One thing that I thought was really interesting about One-Handed Catch by M.J. Auch was that it is loosely based on the childhood experiences of the author’s husband. The setting for this book is just after the end of World War II, and the main character is an 11-year-old boy named Norm, whose family owns a meat market. On the fourth of July while helping his dad in the store, his hand got caught in the meat grinder and he lost it. Shortly after he was released from the hospital, there were a few times when Norm felt sorry for himself, and he was tempted to use his new disability to try and get special treatment from people. However, his mom quickly put a stop to that when she found out because she wanted him to learn to become independent. His dad felt terribly guilty about the accident so he suddenly didn’t spend time or joke with Norm the way that he used to. Luckily, his best friend Leon still stayed friends with him, and once he knew what it was like to be teased, Norm also ended up befriending Carl, the quiet, new kid in town. However, he still had to face several other challenges. How would he ever fulfill his lifelong dream of being a professional baseball player? What instrument would he be able to play in the school band? How would he ever re-learn how to do a simple thing like tying his shoes? You will have to read this inspirational story (and 2012 Rebecca Caudill Award nominee) to find out!
Book reviewed by Julie D., Elementary School Liaison