A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Meaning of Maggie is inspired in part by the author's experience living with a father who had multiple sclerosis. Written with warmth and humor, the novel -- written as 11-year old Maggie's memoir of the past year of her life -- has the unmistakable ring of authenticity. It centers on a working-class family's brave attempts to cope with an incurable neuromuscular disease and shield Maggie from its devastating reality. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of The Meaning of Maggie will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Maggie's a super achiever, often student of the month and champion of last year's school science fair. But now her super-cool dad is in a wheelchair, has had to leave his job, and her mom has had to go to work. But Maggie doesn't understand why, and no one will explain. When she discovers that her father has multiple sclerosis, she naively resolves to "fix it." On her 12th birthday, her dad's rushed to the hospital. As painful as this is, she finally accepts the knowledge that the problem's not going to go away and that she and her family will face it bravely.
Is it any good?
In THE MEANING OF MAGGIE, author Megan Jean Sovern has taken a difficult topic and made it accessible. Told from Maggie's point of view in the guise of a memoir of her past year, the story's filled with warmth, humor, and a loving, caring family. It will engage readers who appreciate a spunky, temperamental protagonist, and will resonate especially those who've experienced a disability within their family and must confront it with courage.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how a family member's disability has an impact on the entire family. Has anyone in your family come down with an illness and become disabled? How did it make you feel?
Using media resources, investigate how scientists have discovered a way to stop the spread of a specific disease or even to cure it. How did they conduct research and experiments? How long did the process take? What would you like to find a cure for?
Start to keep a journal. Include your thoughts about friends, school, the place where you live, your own triumphs and disasters and your wishes for the year(s) ahead.
Our editors recommend
For kids who love Coming-of-age books and family stories
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.