The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood

“…I loved Punky with all my heart and yet felt ashamed of him for the first time in my life.” Delrita Jensen has recently moved into town after living in the country all of her life. It is tough moving to a new town when you’re 13 years old. It’s even harder when you live with your uncle who has Down’s syndrome. Kids make fun of him, and Delrita has decided that she must be “invisible” at school.

But when she meets the red-haired Shackleford family, her invisibility begins to slip! She has to share a math book with Avanelle, so she meets the entire family. The family is new to town, and they have their own secret.

When a horrible tragedy strikes, Delrita’s life and Punky’s are changed forever. This is a story of what happens when we open our hearts to love.

This book won the William Allen White Children’s Book Award in Kansas. The award is voted on by kids! My students loved it when I read this book to them. It gives a chance to talk about folks who have disabilities and how we should treat them. Spoiler alert—keep a tissue handy!

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