On Being Sarah


Twelve-year-old Sarah Bennett is a lot like other girls her age: she has a loving family yet she longs to get out into the world and “try her wings.” Sarah is different from other girls, though. She was born with cerebral palsy, which prevents her from walking and talking. In spite of her physical difficulties, Sarah speaks out, with the help of a symbol board attached to her wheelchair.

  • 144 Pages
  • 6" x 8"
  • 9780807560686
  • February 1992

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  • Sarah’s viewpoint is a mixture of maturity and innocence realistic in one who’s seen so many of the pressures of life and so little of the world; the family members are more credibly drawn than in most medical drama books…Sarah’s small gains—making new friends, having a successful birthday party—are large enough in her world to give a narrative thrust to the book, and kids will find this story of someone who shares their desires—but not their ability to achieve them—involving.

    - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • Based on the life of a real person, Helfman’s novel explores the tremendous difficulties and small triumphs of Sarah’s everyday life—getting to school on her own, adjusting to being mainstreamed, meeting her first “friend who happens to be a boy.” Faithful to Sarah’s point of view, the book focuses on her physical challenges and shows that when those around her are helpful and sensitive, her difficulties need not be restrictive.

    - Booklist

  • Helfman supplies keen realism and compassionate descriptions of the girl’s response to physical and emotional frustration, and her heroine is both introspective and outwardly determined. She thinks and feels with complexity.

    - School Library Journal


Common Core

RL.5.1,2,3,4,5,6,10 RL.6.1,2,3,4,5,6 RL.7.1,2,3,4,6