The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

Published by Harry N. Abrams

Chance to Fly: Stroker, Ali: 9781419743931: Books

Summary:  Nat is nervous about moving to New Jersey, away from her California home and her best friend Chloe.  Her dad signs her up for a wheelchair track team, but at the first practice she sees a flyer for the activity she really wants to try: a production of Wicked for middle school kids.  Although she’s never acted, she loves singing and musical theater, and, against her parents’ wishes, decides to audition.  To her delight, she gets a part in the chorus and finds her tribe with the theater kids, including Malik, her first crush.  When a fire at the theater threatens to put an end to the play, Nat is unwilling to let go of her dream of performing on stage.  She and the other kids rally to put the show together, and Nat gets her chance–both literally and figuratively–to fly.  Includes a note from the authors about how they met and collaborated.  288 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  Attention all middle school theater kids: here is a book about you that will have you on your feet by the last page, applauding Nat’s courage and determination to succeed.  Readers will build empathy for what it is like to be in a wheelchair, and may let go of some limiting beliefs about people with physical disabilities.  Be sure to look for YouTube videos of some of the performances of co-author and Tony Award-winning disabled actress Ali Stroker.

Cons:  Due to my mediocre knowledge of musical theater, I didn’t get the references of all the chapter titles (which are lyrics from various musical songs).

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