it really isn’t a problem. With hearing aids, she can hear very well, and her friends envy her because she can turn her hearing aids off if she doesn’t want to hear something, especially when her mother is going into her usual dramatic presentation of how she found out that her young daughter could not hear. It also helps when she doesn’t want to hear what her teacher is saying. Addy is surprised when she finds that Sierra, a new girl in her class, is also hard of hearing and uses an implant for hearing. Addy does not seem to be able to make friends with her and is perhaps a little jealous of all the attention Sierra is getting from classmates.
Addy understands why her mother feels she is special, but, now in Grade 6, Addy wants to be special for something she can do, an accomplishment rather than a condition. Her best friend, Lucy, is being forced by her mother to join a running club. Lucy’s mother is very athletic, but Lucy has never been and isn’t even interested. Addy promises to join and run with Lucy. That is the point when Addy finds that she is an excellent runner. Her worst nightmares, two girls from her class who have bullied her from Kindergarten, are also in the running club, and they choose to make school life as miserable for Addy and Lucy as possible. But their actions only spur Addy on, and running truly gives her the special activity she has been looking for. She is now known for something other than being the hard of hearing girl in school. She also learns that she might be wrong about Sierra. And perhaps, best of all, Addy finds the confidence to tell her mother to stop telling her “hard of hearing” story to everyone she meets. Addy finally finds her own voice.
Author Debby Waldman, has developed a main character who is truly believable. Addy has a somewhat caustic sense of humour, but she keeps her many thoughts to herself. Debby lets readers get to know Addy by allowing readers access to her constant diatribe of thoughts on every event in the story. Hilarious! After working with this age level for many years, it is clear to me that author Waldman understands young people very well. Addy’s Race is a story that will capture a young reader’s interest and keep it because the story is so true to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of kids in upper elementary and middle school.
Elaine Fuhr, a retired teacher from Alberta, resides in Victoria, BC.
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