Sam is a character in the story who happens to have cerebral palsy. What you really need to know about her is how Leo describes her when he first meets her. Sam is “a new girl in his class who has confidence and sass.”
While Leo is learning to have grit in the areas of his life in which he struggles, Sam’s personality oozes with grit. How is it that Sam has developed this important trait so young while Leo is just discovering this word?
I believe that the way one learns to have grit is by facing life challenges, and Sam’s cerebral palsy is the challenge that causes her to gain a strength of character beyond her years. From birth, she has had to work harder physically, socially, emotionally, and academically to keep up with her peers. She knows no other life but grit.
Who is Sam? I met the Cates family and their twin girls, Bella and Lizzy, when they moved to my school when the girls were kindergarteners. The concept of Sam having cerebral palsy in the story is based on Bella who has CP. However, Sam has a little of the confidence and sass I see in both Bella and Lizzy. Sam represents any of us who face a challenge in life.
The word cerebral palsy is not mentioned in the story for a purpose. It’s not what I want you to remember about Sam. I want you to know that she is from Texas, likes grits, says hi y’all, “and oh yeah she uses a walker, but she’s pretty good at softball.”
My favorite part of the story is where Sam is encouraging and helping Leo with his math.
Sam is my superhero. I want to be like Sam when I grow up. Wait. I am a grown up. I still want to be like Sam. Grit, Not Grits. Available now!