I’ve been looking for that next great heartwarming book to read to my kids after having fallen in love with Augie in RJ Palacio’s Wonder a couple years back. So when I saw my friend Jamie Sumner’s new book Roll With It in stores this week — complete with an endorsement from RJ Palacio herself — I couldn’t wait to pick it up.
Turns out, I’m not the only one! Roll With It is currently the #1 release in its category on Amazon, and I can safely say it’s the full-of-heart book you and your kids will be excited to pick up.
I read through it in just a few days, and by the end I was literally crying with the bathroom door locked so my kids wouldn’t interrupt me. Then I handed it to them, and now they’re all loving it too.
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Roll With It is Ellie’s story; she’s a sixth grader with Cerebal Palsy, and she uses a wheelchair. She’s funny, a bit sarcastic, fiercely independent, and she loves to bake.
(In fact, my mouth was watering, reading about some of the desserts she was creating throughout the book. Great British Baking Show fans, you’ll love this aspect of the story.)
But there’s some hard, real-life stuff in here too. Ellie’s dad isn’t involved in her life, her grandfather is sick, and her mom is a bit neurotic, if in a totally loving but annoying-to-a-kid kind of way. Ellie’s routine is full of school drama and homework that all school kids can relate to, but she has to balance it with important doctor’s appointments and more worry than the average child.
Eventually, Ellie and her mom head cross country to visit her grandparents at their trailer park in Oklahoma. There she meets Coralee and and Bert, two unlikely friends who couldn’t care less that Ellie is different. The crew has all the charm of Little Miss Sunshine and all the spunk of Adam P. Schmitt’s Speechless.
Hopefully this story will encourage more kids to see themselves as a Coralee or a Bert, because we need more like them in our world for sure.
Buy this book. Read it out loud with your kids. Talk about Ellie’s confessions — that she sometimes “gets tired of bearing witness to everybody else’s normal.” Look at life from another perspective, and find the joy that’s there.
Charlie and his “bus ladies” via @jamiesumner_author
And by the way, you should also follow author Jamie Sumner on Instagram immediately. She wrote the book in part for her son, Charlie (above), who has CP. In her feed, she shares the most beautiful photos of kids like Charlie getting their copies of Roll With It, and for me, it’s the happiest place on the Internet right now.
Go right now to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Roll With It by Jamie Sumner, or order a copy from our affiliate Amazon if you can stand waiting for delivery.