The Short-Bus Kid ~~ Willard Helmuth

The Short-Bus Kid by Willard Helmuth
Kenny and Billy are twin brothers. Kenny is retarded. This is Kenny's story of their very special relationship between ten and fourteen years of age, as much as it is a story about himself and his retardation. Through him, the reader experiences his parents patience and home regimen of enrichment learning; ARC; the special education classes in school; the teasing; and his feeling of Billy's rejection in front of his friends. We also meet Amy who thinks that being retarded is "no big deal" and becomes Kenny's good friend. They share a mutual interest in drawing. When Billy is diagnosed as having leukemia and suffers the physical disabilities of chemotherapy, although Billy's friends shun him, Kenny remains steadfast. The brothers remain close even when Billy is pronounced "cured" and his friends return. Later, Billy suffers a relapse and only a transplant of Kenny's bone marrow will save him. The procedure is done on the boys' birthday. Through Kenny's simply-told story, we become aware of hospital medical procedures and often scary medical questions that youngsters have but do not ask adults. We see, too, a beautiful story of equally shared brotherly love. Full Synopsis
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