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(2006 Independent Publishers Book Awards: Finalist in Juvenile-Teen-Y/A Non-Fiction category) Give teenagers a chance to say what's on their minds, and you might be surprised by what you hear. That's exactly what Don Meyer, creator of Sibshops and author of VIEWS FROM OUR SHOES did when he invited together a group of 80 teenagers, from all over the United States and abroad, to talk about what it's like to have a brother or sister with special needs. Their unedited words are found in THE SIBLING SLAM BOOK, a brutally honest, non-PC look at the lives, experiences, and opinions of siblings without disabilities. Formatted like the slam books passed around in many junior high and high schools, this one poses a series of 50 personal questions along the lines of: What should we know about you? What do you tell your friends about your sib's disability? What's the weirdest question you have ever been asked about your sib? If you could change one thing about your sib (or your sib's disability) what would it be? What annoys you most about how people treat your sib? THE SIBLING SLAM BOOK doesn't slam in the traditional sense of the word. The tone and point-of-view of the answers are all over the map. Some answers are assuredly positive, a few are strikingly negative, but most reflect the complex and conflicted mix of emotions that come with the territory. Whether they read it cover to cover or sample it at random, teenagers will surely find common ground among these pages and reassurance that they are not alone. It is a book that parents, friends, and counselors can feel confident recommending to any teenager with a brother or sister with a disability.
Also by Don Meyer:
Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
Thicker than Water: Essays by Adult Siblings of People with Disabilities
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Don Meyer is the Director of the Sibling Support Project of The Arc of the United States and the creator of the Sibshop model. His books include VIEWS FROM OUR SHOES, UNCOMMON FATHERS, and LIVING WITH A BROTHER OR SISTER WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. He has conducted more than 200 workshops for siblings, parents, and service providers in the United States and all over the world. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Terese, and their four children.From School Library Journal:
Starred Review. Grade 6 Up–This multifaceted vehicle for eliciting some unique and many universal emotions is designed specifically for siblings of special-needs children. An adolescent mainstay, the slam book is the chosen venue for encouraging the venting of opinions, hopes, fears, frustrations, and triumphs. Comments by 81 young people display the recurring theme of optimism, complicated by hard work, dedication, resentment, and fierce protection, all as by-products of love. Some questions serve as icebreakers, such as "What should we know about you?" and "What should we know about your sib?" while thought-provoking chapters include "What life lesson have you learned from being a sib?" and "What are some advantages–good parts–of having a sibling with a disability?" Typical slam-book questions such as "Has your sib ever embarrassed you?" are interspersed with chapters like "Ever feel invisible?" Answers from the large sample group supply ample material so that each reader is sure to relate to some of the thoughtful or heartfelt responses. Highly recommended for all middle, high school, and public libraries.–Sharon A. Neal, Alvernia College, Reading, PA
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