Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School – Book Review

I was recently contacted by one of the authors of Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School and asked to review the book. The authors are Melissa and Eva Shang. I am not being paid to give this review. The paperback version is selling on Amazon for $6.29.

I must start off with saying that the authors themselves intrigued me. One author is a middle school girl who has a form of muscular dystrophy and the other author is her older sister who is in college. Before I got the book, I did some research on the authors and was fascinated with the things they were involved in such as asking the makers of the American Girl dolls to release a Girl of the Year doll with a disability. I hope these young ladies get their wish.

This book is geared for middle school grades. It is about a girl, Mia Lee, who is entering middle school for the first time and she just so happens to be in a wheelchair. What impressed me a lot was that the story wasn’t about Mia and her disability but instead it was about a mystery being solved by Mia who happens to be in a wheelchair. Mia is running for office and someone is trying to keep her from winning. Throughout the story, Mia shares her feelings about people’s perceptions of her disability and her own feelings about how other people treat her but they are incorporated in the story and not the focus of the story.

This would be a great story to use in the classroom to cover topics such as school elections, campaigns, peer relationships, attitudes towards others, physical disabilities and Chinese culture. I liked how the Chinese culture is mentioned throughout the story because I am also Chinese.  I don’t see many books that mention the Chinese culture and this would be a great book to open discussions about growing up in a Chinese family.  I know that when I was growing up, my life with my Chinese family was very different than my friends with their American way of life.

I highly recommend this book to adults and students on the middle school level. I believe it should be on every middle school library shelf! It is very enlightening for teens who don’t know how to handle situations where their peers may have a disability. I also think from a cultural point of view, this would be a great book to talk about cultural tolerance.

This reminded me of old TV shows like Ironside and Longstreet. Ironside was a detective in a wheelchair (played by Raymond Burr in the 1960s and 1970s) who caught the bad guys. The show ran for 8 seasons and was very popular. Longstreet (played by James Franciscus in the 1970s) was an insurance agent who went blind in an explosion and solved cases. I loved both shows because they were suspenseful and showed that physical disabilities do not have to keep a person from using their intellectual capabilities. I could see this book and future stories featuring the main character solving mysteries featured on a TV show for teens.

1 comment:

Sirce Perez said...

Thank you for sharing this post on the this book! I would like to incorporate this book as a read aloud in my classroom. I teach special ed in middle school, I currently don't have a student that uses a wheelchair, however I used to. And even with or without a wheelchair, students with disabilities go through a lot at school. They feel pressured to fit in with their peers, they feel different and are at times bullied because of their disabilities and necessity to go to a different class to get support. In middle school it can be tough to be a student with disabilities, I think that reading this book will give them them the opportunity to relate to a character and her challenges as a student. I also think that it will teach them, as you mention, tolerance of different cultures. I agree that it's important for students to learn about respect other cultures' values and traditions.