Author: Carol Liu with Marybeth Sidoti Caldarone
Original Publication Date: 2010
Date I First Read: 2013
Basic Category: Juvenile Fiction (The main character is in fourth grade.)
Basic Summary: Arlene is starting the fourth grade . . . but over the summer, she has acquired new purple leg braces. She has a disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which makes her legs and hands weak. With the braces, she can walk better. Still she worries, so she concocts a plan to prove herself. First, she convinces the school principal that fourth graders should be able to run for student government, not just the fifth and sixth graders . . . and then Arlene starts campaigning hard! She learns a lot about her classmates in the meantime.
What, from this book, has stayed in my mind: Arlene’s speech in front of the student body just prior to the election.
What I Took Away From the Book: This is a book I would have loved to read when I was in third or fourth grade – maybe because Arlene is so unlike me at that age. Not because of physically abilities, but because of her outgoing personality. I would never imagine doing anything like she does in this book! Go, Arlene!
I also learned about Charot-Marie-Tooth. It is a neuropathy disorder that is usually inherited, but sometimes it just shows up (as in the case of Arlene and her mother, and in the case of the co-author Marybeth Sidoti Caldarone and her daughter.)
Rating (1-5 stars): 4.5