Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the jacket flap:
Have you ever had trouble figuring out a tip at a restaurant? Or following directions to a new place? For Samantha Abeel, who has a math-related learning disability called dyscalculia, each of these seemingly simple acts can feel next to impossible.
In her beautiful and haunting memoir, Samantha Abeel describes in evocative detail how her life was affected by her learning disability before and after she was diagnosed. In seventh grade she struggled wit the pressures of junior high, from balancing schoolwork, to remembering locker combinations, to explaining her difficulties with math to new teachers who couldn't understand why a "good" student like Samantha wasn't excelling. Though signs of a learning disability were there all her life, she was not diagnosed until she was thirteen years old. My Thirteenth Winter, Samantha Abeel's honest, hopeful autobiography, is an inspiring story of courage and strength.

Samantha truly has a gift with words and her narrative of memories interspersed with reflection draws you in and carries you along. I was moved to tears for her struggles and the compassion that she felt for others, as well as for the countless students who move through our classroom who struggle and no one ever knows.

This is a book that should be read by parents, teachers, and teens. Samantha recognizes how fortunate she was to have parents who where able to push through the system and get her the help she needed. She had break-throughs and relapses. The story is truly one of hope.

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