[Source: The Daily Dose – The Blog of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation]
by Rob Gerth
I read a wonderful new book last week to my 8-year-old son that we both loved — Mystic. It’s about a teen girl who is living with paralysis — Amelia and her best friend — Greg. They start out in this world, but are quickly and literally sucked up into a strange land where Amelia can walk.
No spoilers here, butt let me say, this adventure is an adventure, it is not about a girl who couldn’t, then could walk. It’s part of her make-up and she struggles with both being in a chair and being out, but the story focuses on courage and friendship and the true meaning of family.
I’ve read a lot of these, what my son’s teacher calls “chapter books,” over the past couple of years. This one stands out for being something I could really enjoy too. The characters ring true, are well developed, and grow over the course of time. It had “Aha!” style twists and turns that neither I nor my son saw coming. It’s very witty with a lot of fun cultural references aimed right at kids, and don’t forget the bad guy. For my son, that is the first question, “Does it have a bad guy?” Mystic does have a nice big bad guy with lots of evil henchmen. (That is the second question, “Does he have evil henchmen?”)
There are good guys too. A nice mix lead by Amelia’s protector in Mystic, a giant furry lion-man of a creature, who you’ll just want to hug.
In the end, Amelia is faced with an incredibly tough choice. Before you read it, close your book and ask your child (and yourself) what he or she would do. My son and I came up with different answers and they has lead to some fun discussions.
I’m proud to say the author K.D. Rausin has been writing pieces for us on the Reeve website for years. Her daughter, Elle, lives with paralysis. Their family help get the laws changed in Florida allowing Elle to compete on her high school track team. She’s in college now, pursuing her collegiate racing career.
I hope you enjoy the book. You can get it here.