And another book I learned about at Texas Book Festival is A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern. In this novel, a young woman with a developmental disability, Belinda, is attacked at a high school football game. Lucas and Emily both witness the attack, but, frozen with confusion, fear and weakness, they do nothing to help her. The punishment for their failure to act is community service helping people very like Belinda. As they both spend time with these people who are a little different from them, they learn much about this group and about themselves.
This was a very sweet book that makes clear that just because someone has a disability doesn't mean they don't have a lot to teach the rest of us. I can read messages in this book that speak to the students that need a little extra help, the students who could be doing the helping, the young women who may think an attack is her own fault, the school staff who may need to be reminded of the rights of all students, and anyone entering into a new relationship. This is not just a book about a young woman with a disability. It is a book that has value for all of us. I would highly recommend this as a book to be added to that "Required Reading for all Teenagers" list I keep intending to create. Compassion, courage and acceptance are lessons we all need to remember.