Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Book Summary

Jessica is a promising high school track star. Her social and family life and future career are wrapped up in her ability to run, until an accident takes that ability from her. This is a story about her recovery - the physical recovery from the accident, and the recovery of her identity as something more than a runner.
The Running Dream book cover
The Running Dream

Book Review

This is a thoughtful book about a young person making unexpected decisions about his future, and a good reminder that things don't always work the way we expect. Peter turns to photography, and to some new friendships as he tries to figure out who he is. One of the things this author does really well is to blend humor with heartbreak, and he finds moments of honesty in small things that matter most. Peter's relationship with his friend who is still on the baseball team, for example, was formerly competitive, and before his friend really understands the extent of Peter's injury, it's difficult for them to find their footing. This is a reflective novel that asks readers to think about what matters most as they determine their own paths.

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I spend a lot of time noticing how my purple paisley bedspread clashes with the oriental rug. I spend a lot of time re-living my last race. Wishing for my leg back. Crying." p. 51

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Running; High School Track
  • Changing a Dream; Surviving Serious Injury
  • Family Relationships
  • Friendships
  • Growing Up; Finding Your Path

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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