The Running Dream
Wow, what an uplifting read! Jessica is a star runner on her high school track team who loses her right leg after a truck hauling a load of wrecked cars crashes into the school bus she’s riding. Jessica struggles to come to terms with losing her leg. She has loved running since the third grade. She loves feeling the wind blow across her cheeks and hair as she runs. However, after the accident she tries to imagine her life without running in it. Sometimes to escape the pain and a life of disability, Jessica even wishes that she was Lucy, the girl who died in the crash.
When Jessica returns to school she feels awkward, like the elephant in the room. She is overloaded with missing assignments. In math class, she is assigned to put her wheelchair next to Rosa, the special-needs girl who sits at the back of the classroom in her motorized wheelchair. Jessica learns that Rosa has been in a wheelchair her whole life because she was born with cerebral palsy. Rosa is a whiz at math and volunteers to help Jessica catch up on her assignments and learn the new concepts. Finally, after struggling to understand the math Jessica takes Rosa up on her offer.
Meanwhile, the track team who still considers Jessica a teammate makes plans to raise twenty-thousand dollars to buy her a prosthetic running leg. The track team holds bake sales and car washes to raise the money. I don’t want to ruin the ending so the summary of this book ends right now.
This book is great for students and everyone and teaches the importance of being thankful for all the good things we have like health, family, and friends. This book teaches a great lesson about seeing a person for who they are, not the condition they have. Overcoming struggles and obstacles in one’s life is very difficult, but this book shows that with perseverance and the help of others anything is possible.
LANGUAGE
There is no offensive language in this book.

VIOLENCE
None

SEXUAL CONTENT
None

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
None

WHAT TO DISCUSS
Do you ever judge people for the way they look or because they act different than others?

What was the toughest obstacle you have ever overcome in your life and how did you do it?

Is it important for you to be thankful for each and every day of your life?

Could Jessica ever have reached her goals without the help of others? Why is it important for you to help others?

Review by John McClellan

(father of three boys, 7th grade teacher)

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