Thank you to the lovely people at Running Press Books for my copy of Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel. All thoughts and images are my own.
Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most twelve year olds. That’s because he was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that fills his lungs with mucus and shortens his lifespan. The rules and routines that manage his disorder control too much of Caleb, not that his prying mom or perfect older brother seem to care.
Then Caleb meets Kit. Instantly, his world changes. Kit says they are destined to be friends; she read so on his palm. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger. Soon, Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him – or her.
I’m finding that middle grade reads are some of the best opportunities to learn about other experiences because there is something so honest about the way a child needs to explain their situation to the world. As embarrassed as Caleb is of some of the aspects of living with cystic fibrosis, the constant care his disease requires forces him to disclose the necessary truth of his disease to certain people around him. He can’t hide his CF. His classroom is the only classroom that must have an air conditioning unit. He has to take a handful of pills before every meal. It’s hard for him to conceal his bowel movements from those sharing the restroom with him.
Despite his chronic illness, Caleb is a kid like any other and being in middle school really sucks sometimes. He’s going through the same growing pains we all experience: his sibling can do no wrong, his mom doesn’t understand him, he and his best friend are growing apart as they grow up. He’s a relatable character; we’ve all been there at one point or another. All ages will relate to his desire to find his place in the world.
Before I started this blog, I knew practically nothing about life with cystic fibrosis. Through the advocacy of my friend Katharine Scrivener (@kathareads) and the experience of reading this book, I feel like I’m starting to understand more about what life is like with this disease.
Interested in this book? Click here to buy it on Amazon or find it at your local independent bookstore.