My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir

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9780439339056: My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir
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In this beautiful and chilling memoir, twenty-five-year-old Samantha Abeel describes her struggles with a math-related learning disability, and how it forced her to find inner strength and courage.

Samantha Abeel couldn't tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter -- and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems -- and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha's life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she'd ever thought possible -- and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think.

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About the Author:

Samantha Abeel was a gifted child who excelled at language arts, yet she often had trouble with seemingly simple math problems. In her seventh-grade creative writing class, Samantha found refuge from the endless classes focused on math, measurements and algebra. When her parents enlisted the aid of an English teacher to help Samantha focus on her strength by creating writing assignments to be critiqued, she began the project that would become her first book, Reach for the Moon.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up--Abeel writes of her torturous year in seventh grade when she was diagnosed with a learning disability. Having been a gifted, creative preschooler, she was not prepared for the realization, in second grade, that she could not do many of the tasks that her classmates could accomplish with ease. By seventh grade, her feelings of insecurity had reached an all-time high, and she began to experience anxiety attacks over everything from having to remember her locker combination to managing her schoolwork to staying overnight at a friend's. When she was finally diagnosed with dyscalculia, she and her family felt relief. At least now there was a name for her difficulties and strategies she could employ. This account is an interesting mix of factual information and memories. Abeel relates her experiences with detached clarity, but each situation is followed by the thoughts and feelings that finally forced her to face her differences. Occasionally, her well-phrased prose slips into cliché, and when she lists the math skills that she could not perform she becomes rather pedantic. While this book is not likely to be of great interest to casual readers, those with similar learning issues will identify strongly with the author's trials and triumphs. Pair this title with Abeel's book of poetry, Reach for the Moon (Scholastic, 2001), to inspire young people with learning disabilities and to educate others.--Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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9780439339049: My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir

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ISBN 10:  0439339049 ISBN 13:  9780439339049
Publisher: Orchard, 2003
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