A Very New Day by Steven Salmon tells the story of 13 year old Rich as he starts his first day at a ‘regular’ mainstream school. He never thought this day would come – he has cerebral palsy and relies on an electric wheelchair and uses morse code using his head to write, as he is unable to use his hands. This short story follows Rich’s first day at school, where we get an insight into what it’s like living with cerebral palsy, the problems that arise and the friends and teachers he meets whilst at school, who help him realise that anything is possible.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
First off, this book is such an important read! Reading a book where the main character has cerebral palsy is such an eye opening experience. Something we take for granted, ie. turning a page of a book, is something that Rich can’t do, which makes going to a mainstream school a challenge that Rich is determined to persevere. He endures horrible comments from other students and it isn’t until his new teacher, Mrs Tilley encourages him and makes him realise that Rich too, can have dreams and that cerebral palsy shouldn’t stand in his way of achieving that and I think this was such a great message to get out of this book!
Writing from a first person perspective (from Rich’s point of view) worked really well as it allowed us to see his thoughts when presented with challenges at school. His age was captured beautifully with some silly immature thoughts, which reflected his 13 year old self, and accurately depicted what a 13 year old would think on his first day of school, with or without cerebral palsy.
It wasn’t until I finished this book, that I looked up the author, Steven Salmon, and learnt that although Rich is a fictional character, this book is slightly autobiographical – Steven too has cerebral palsy and uses morse code to write. This explains why this book was written with such accuracy and detail and why I think it is even more crucial for people to read this book because it truly reflects how under-represented characters feel.
This is a book that I highly recommend! It’s such an important read which you have to read if you ever get the chance. It gives such an accurate, inside perspective and is a very eye opening read, especially as someone who will never experience the challenges that both Rich, and most likely Steven experience in their lives. This book is filled with hope and makes a fantastic read. I really hope Steven continues writing in the future and can’t wait to see what he has planned next!