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The Running Dream
Cover of The Running Dream
The Running Dream
The acclaimed author of Flipped delivers a powerful and healing story that’s perfect for anyone who’s ever thought that something was impossible. Readers will revel in the story of a...
The acclaimed author of Flipped delivers a powerful and healing story that’s perfect for anyone who’s ever thought that something was impossible. Readers will revel in the story of a...
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Description-

  • The acclaimed author of Flipped delivers a powerful and healing story that’s perfect for anyone who’s ever thought that something was impossible. Readers will revel in the story of a girl who puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before—after she’s told she’ll never run again.

    Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?
    As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.
    With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her
    Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1 Chapter 1

    My life is over.

    Behind the morphine dreams is the nightmare of reality.

    A reality I can't face.

    I cry myself back to sleep wishing, pleading, praying that I'll wake up from this, but the same nightmare always awaits me.

    "Shhh," my mother whispers. "It'll be okay." But her eyes are swollen and red, and I know she doesn't believe what she's saying.

    My father—now that's a different story. He doesn't even try to lie to me. What's the use? He knows what this means.

    My hopes, my dreams, my life . . . it's over.

    The only one who seems unfazed is Dr. Wells. "Hello there, Jessica!" he says. I don't know if it's day or night. The second day or the first. "How are you feeling?"

    I just stare at him. What am I supposed to say, "Fine"?

    He inspects my chart. "So let's have a look, shall we?"

    He pulls the covers off my lap, and I find myself face to face with the truth.

    My right leg has no foot.

    No ankle.

    No shin.

    It's just my thigh, my knee, and a stump wrapped in a mountain of gauze.

    My eyes flood with tears as Dr. Wells removes the bandages and inspects his handiwork. I turn away, only to see my mother fighting back tears of her own. "It'll be okay," she tells me, holding tight to my hand. "We'll get through this."

    Dr. Wells is maddeningly cheerful. "This looks excellent, Jessica. Nice vascular flow, good color . . . you're already healing beautifully."

    I glance at the monstrosity below my knee.

    It's red and bulging at the end. Fat staples run around my stump like a big ugly zipper, and the skin is stained dirty yellow.

    "How's the pain?" he asks. "Are you managing okay?"

    I wipe away my tears and nod, because the pain in my leg is nothing compared to the one in my heart.

    None of their meds will make that one go away.

    He goes on, cheerfully. "I'll order a shrinker sock to control the swelling. Your residual limb will be very tender for a while, and applying the shrinker sock may be uncomfortable at first, but it's important to get you into one. Reducing the swelling and shaping your limb is the first step in your rehabilitation." A nurse appears to re-bandage me as he makes notes in my chart and says, "A prosthetist will be in later today to apply it."

    Tears continue to run down my face.

    I don't seem to have the strength to hold them back.

    Dr. Wells softens. "The surgery went beautifully, Jessica." He says this like he's trying to soothe away reality. "And considering everything, you're actually very lucky. You're alive, and you still have your knee, which makes a huge difference in your future mobility. BK amputees have it much easier than AK amputees."

    "BK? AK?" my mom asks.

    "I'm sorry," he says, turning to my mother. "Below knee. Above knee. In the world of prosthetic legs it's a critical difference." He prepares to leave. "There will obviously be an adjustment period, but Jessica is young and fit, and I have full confidence that she will return to a completely normal life."

    My mother nods, but she seems dazed. Like she's wishing my father was there to help her absorb what's being said.

    Dr. Wells flashes a final smile at me. "Focus on the positive, Jessica. We'll have you up and walking again in short order."

    This from the man who sawed off my leg.

    He whooshes from the room leaving a dark, heavy cloud of the unspoken behind.

    My mother smiles and coos reassuringly, but she knows what I'm thinking.

    What does it matter?

    I'll never run again.



    Chapter 2

    I am a runner.

    ...

About the Author-

  • WENDELIN VAN DRAANEN recently ran her first marathon. She was struck by the people with physical handicaps who were also running and was inspired to write this book about overcoming adversity with courage and grace and strength.
    Van Draanen was a teacher for many years before turning to writing full-time. She is the author of many beloved and award-winning books. For middle graders she’s written Swear to Howdy, and the Sammy Keyes mystery series. For teens and tweens, there’s Flipped, The Running Dream, Confessions of a Serial Kisser and Runaway. And for younger readers, check out The Shredderman quartet and the Gecko and Sticky. Wendelin Van Draanen lives in Central California with her husband and two sons. Find her on the web at WendelinVanDraanen.com or on Twitter: @WendelinVanD.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 14, 2011
    When track star Jessica loses her leg in a school bus accident, she is devastated that she will never run again. After weaning herself off painkillers (upon which she's become dependent) and learning to walk with crutches, she returns to school at the urging of her supportive best friend. When her track coach shows her videos of amputees running on prostheses, she's riveted at the thought of reclaiming her passion—if, that is, her team can raise the $20,000 needed to buy the leg. A tender subplot about Jessica's friendship with a girl with cerebral palsy seems scripted to underscore the message about seeing beyond disabilities ("Don't sum up the person based on what you see, or what you don't understand; get to know them," Jessica says). But Van Draanen sensitively conveys Jessica's struggles, from getting into the shower to her fear that no guys will be attracted to her. Jessica's gradual acceptance of her new life's limitations and her discovery of its unanticipated gifts should satisfy readers, who will root for her as she learns to run again. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2011

    Gr 7 Up-Jessica has run her personal best at a track meet-then there's a tragic bus accident and the high school junior loses her leg as well as her future dreams. From waking up in the hospital and coping with the trauma, to her return home, then school, she tries to grab her life back. On one level the story offers inspiration to those dealing with physical changes in their own lives and the stages of recovery, fight, survival, and victory as Jessica reaches deep to push past her wall of self-pity and loathing, and moves beyond the "finish line." On a deeper level, there is her blind discrimination toward a fellow classmate who has cerebral palsy. Rosa is hard to understand and easy to ignore. She is anchored to a wheelchair. Jessica, encumbered by her crutches and her tender "stump," is seated in the back of the class, out of the way, next to Rosa. She learns that the girl is smart, wise, and friendly. They pass notes and share lunch. Rosa writes, "I wish people would see me and not my condition." When Jessica is running again-on a specially engineered prosthesis-she challenges herself to help her friend be seen. How Jessica orchestrates putting Rosa in the forefront of a community race and pushing her wheelchair across a finish line is a study in faith and determination. Readers will cheer for Jessica's recovery and be reminded to recognize people for their strengths and not overlook them because of their disabilities.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Katrin Green, Paralympic Gold Medalist "I read The Running Dream on my way to the World Championships. I nearly missed my flight for reading it and inhaled it before I touched down. It's a truly touching story that feels very real."
  • Jordan Hasay, four-time USA Track & Field Jr. Women's Champion "This heart-touching story is a helpful reminder that we must appreciate each day and each blessing. When I go around "Rigor Mortis Bend" and think of Jessica, my legs do not feel nearly as tired anymore."
  • Booklist "Van Draanen's extensive research into both running and amputees pays dividends--readers will truly feel what's it like to walk (or run) a mile (or 10) in Jessica's shoes."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Inspirational. The pace of Van Draanen's prose matches Jessica's at her swiftest. Readers will zoom through the book just as Jessica blazes around the track. A lively and lovely story."
  • The Horn Book Magazine "Van Draanen delivers an abundance of interesting medical detail and emotional authenticity in this accessible and inspirational novel."

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    Random House Children's Books
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