Normal Public Library Teens

Schneider Family Book Award

The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

2011 Winner – Middle School

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

Jeffrey isn’t a little boy with cancer anymore. He’s a teen who’s in remission, but life still feels fragile. The aftereffects of treatment have left Jeffrey with an inability to be a great student or to walk without limping. His parents still worry about him. His older brother, Steven, lost it and took off to Africa to be in a drumming circle and “find himself.” Jeffrey has a little soul searching to do, too, which begins with his escalating anger at Steven, an old friend who is keeping something secret, and a girl who is way out of his league but who thinks he’s cute. (M, S)

2011 Winner – Teen

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig. If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits. But how can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf? Sure, Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb. (S)

2010 Winner – Middle School

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world.  Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.  Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird – her name is Rebecca – could be his first real friend.  But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is. (M)

2010 Winner – Teen

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Marcelo Sandoval hears music no one else can hear – part of the autism-like impairment no doctor has been able to identify – and he’s always attended a special school where his differences have been protected. But the summer after his junior year, his father demands that Marcelo work in his law firm’s mailroom in order to experience “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file – a picture of a girl with half a face – that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight. (S)

2009 Winner – Middle School

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie’s mother has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, her way or no way. All-or-nothing never adds up to normal, and it can’t bring Addie all to home, where she wants to be with her half sisters. But Addie never stops hoping that one day, maybe, she’ll find normal. (M)

2009 Winner – Teen

Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen

Twitch, Jerk, Freak—Sam Carrier has been called them all. Because of his Tourette’s syndrome, Sam is in near constant motion with tics and verbal outbursts. So, of course, high school is nothing but torment.  And home isn’t much better with his domineering stepfather reminding him that the only person who was more useless than Sam was his dead father, Jack. But then an unexpected turn of events unearths the truth about his father. And suddenly Sam doesn’t know who he is, or even where he’ll go next. What he does know is that the only girl in the world who can make him happy and nervous at the same time is everywhere he turns…and he’d give anything just to be still. (S)

2008 Winner – Middle School

Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Josie Wyatt knows what it means to be different. Her family’s small farmhouse seems to shrink each time another mansion grows up behind it. She lives with her career-obsessed mom and opinionated Gran, but has never known her father. Then there’s her cerebral palsy: even if Josie wants to forget that she was born with a disability, her mom can’t seem to let it go. Yet when a strange new boy—Jordan—moves into one of the houses nearby, he seems oblivious to all the things that make Josie different. Before long, Josie finds herself reaching out for something she’s never really known: a friend…and possibly more. (M)

2008 Winner – Teen

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she’s been deaf since the age of six, Joey’s mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails. Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, Charlie’s and Sukari’s choices begin to narrow—until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt. (M, S)

2007 Winner – Middle School

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public” – in order to head off David’s embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal? (M)

2007 Winner – Teen

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

Two years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is home in Austin, Texas, trying to turn his life around. But it’s hard when you have a record and everyone expects the worst from you. The only person who believe in Armpit is Ginny, his ten-year-old neighbor, who has cerebral palsy. Together, they are learning to take small steps. Armpit seems to be on the right path until X-Ray, a buddy from Camp Green Lake, comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme. X-Ray’s plan leads to a chance encounter with teen pop sensation Kaira DeLeon, and suddenly Armpit’s life spins out of control. Only one thing is certain: he’ll never be the same again. (M, S)

2006 Winner – Middle School

Tending to Grace by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Lenore is Cornelia’s mother—and Cornelia’s fix-up project. What does it matter that Cornelia won’t talk to anyone and is always stuck in the easiest English class at school, even though she’s read more books than anyone else? She feels strong in the fixing. She cooks vegetable soup so Lenore will eat something other than Ring Dings; she lures her out of bed with strong coffee and waffles. She looks after the house when Lenore won’t get out of bed at all. So when Lenore and her boyfriend take off for Vegas leaving Cornelia behind with eccentric Aunt Agatha, all Cornelia can do is wait for her to come back. Aunt Agatha sure doesn’t want any fixing.  Maybe this time it’s Cornelia who could use it? (M)

2006 Winner – Teen

Under the Wolf, Under the Dog by Adam Rapp

Steve Nugent is in Burnstone Grove, a facility for kids who are either addicts or have tried to commit suicide. But Steve doesn’t fit in either group, and he used to go to the gifted school. So why is he in Burnstone Grove? Keeping a journal, Steve tries to figure out who he is by examining who he was. (S)

2005 Winner – Middle School

Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, and her status at school as “nobody special.” But according to Gram, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. And with Gram and her little brother, Owen, life at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho in California is happy and peaceful…until their mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover and proclaim who she really is. (M)

2005 Winner – Teen

My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha Abeel

Samantha Abeel couldn’t tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter – and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems – and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha’s life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she’d ever thought possible – and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think. (M, S)

2004 Winner – Middle School

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Mia Winchell seems to be a typical teenager, but she’s keeping a huge secret from everyone who knows her: sounds, numbers, and words appear in color for her. Mia has synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. When trouble in school forces Mia to reveal her condition, her friends and family can’t relate to her, and she must look to herself to develop an understanding and appreciation for her gift. (M)

2004 Winner – Teen

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Bobby Phillips is an average fifteen-year-old boy. Until the morning he wakes up and can’t see himself in the mirror. Not blind, not dreaming—Bobby is just plain invisible. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to Bobby’s new condition; even his dad the physicist can’t figure it out. For Bobby that means no school, no friends, no life. He’s a missing person. Then he meets Alicia. She’s blind, and Bobby can’t resist talking to her, trusting her. But people are starting to wonder where Bobby is. Bobby knows that his invisibility could have dangerous consequences for his family and that time is running out. He has to find out how to be seen again—before it’s too late. (M, S)

 
 

Grade Level Interest
M Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 
 
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