6th Grade and Up
Eleven-year-old Joe can’t remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his ‘bubble’. Then a new nurse offers Joe the possibility of going outside. But Joe doesn’t know if the nurse is serious—or whether he could survive the adventure.
I’ve been saying for years now that disabilities/differences don’t need to define you. That living with a disability/difference doesn’t have to control your life. But this kid has a bigger real-life problem than any of the kids I’ve read about before. This kid doesn’t just have a regular disability, he has a full-on illness. This kid just might have it tougher than any kid I’ve ever read about before in the way of illnesses. Joe hasn’t been able to leave his hospital for most of his 11-year-old life because of his autoimmune disease, a life-threatening disease. If he were to go outside, he could catch any disease in the world and die. He is constantly bombarded by side effects from new drugs the doctors put him on and has had so many blood transfusions that he’s lost count.
I’m not sure how old someone should be to read this story. If you can handle the details of a blood transfusion, you’re brave enough to read this book. If you’re not, skip Chapter 8. I’m 24 and I almost couldn’t handle it. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to handle it as a kid. Then again, half the time I’m just as mature now as I was back in elementary school. If you think you can handle it, go right ahead. Just felt like I should warn you.
I don’t read many books about kids with real illnesses because they make me sad and anxious. I felt this book was worth reading because Joe’s illness fascinates me. This book reminds me of an episode of the CBS show Scorpion, the show is about a group of geniuses who solve complex global problems and save lives. The episode I’m thinking of in particular is Season 3, Episode 18 (Don’t Burst My Bubble).The episode is about Team Scorpion helping a girl, Ada, who ‘has a severe immunodeficiency brought on by aplastic anemia’.
Even though this is a sad book it’s definitely worth reading.
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Germs
Only 0.1% of bacteria actually make you sick.