Part Four: Wonderful Gifts of Mine
Whether worshipful, playful, or pensive, the young people featured
in this part let readers into their sacred spaces. Some of them do so
by invoking nature, some God, some the powerful forces within themselves.
Some refer to or even lead us into their imaginary worlds; others remain
firmly in the present. All in some way celebrate their "wonderful
Gifts of Mine: Includes two poems and a painting composed
by Jeffrey Peterson at the ages of sixteen and seventeen. Jeffrey was
living at Pathfinder Village, a residential community for people with
Down syndrome in Edmeston, New York.
- The Blue Dot: This
is a story written by Margaret O’Nan at age thirteen. Margaret
had developed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) about six years
before and was living with her mother inside a national forest in
- A Winning Kid:
Elise-Noëlle Laliberté wrote the piece
of poetic prose and the essay included here when she was eleven years
old. Elise-Noëlle had complex partial seizures and a learning disability
(LD) and had been chosen by the Epilepsy Association of Massachusetts
as one of its “winning kids” of the year.
How I Got Egg on My Head and Other Adventures: Includes
an interview with Kenneth conducted when he was eleven and several
pictures that he drew at ages ten and eleven. Kenneth had osteogenesis
imperfecta (OI) and was attending the Kennedy Day School of the
Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Boston.
- Two Boys between
Two Lands: Includes several drawings
by Adiyana Paramita and one by Dwiyana Stirabudi that the twin brothers
composed at age thirteen. Both Adi and Dwi had cognitive disabilities.
They had been living in the U.S. for nearly three years and were about
to return to their home in Bali, Indonesia.
- My Privacy World: Lori
Turbenson wrote the autobiographical essay included here when she
was sixteen and the other compositions — several brief prose pieces
and a couple of poems — when she was fifteen and sixteen. Lori,
who had Down syndrome, said she wanted to be a writer when she grew
- Where They Would
Be Safe, They Perish: This is a work
in progress that Viesia Novosielski began when she was sixteen. It
includes written and visual material that brings to life Viesia’s
mental breakdown at age twelve.