Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One-Handed Catch by MJ Auch

Book Jacket

Not even losing his hand can keep Norm from trying out for the baseball team What would life be like with only one hand? That's exactly what eleven-year-old Norm finds out when he loses his left hand in an accident at his family's store. It's July 4, 1946. World War II has ended, and life is getting back to normal. But for Norm, the pressing question now is whether he will ever be able to play baseball again, or be an artist. It's up to Norm to find the strength to get beyond this roadblock and move on with his life. Set against the quickening pace of life after wartime constraints, this inspiring novel is about an optimist who overcomes his misfortune with discipline and humor--and fulfills his dreams in ways no one could have expected.
Norm is a fantastic kid.  I would adopt him, befriend him, whatever works best.  Despite loosing a hand--something which would validate a downward spiral of depression, I think we can all agree--he has so much optimism and ambition. 
The story isn't really about a boy who loses a hand.  It's about a boy living life, growing up and making friends, learning responsibility, and working for his dreams.  Doing it all one-handed is a challenge, but I love that it never defines him.  He creates art, enjoys eclairs, and complains about homework all the same. 
Norm and his family are really quite extraordinary.  The way the handle tragedy is believable and inspiring.  Maybe the fact that they live in the era of World War II makes them more used to amputations?  Or maybe they are just stronger than I am.  Probably both. 
Four out of five home runs.
Release Date:  September 2006
Reading Level: Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: CAUDILL

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