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What was Peyton like as a kid?
Like our hero, Charity, Peyton could not control her body or reliably communicate when she was a kid. For the first few years of school, her mom would come to class with Peyton to help. Eventually, her mom was no longer allowed in the classroom. With no aide, Peyton was doomed to fail. She was soon transferred to a private special-needs school. Peyton calls it an institution, which she defines as anyplace where all people are not included.
Like Charity, even with an uncooperative body, Peyton proved time and again that she could learn to do things that the Thinkers said she would never be able to do. She learned many of these skills from her dad, who BELIEVED she could do it and never stopped trying to teach her.
Unlike Charity, Peyton was not able to communicate until she was 22. That's a long time to wait to have a voice. But thank heavens she found it! That's what allowed her to finally go to school for REAL and earn a college degree.
She graduated valedictorian.
While Charity's parents are pretty similar to Peyton's, the other characters and Charity's adventures at Lincoln Junior High are pure invention. That's the fun of writing.
What was Carol like as a kid?
Carol always had a voice but wasn't always brave enough to use it. Even though she loved school, she was SUPER SHY and even won an award once for being the quietest person in class. Is that the sort of thing that should win an award?
Questions for YOU!
After reading about how hard Peyton and Carol worked to find their voice, what do you appreciate about your own voice? What will you use it for?
Carol finally found her voice through art---by writing stories, singing in choirs, and performing in school plays. The girl who didn't say anything in class could stand on stage in front of an audience and perform? YES!
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