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My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439339057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439339056
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up--Abeel writes of her torturous year in seventh grade when she was diagnosed with a learning disability. Having been a gifted, creative preschooler, she was not prepared for the realization, in second grade, that she could not do many of the tasks that her classmates could accomplish with ease. By seventh grade, her feelings of insecurity had reached an all-time high, and she began to experience anxiety attacks over everything from having to remember her locker combination to managing her schoolwork to staying overnight at a friend's. When she was finally diagnosed with dyscalculia, she and her family felt relief. At least now there was a name for her difficulties and strategies she could employ. This account is an interesting mix of factual information and memories. Abeel relates her experiences with detached clarity, but each situation is followed by the thoughts and feelings that finally forced her to face her differences. Occasionally, her well-phrased prose slips into cliché, and when she lists the math skills that she could not perform she becomes rather pedantic. While this book is not likely to be of great interest to casual readers, those with similar learning issues will identify strongly with the author's trials and triumphs. Pair this title with Abeel's book of poetry, Reach for the Moon (Scholastic, 2001), to inspire young people with learning disabilities and to educate others.--Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-12. In painstaking detail, Abeel recounts her life, from kindergarten through college, with a learning disability that compromises her ability to learn skills based on sequential processing--especially math, spelling, and grammar. She writes frankly about her mental and emotional struggles to cope; while she looked like a "normal" child, she was unable to tell time, count change, or remember her locker combination. Her narrative is interjected with first-person remembrances of painful incidents that left a vivid imprint on her self-worth. After her disability was diagnosed, halfway through her story when she was in seventh grade, the school system provided both special and gifted classes that helped her. But still aching over missed social opportunities and suffering from panic attacks, she turned to writing, which became her life preserver. Upon college graduation, Abeel finally accepted that being learning disabled wasn't her fault. Abeel's raw emotional anguish, though certainly understandable, overwhelms the story, making it difficult to pinpoint an audience. Perhaps readers who have their own intimate knowledge of how learning disabilities derail life will be the most appreciative audience. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I read the entire book in one sitting.
M. Davis
Anyone who teaches, works with children, or has a family member who is learning disabled would benefit from reading this book!
"cankeney"
I loved her story and bravery, I felt very connected to her through this learning disability.
Beakerwiggles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To be honest, I read this book, not only for its contents, but for its AR points. (It's one of the few newly printed books that's actually at seventh grade level). But it was something that was so much more than a helpful book school-wise; it's a very deep and lovely book.

Samantha Abeel, who is twenty-five at the start of this memoir, goes as far back as she can into her mind, into a place where she once had no problems in school -kindergarten. She is instantly reconized for her large vocubulary (she actually said the word 'pnuemonia' as one of the words for the letter 'N', which, although is incorrect, is still remarkable), and her creative ideas. But soon, though, as the level of difficulty for subjects, particulary math, increases, she finds that she can not grasp simple things, like telling time and fractions. She also is crippled in the area of the parts of English and spelling, but not as bad as math. She goes through her life in elementary school, masking her slowness for math and English for her other, better grades in other subjects. From the moment in kindergarten she says 'pnuemonia', the other kids label her as smart, and they do not notice her problems. Her constant awareness that people might discover her act make her seculded and nervous, starting her anxiety attacks. All of her world falls apart and then reassembles during her thirteenth winter. We then see how she learns that she has a learning disabilty called dyscalculia, a learning disablity that only effects her math skills and anything related to it. We see how someone, who has gone through somuch, can escape through writing and make such an elegant and wonderful book.

My brother has an unnamed learning disablity, and, like Sam said, everyone knows someone that has a learning disablity. It really helped me see how some people see the world. I'd recommed this book in a heartbeat.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BB on January 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Samantha Abeel not only wrote My Thirteenth Winter, but lives it. This book opens up your eyes and makes you aware of the stuggles that thousands of people go through.

Samantha went through many depressing moments throughout her educational life. Most of the dicouraging times were due to a learning disability that was not discovered until after her life had been negatively affected by it. Samantha was bewildered by the fact that she could be so skilled in writing but drop to rock bottom when it came to math skills. Her social life was a struggle. Each day was another not to enjoy, but push through and finish. Even when her learning disability was discovered, Samantha was oblivious to the fact that her life still had more secrets to reveal and challenges to overcome. This book offered a realistic perspective as to what people with learning diabilites go through. My Thirteenth Winter really shows an indepth look into the lives that many people live.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MW on March 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is an absolute must-read for teachers, parents, and kids with learning disabilities (LD) and other special needs. Beautifully written, honest and very open about what life is like for a child with learning disabilities. This is especially important reading for those who don't understand that a child can be both intellectually gifted and LD, and that no one is "too smart" to have a learning disability.
As someone who works with families of gifted/special needs children, I will be recommending this book widely.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In My 13th Winter, Seventh Grader Samantha Abeel is a straight a student, but how is it that she can't she tell time, or understand simple math concepts? She has a math- related learning disability which she is ashamed of and wants no one to know about it. As her secrets are revealed she learns that with the help of others she can accomplish tasks that most people strive for their whole life by the age of sixteen. This capturing, well put-together memoir will teach you a valuable lesson of self- acceptance. You will read about how one girl's world will change as she enters the fourth grade and has to struggle through the rest of elementary school. She completes eighth grade and moves on to high school nervous as ever and doesn't know what the pressure of the real world can do to a person, but then again who does?

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. The language is rich and the writing is beautiful. The author did a really great job describing the emotions; there were so many it was crucial to understand. This is most likely one of the best memoirs I have read in a long, long time. I would recommend this to mostly girls between the ages of twelve- through high school age.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "cankeney" on January 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Samantha Abeel is a wonderful writer who has a special talent for making words come to life. As a teacher who teaches thirteen-year-olds, this book made me even more aware of the struggles some of my students must face everyday as they are asked to complete tasks that many don't even have to think about before completing them. Anyone who teaches, works with children, or has a family member who is learning disabled would benefit from reading this book! Her way with words is magical and makes the reader feel as if Samantha is there, speaking to the reader.There are so many passages in the book that I just had to highlight and share with others. I plan on sharing this book with other teachers and friends and I'm sure my copy of the book will be worn out before I get it back! Thanks Samantha for opening my eyes and the eyes of so many others to the difficulties some people face daily with your story.
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