Children’s Literature with Real Critical Thought
Complicated topics, such as death, euthanasia, or any existential considerations, challenge teachers when educating students. Making this education more difficult is the lack of reading materials that present these topics objectively and free of religious influence. Terry Trueman’s Stuck in Neutral provides this objectivity while still packing the emotional punch that makes literature worth analyzing.
The book’s themes challenge readers to understand disability from both the disabled child’s view and the family. This difficult task required Trueman to write a story that children could readily understand while challenging them to evaluate ideas many adults struggle to grasp. (See my review.)
Winner of the Printz Award, Stuck in Neutral underwent a battle to find its way into classrooms across the US after accusations of the material being too strong for children. Trueman defended his book before the Wisconsin school board, which allowed the book’s reading and would become required reading in Special Education classrooms.