Readers will be delighted by echos of other literary traditions as well as deeply moved by the themes/problems the author presents that face our young people in schools today, such as bullying and violence. Her skillful weaving of events in Duffy's 'real' world and the mirrors of these events in the 'alternate' world also keeps the reader grounded and interested to see what happens next.
For me, the best parts of the book occured Duffy treated the villain with grace and compassion, rather than utilizing a punitive, judgmental tone. Though Duffy is still a child in our world, he develops and demonstrates maturity, wisdom, and humility in the alternate world and he chooses to bring those characteristics back with him to change his 'real' world as well.
From the Author
Since I also love to write books at the middle school level and higher, and my novels are fantasy novels that interest several kids in any class I am teaching, this has given me a lot of feedback and stimulated new story lines to develop.
I only hope both Duffy Barkley Novels bring other people some of the joy that they have already given to me.
I became a special Ed teacher, after being raised with a younger brother, who has down's syndrome. I also had been bullied a lot as a student myself and the experiences I have had as a teacher and family member of a special needs kid, and as a victim of bullies, are both a large part of the framework of these novels. But my Duffy, a boy who has Cerebral Palsy, and is bullied, is not handicapped or willing to be a victim. He won't accept the word, "No."
One of the most pleasurable parts of writing, Duffy Barkley is not a Dog was the interaction with my sons and nieces and nephews and students as I wrote and rewrote the book. I wrote it with the enthusiastic feedback from a lot of people and I want to make sure they know how grateful I am that they also, loved the boy who won't take "no" for an answer.