Free as A Bird

Free as A Bird

Book - 2010
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Univ of Toronto Pr

Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp lives at a time when being a developmentally disabled person usually meant growing up behind locked doors. When Ruby Jeans loving grandmother dies, she is taken to the Provincial Lunatic Asylum. It is here that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and every kind of abuse.


Short-listed for the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, the 2010 Snow Willow Award and the 2011 CLA Young Adult Book Award

Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp comes from a time when being a developmentally disabled person could mean growing up behind locked doors and barred windows and being called names like "retard" and "moron." When Ruby Jean’s caregiver and loving grandmother dies, her mother takes her to Woodlands School in New Westminster, British Columbia, and rarely visits.

As Ruby Jean herself says: "Can’t say why they called it a school – a school’s a place you go for learnin an then after you get to go home. I never learnt much bout ledders and numbers, an I sure never got to go home."

It’s here in an institution that opened in 1878 and was originally called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and every kind of abuse. Just when she can hardly remember if she’s ever been happy, she learns a lesson about patience and perseverance from an old crow.



Baker & Taylor
Born with Down's syndrome, Ruby Jean is cared for by her loving grandmother, but after she dies, Ruby is taken to the Woodlands School by her mother where she learns to survive isolation, boredom, and abuse.

Ingram Publishing Services

Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp comes from a time when being a developmentally disabled person could mean growing up behind locked doors and barred windows and being called names like "retard" and "moron." When Ruby Jean's caregiver and loving grandmother dies, her mother takes her to Woodlands School in New Westminster, British Columbia, and rarely visits.

As Ruby Jean herself says: "Can't say why they called it a school -- a school's a place you go for learnin an then after you get to go home. I never learnt much bout ledders and numbers, an I sure never got to go home."

It's here in an institution that opened in 1878 and was originally called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and every kind of abuse. Just when she can hardly remember if she's ever been happy, she learns a lesson about patience and perseverance from an old crow.



Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Dundurn Press, c2010
ISBN: 9781554884476
1554884470
Branch Call Number: PB YA FIC MCM
Characteristics: 168 p. ;,19 cm.

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CSchmidt1 Dec 16, 2011

This is an interesting story told through the perspective of a female with Down's Syndrome form the age of eight to adulthood (probably 40 years old or more). The author draws from historical records of an institution that housed (and abused and neglected) people with disabilities for decades before being closed. The author's sister is a person with Down's Syndrome and she draws on her experience of living with her sister to create a compelling and realistic voice for her protagonist, Ruby Jean Sharp. This is an interesting story that reminds readers to remember the dignity of people who think differently and to not underestimate a person's abilities because of preconceived notions.

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Apr 21, 2010

From the back cover of the book:

Born with Down syndrome, Ruby Jean Sharp comes from a time when being a developmentally disabled person could mean growing up behind locked doors and barred windows and being called names like "retard" and "moron." When Ruby Jean's caregiver and loving grandmother dies, her mother takes her to Woodlands School in New Westminster, British Columbia, and rarely visits.

As Ruby Jean herself says: "Can't say why they called it a school--a school's place you go for learning an then after you get to go home. I never learnt much bout ledders and numbers, an I sure never got to go home."

It's here in an institution that opened in 1878 and was originally called the Provincial Lunatic Asylum that Ruby Jean learns to survive isolation, boredom, and every kind of abuse. Just when she can hardly remember if she's been happy, she learns a lesson about patience and perseverance from an old crow.

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