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Born Just Right

Book review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Born Just Right Book Poster Image
Upbeat book tells what it's like being born without a limb.

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Educational Value

Born Just Right introduces the concept of limb difference. Jordan explains the nature of her difference, what it meant to her physical development, and how it has affected her as a person in the world. Jordan's also an activist, whose mom has written a blog that has helped spread the word about their journey. Jordan speaks about designing prosthetics and includes checklists to help kids find and follow their passions.

Positive Messages

Keep trying -- find an answer. Don't let someone else do things for you; try hard and grow. It's a gift to meet people from all over the world. Kids should try new things, rather than depend on adults to do it for them. Don't stare -- just ask! Being sad all of the time isn't worth it. Friends are really important. If you try really hard, you can make change. Everything is possible if you believe in yourself and have support from your friends and family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jordan is surrounded by friends and family who love and support her. Her parents have devoted their time to her therapies and her cause. At the same time, the adults in her life allowed her to make her own mistakes and to become independent and strong. Her friends support her when people have stared at her or bullied her for being different. Other adults in Jordan's life have become role models, including camp counselors and design mentors.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Mentions of Disney, Walt Disney World, Disney boutiques, Hello Kitty, Swiffer, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Crossfit Kids, Pilates, Boston Public Market, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Nerdist, Amy Poehler Smart Girls, Kid President, Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, Rachel Ray, Maker Faire, Tinkercad, Dremel, Autodesk, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mattel

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Born Just Right  is an autobiography by Jordan Reeves, a limb difference activist and inventor. Her mother, Jen Lee Reeves, also helped with the book, though the voice belongs primarily to Jordan. The book addresses topics of being born with physical differences and challenges, as well as the struggles and prejudices that limb different people have. Jordan has received help and gifts from business entities such as Disney, Autodesk, The Rachel Ray Show and Shark Tank, so those brands are featured in her story.

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What's the story?

In BORN JUST RIGHT, mother-daughter authors Jordan and Jen Lee Reeves enlighten readers about what it's like to be born without a limb. In her case, Jordan was born having a typical right arm and a shorter left arm without a hand or fingers. Jordan's journey has taken her from attending camps for kids with limb differences all the way to national television spots. This book starts with her birth and upbringing in a college town in Missouri, where she was loved by many and ostracized by some. Some workbook-type sections encourage kids to find and follow their passions, whether they have typical bodies or not. 

Is it any good?

Kid-oriented and inspirational, this autobiographical story is told by a girl who overcomes her challenges, while encouraging others to become independent and strong. Born Just Right will appeal especially to kids who have been marginalized by their peers. Jordan doesn't shy away from explaining how she uses her "tiny arm" to do things as amazing as kayaking and playing the piano. Her pragmatic tone encourages kids to follow their own passions and overcome obstacles.

Though she lacks the subtlety of an expert storyteller, sometimes repeating facts and feelings, Jordan Reeves knows how to make a point. She sparks empathy in the reader by asking tough questions, such as: Why aren't there more limb-difference dolls and television characters? She takes her questions to companies like Mattel to get answers. Jordan's TEDx talks and appearances on television have made her a bit of a celebrity, but her goal is to use her platform to question the very concept of "normal." Though the entertainment value may suffer because of the direct nature of the narrative, Born Just Right may help readers wake up to their own prejudices and limitations, which is really what it's all about. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about people with physical differences as shown in Born Just Right. Can you name any shows or books that feature a character who has a limb difference or a disability? Do you think what you see in the media reflects real life?

  • Jordan's mom started a website to help spread the word about people who have limb differences. What blogs or websites do you like that help raise awareness about issues you care about?

  • Jordan has made T-shirts to express how she feels about people treating her differently. One says: "Don't stare, just ask!" If made a T-shirt to express something about yourself, what would it say?

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