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Sparks by Graham McNamee
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Sparks (2002)

by Graham McNamee

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This book talks about a fifth grader who has a learning disability. Todd Foster grapples with his learning tasks at the beginning of the school year. He desperately wants to prove he can do the work so the name calling and the bullying will stop. Mr. Blaylock, his teacher gives him four weeks to deliver or he goes back to the Special Needs class. His Mom and Dad say he can do it. Then one day...he does it ...a B+!!! Now it's up to the teacher to keep his part of the deal. I like the enlightening journey with Todd through his thoughts and feelings as he faces the challenges with determination. I like how this story helps people to understand how hard it is for children with special needs to overcome their "disability" and deal with the teasing and browbeating from other children; and how much support and understanding they are in need of. Heartwarming! ( )
  RoDor | Jul 7, 2009 |
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Take your time, Todd, Mr. Blaylock tells me.

What does he mean? If I wait long enough, will the answer come to me? I've tried that. Nothing ever comes.

Have you ever heard of a man named Albert Einstein?

He once said 'Imagination is more important than knowledge'.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385729774, Hardcover)

Last year Todd was the smartest kid in Special Needs; this year, he was promoted to the regular fifth-grade class, where they call him “Retardo” and “Braindead.” He’s really trying to keep up, but he’s in danger of being sent back to Needs. Then a history project about the pygmy Ota Benga inspires Todd to use his secret strength–imagination.

Being promoted also meant Todd had to leave his pals behind in Special Needs, even his best friend, Eva. Why can’t Eva understand that they can’t be friends anymore? Why can’t he stop missing her? What’s the right answer to that?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When Todd is both happy and anxious about trying to fit in with the regular fifth grade class but feels confused about how to relate to his former friends in the Special Needs class, a school assignment on the exploited pygmy, Ota Benga, helps give him confidence and clarity.… (more)

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