The Running Dream
by Wendelin van Draanen
AR Level 4.1, 9 points
Schneider Family Book Award
The Schneider Family Book Award is give to authors and illustrators that artistically portray the experience of a person with a disability. Previous winners (I’ve read) include A Mango-Shaped Space, Fish in a Tree, and The War That Saved My Life. They’ve all been excellent books that really showed the difficulties of a person with a disability, as well as the resilience and determination of that person to be successful. The Running Dream is extremely deserving of this award.
Jessica is a junior in high school, and a record-setting runner on her track team. On her way home from a meet, her school bus is hit by an uninsured driver, and she loses her leg below the knee, crushing her dreams of running and earning a college scholarship. After suffering from depression and defeat, she realizes there is still hope, and she works harder than ever to get her dream back. In the meantime, she forms a bond with Rosa, and Jessica realizes there are more important things to focus on.
What I liked about this book was that it reminds the reader to be grateful. It took me as the reader through the pain and suffering and depression that would come after losing one’s leg, but then it also gave us hope and compassion. I appreciated that Jessica shared her passion and new ability to help someone else’s dream come true.
What I didn’t like about this book was that I never found out who the anonymous donor was! I really wanted to know if it was Vanessa’s mother, whom I assumed it was. I guess I’ll never know.
Book 38 of 40 (year 2)