Swimming with Dolphins

Scholastic. May 2020. 208p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781338538120.
Gr 3-7–A coming-of-age story that seamlessly incorporates discussion of disability alongside a heartwarming dolphin tale. Twelve-year-old KT Wynn moves from Iowa to Florida and has to start over at a new middle school while leaving all her friends behind. KT uses a wheelchair; although the plot doesn’t dwell on this, it is a daily fact of her life, and she worries about being in a new environment as a wheelchair user. On the bright side, her new home means she might be able to achieve her dream of swimming with dolphins. Meeting Cola the dolphin is not what she expected, and KT must work to overcome her fears and build trust with Cola to make her dream come true. Through detailed imagery, the use of hashtag vocabulary, and the unique juxtaposition of the dolphins with KT’s own journey, Paddock has created a well-rounded and fun story that middle grade readers will enjoy.
VERDICT Sweet, inspirational realistic fiction for anyone who has had to start over again.

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