Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

Aven’s dad has just been offered a new job, managing a rundown theme park, so the family must move from their Kansas home. 

Aven, who has no arms, has never lacked confidence. She’s always gone to school with the same friends, and her adoptive parents have ensured she’s felt able to do pretty much anything, just finding a different way to do it. Moving to Arizona and being a newbie, however, brings new challenges. Thankfully, she forms powerful friendships with Connor (who has Tourettte’s Syndrome) and Zion (who’s overweight). Together, they have a mystery to solve, as the theme park conceals some surprising secrets…

It’s pleasing to see rarely depicted conditions like Tourette’s and limblessness. Both are handled sensitively, having clearly been well researched and supporting a healthy "can do" message. The book seizes every opportunity to challenge a negative attitude or bust a stereotype, whether around gender, disability, race, family structure or adoption.

With a cast of likeable characters and quirky humour, readers young and old are likely to find this an inspiring and charming read. 

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