Life isn’t fair, Mark Holden knows that. The doctor says he has Asperger’s Syndrome, and nobody knows why. What they do know is Asperger’s makes it harder for Mark to understand how other people think, including teachers.
At a taekwondo school, though, you don’t have to figure out what people mean or how they think. It’s a physical activity. Everyone starts the exact same way, in a white uniform with a white belt. You’re only better if a belt you’ve earned says you are, and respect for others is a requirement. Mark likes that.
He thinks a roomful of white belts looks pretty much like a roomful of marshmallows, though. Not like the black belts his mom talks about, in the Olympics; not very tough at all. And who wants to be king of the marshmallows?
When he starts taekwondo, Mark discovers that he and four other kids from his school are in a class full of adults! They’ll have a lot to learn, the faster the better, about taekwondo and each other – but they’ll find there’s nothing like a little heat to make marshmallows stick together.
Ready! by Lydia Ondrusek (Ages 13+)
Mark’s Asperger’s Syndrome makes things hard for him at school. Mark’s mom and dad think MORE school is the answer. They can’t be right–can they? When they enroll Mark in the new taekwondo school nearby, he finds that his class is filled with adults–and four kids from his school he’s never met before. So now he’s got to meet new people (ugh), learn MORE new skills (ack), and oh yeah…somewhere in there, he’s got to figure out how not to flunk English.