Book Discussion Club
JCCNV Special Needs Committee Presents:
Book Club: Disabilities Education, Stories of Inspiration, and More!
The JCCNV’s Special Needs Committee has launched a book club focusing on books about special needs, non-fictional stories of inspiration, or books related to disabilities to broaden our knowledge. The book club meetings are held at the JCCNV every six weeks from 6:30pm–7:30pm prior to the special needs committee meetings. For more information, please email Jean Gurman at firstname.lastname@example.org, for details and check our website often for upcoming meeting date!
Next meeting: Tuesday, April 8, 6:30pm
Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience by Eileen Cronin
A gorgeously crafted memoir about resilience, family, and forging your own way, by a woman born without legs.
At the age of three, Eileen Cronin first realized that only she did not have legs. Her boisterous Catholic family accepted her situation as "God's will," treating her no differently than her ten siblings, as she "squiddled" through their 1960s Cincinnati home. But starting school, even wearing prosthetics, Cronin had to brave bullying and embarrassing questions. Thanks to her older brother's coaching, she handled a classmate's playground taunts with a smack from her lunchbox. As a teen, thrilled when boys asked her out, she was confused about what sexuality meant for her. She felt most comfortable and happiest relaxing and skinny dipping with her girlfriends, imagining herself "an elusive mermaid." The cause of her disability remained taboo, however, even as she looked toward the future and the possibility of her own family.
In later years, as her mother battled mental illness and denied having taken the drug thalidomide--known to cause birth defects--Cronin felt apart from her family. After the death of a close brother, she turned to alcohol. Eventually, however, she found the strength to set out on her own, volunteering at hospitals and earning a PhD in clinical psychology.
Reflecting with humor and grace on her youth, search for love, and quest for answers, Cronin spins a shimmering story of self-discovery and transformation.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Following the book club, the special needs committee will meet from 7:30pm–9pm. If you are interested in joining the special needs committee, please contact Jessica Tischler, (703) 537-3031 at Jessica.Tischler@jccnv.org.