Have you been watching the Special Olympics? What an incredible group of athletes! It occurred to me that we might find some potential participants in young adult novels. Let’s see who might make it on the roster.
Like T. J. in Chris Crutcher’s Whale Talk (2002 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults), we see the potential in Chris Coughlin. After his training with the Cutter All Night Mermen, he’s ready to take on the the best.
Marcelo, title character of Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults), has a summer job working with ponies. His ability to connect with these animals comes much easier to him than connecting with people. With the right opportunities, Marcelo could demonstrate a natural horsemanship.
In Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults), Quincy is a girl who was terribly injured by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of six, when he hit her on the head with a brick. Understandably, Quincy is dealing with plenty of aggression that she might well work off on the soccer field. As Quincy demonstrates with her cooking, she’s got a good sense for recognizing patterns and envisioning different variations. Sounds like she’s make a good strategist!
Billy D, a boy with Down Syndrome in Erin Jade Lange’s Dead Ends, displays an exceptionally running ability, especially when he’s chased by his pseudo-caretaker, Dane. If Dane can stand the training, Billy D could be able to cover the requisite 13.1 miles.
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz is about the title character’s analytical expertise in crime solving. This exceptional ability to reason makes his adept at getting a basketball to swoosh through the hoop, but doesn’t help much when teammates push and jostle him. Work with Special Olympic trainers, however, could get Colin in fine shape to play on the team.
In Rules by Cynthia Lord, David’s father demonstrates how painful it can be for a boy with autism to learn a sport. David might do far better with someone who is trained to work with differently abled children. We’ll give him a few years with a good coach, and see if David can fill a spot on the softball team.
All icons obtained from the 2015 Special Olympics website: http://www.la2015.org/sports
-Diane Colson, currently reading an advanced readers copy of Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler.