Secrets Aren't (Always) for Keeps: Featuring Jennifer Hauser

Barbara Aiello, Author, Loel M. Barr, Illustrator, Jeffrey Shulman, With
Barbara Aiello, Author, Loel M. Barr, Illustrator, Jeffrey Shulman, With Twenty-First Century Books (CT) $13.98 (48p) ISBN 978-0-941477-01-7
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-8050-3069-3
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These first installments of The Kids on the Block series are intended to teach able and disabled children about the differences and similarities they share. The first three books involve children in the same elementary school class. Each is a first-person narrative of striving and accomplishment into which methods of coping are woven. In Business , Renaldo, who is blind, creates an exciting if unprofitable business making cards that acknowledge the ``step'' prefix many contemporary families use; in Your Turn , Mark, who has cerebral palsy and rides in a souped-up wheelchair, reports on sports for the school newspaper; in Secrets , Jennifer, who is a learning-disabled child, meets a pen pal from Australia who uses different phrases of speech just as she uses different tricks to help her learn. Each book poses experiments for readers; each answers logical questions clearly; in each, the child leads a full life. In Friends for Life , the pattern changes: Amy tells the story of a fight to save school aide Natalie's video club sponsorship job when the community learns that she has AIDS. At a heated meeting, Amy introduces an interview the club has taped with Natalie that turns the tide. A talkiness in all four books sometimes confuses the stories or drags them out, but the points come through nevertheless. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)
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