Just Maria is the story of Maria Romero, a blind sixth-grader who is trying her hardest to be normal. Not amazing. Not inspiring. Not helpless. Not weird. Just normal. Normal is hard enough with her white cane, glass eyes, and bumpy books, but Maria’s task is complicated by her neighbor and classmate JJ Munson, an asthmatic overweight oddball known in the halls of Marble City Middle as a double-dork paste-eater. When JJ draws Maria into his latest hare-brained scheme—a series of public challenges to prove their worth as gumshoes for his Twinnoggin Detective Agency—she fears she’s lost her last chance to go unnoticed. When a young girl goes missing on the streets of Marble City, Maria’s new-found confidence is tested in ways she never anticipated. Use your cane and your brain, and figure it out . . . Aimed at middle-grade readers, Just Maria explores difference and disability without resorting to the saccharine and engages universal themes about the price of popularity and the meaning of independence.
About the Author
Jay Hardwig is a certified teacher for the visually impaired who has worked with children with blindness and low vision for more than twenty years. He currently works for the nonprofit IFB Solutions, where he directs summer camps and school-year opportunities for children with vision loss. When not taking blind kids ziplining, he reads, writes, and plays barrelhouse piano with his friends and family in Asheville, North Carolina.
Trade Paperback | 140 pages