Nelson Beats the Odds by Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW, illustrated by Traci Van Wagoner

nelson-beats-the-oddsNelson Beats The Odds

By Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW

Illustrated by Traci Van Wagoner


Middle school is often a struggle for many kids, but especially for Nelson. Full of life, he considers school a place for socializing, daydreaming, and having fun. At a parent/teacher conference Mrs. Gronkowski suggests Nelson has learning disabilities and wants to refer him for testing. His parents want the best for their son and eventually Nelson is placed in a Special Education class. At first, he is ashamed and doesn’t tell his friends, but with his new teacher, Mrs. T.’s support and guidance, Nelson gains the confidence and skills he needs to shine. Three years later Nelson looks forward to high school and taking classes again with his old friends. However, he is transferred from those and placed back in Special Learning classes. His cousin Jeremy tries to console him by saying he doesn’t need to be with friends who are trying to “act white.” Nelson sets Jeremy straight: they aren’t doing that; they want to go to college and need those classes to qualify. He also believes the two of them need to prepare for college, too.


Sidney uses his personal struggles with learning disabilities to inspire other learning disabled kids. Van Wagoner’s bold illustrations and graphic novel format brings the text to life. This would make a fine addition to any school or home library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *