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Paperback The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal Book

ISBN: 0805088040

ISBN13: 9780805088045

The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal

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Book Overview

Labeled "dyslexic and profoundly learning disabled," Jonathan Mooney was a short-bus rider - a derogatory term used for kids in special education. To learn how others had moved beyond labels, he bought his own short bus and set out cross-country, looking for kids who had dreamed up magical, beautiful ways to overcome the obstacles that separated them from the so-called normal world.The Short Bus is his irreverent and poignant record of that odyssey,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Short Bus is ultimately a celebration of life, providing a roadmap to empowerment and a deep app

What a must-read for all of us! And I do mean all of us. In The Short Bus, Jonathan Mooney travels far outside his own experience and across America to discover for himself (and us) what it means to experience life in America if one is not "normal." His journey and the conclusions he draws from it provide profound contributions to America's self view as a society and culture. It offers a much needed look in the mirror. The short bus for Jon, and for all students labeled LD, symbolizes the well intentioned but nonetheless painful humiliation administered daily to the children relegated to it. Our children were labeled and then separated from their peers and their classroom because they didn't fit or belong in the classroom with the "normal" kids. Hoping to rediscover and heal from the pain inflicted by these experiences, Jon tours some of America's other labeled individuals: a deaf and blind student who curses her teachers in sign language, an eccentric man with Aspergers who creates his own community connections in remarkable ways, and a young woman with Down Syndrome who is so unforgettable, her story continues to both haunt and comfort me long after putting the book down. With each individual, Jon explores his own feelings of wariness, prejudice and confusion that most of us experience but rarely admit when we confront folks who are clearly "not normal" or "disabled." He comes to know each of them, overcoming his feelings and soon understands their incredible gifts and how important they are to us as a community. We see, as he sees, the important and precious place each holds in the fabric of society. As we become increasingly engaged with our new acquaintances and learn to appreciate them in inimitable ways, we begin to cry out against "the tyranny of normalcy" because we discover how thoroughly the notion of "normalcy" threatens the heart of humanity. It is a coming of age story, to be sure, but The Short Bus is far more important and much bigger than a personal journey. In addition, Jon's research and analysis provide us with a historical, medical and sociological context for the labels assigned to each of the marvelous individuals we meet on the short bus. Jon's voice is always honest and questioning, his insight intelligent and boundless, and of course, the book, like the author, is rich in humor. The Short Bus is ultimately a celebration of life, providing a roadmap to empowerment and a deep appreciation for diversity, underscoring society's need to do so. It's an honest, painful, humorous and always engaging journey, and it's well worth the ride.

Should be required reading for everyone working in Special Programs in the Public School System

This author came to speak to my son's class in Oakland. My son came home raving about Jonathan and how he "really really gets it." I ordered this book and could not put it down. As a parent of twins with LD, I can tell you, he really, really gets it. My sons have had the same type of classes/teachers described in the book, and yes, they are out there and they do exist. I know,let's blame the parents for abdicating responsiblity and basically being the problem. All parents of special needs kids have heard the same responses from the employees of the public system. The system "sucks" and we/they continue to deny it. I plan on giving this book to all my friends for Christmas. Read it. Even if this is not your kid, I can attest to the fact that there are millions of these "lost kids" out there with no heroes out there to rescue them.

Jonathan Mooney Tells the Truth!

I purchased two books, wishing it had been 25, (one for the principals of our school's and one for the head of each SpEd room, plus a bonus book for the Superintendent). My spare, was a gift to the Director of Special Education, and if he can read it and empathize with (1) his students and (2) their parents, then "our academic world" will be a much better place. The books arrived late Friday afternoon, and the Short Bus cover coaxed me into picking up Jonathan's book. I only meant to read a chapter, but two hours later as the sun was setting over the Rocky Mountains, I was half way through. Jonathan's book reminded me of why we fight; that the fight is not even about getting our children an appropriate education per se--it's about the injustice of a system set up to embrace each and every child, and watching it for the past 7 years choose to ignore and marginalize the very children who need embracing the most. Educators need to re-discover compassion and commonsense. Jonathan shows you that the hallway, the principals office, the write-ups and the taking away of electives, are no longer acceptable actions of behavior. The negativity surrounding special education students needs to shift. And shifting attitude does not cost money! Jonathan tells it as it is. He stands in the shoes of giants, and gives a voice to the voiceless. In fact, from now on, "they" can't be part of our IEP team, unless they have read "The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal"!! Bravo Jonathan!

A Must Read!

For those who have never ridden a short bus this book is a must read; for those who have ridden the bus, this ride can be healing. In this book, Jonathan shares his personal struggles from being "labeled" as a child, and mends the wounds by riding the short bus again, this time from a different perspective, in control and in the drivers seat. Within the pages you not only hear about Jonathan's personal journey of growth but that of others who have struggled because they were not viewed or treated as "normal". Infused in these stories of pain and hope Jonathan shares some history of how the "disabled" community have been marginalized by society . Whether it is having to wear the "label" of a disability, ride a short bus or legally enforced sterilization the history is not pretty. It will make you think differently when you hear words such as retarded, idiot or simple minded. This brilliantly written book is an amazing journey that Jonathan shares with us and we all learn from his trip. What is normal and what does it mean to be normal? The lesson for anyone who has ever been treated different or felt different is to embrace your difference. Like we learn in the book from Jonathan's friend Kent; "normal people suck".

I couldn't put the books down

I received the book yesterday afternoon and proceeded to sit down intending to read a just a few chapters and then get dinner on the table for my boys...5 hours later, I was still reading-- I could not put the book down. I ended up reading it cover to cover at the kitchen table. I haven't done that in ages. Luckily the boys are old enough to fend for themselves!!! This is an emotional book. It's also a really wonderful book. Jonathan has really challenged me to look inside my own self and confront my own pre-conceived ideas and ways of looking at people who are labeled disabled. I really think this book should be required reading for educators and professionals who are dealing with students or clients with disabilities, it reminds you that behind the label there is an individual who brings with them their own unique gifts and wonderful qualities. We cannot.. no we must not forget that.
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