Donald R. Gallo’s latest anthology, Owning It, contains ten stories about teens with disabilities. The authors are among the best in young adult literature: David Lubar, Chris Crutcher, Gail Giles, Alex Flinn, Ron Koertge, Robert Lipsyte, and several others. This collection provides some students with characters they can relate to while showing others that a little compassion can go a long way.
This collection of stories deals with a wide range of challenges. I use the word “challenges” because I don’t want to use the world “disability” for some of the scenarios. For instance, one of the stories deals with an obese teen. While there are challenges that come with being obese (and I know about all of them, because I’ve been the “fat kid” for as long as I can remember), I don’t see being overweight as a disability. The stories in this anthology deal with alcoholism, Tourette’s syndrome, severe migraines, attention deficit disorder, asthma, being bound to a wheelchair, blindness, brain injuries, cancer, and, yes, obesity. While I may not agree with the editor on what exactly constitutes a disability, I do agree that there are things readers can learn about dealing with each of the challenges presented in the stories.
Owning It is a good book and a very fast read. I plan to market it to the special education department at my school. I would also like to encourage new teachers and students who work with the special ed. classes to read this. It may provide them with some insights regarding the students they are working with.