Written as a chapter book for the 2nd grade reading level, Zac’s Mighty Wheels and the Giant Problem by MISD special education teacher Andrea Kurth and her son Owen Kurth, takes the focus off disability and puts it on adventure.
In the book, Zac finds a wishing well and wishes for the wheelchair of his dreams. His wish comes true and he becomes a superhero, just in time to save the town from a classmate who had turned into a giant.
The idea for the book evolved from Kurth’s 20 years of special education teaching, and more recent conversations surfacing in the public about representation. She began to think about the lack of books representing kids with disabilities. Kurth found many books on disabilities, but they were just that – about the disability. A book about a child in a wheelchair focused on the wheelchair, not on the child.
Further inspired by a student named Zac, diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy , and her older brother Bobby Mischley, born with cognitive impairment, Kurth resolved to represent kids with disabilities in books.
She began to brainstorm with her son Owen Kurth, just 8-years-old at the time, and put the ideas on paper. Fast-forward four years, and the book lacked completion. Life, as it does, took precedence over the project. When Kurth asked her son about finishing the book he said, “What book?”.
Determined to finish it, “I had it on my heart. God put it on my heart,” Kurth said, she reached out to Zac’s mother to reaffirm permission to use his name. His mother reminded Zac about the book, and he was excited about it. Sadly, he passed away a few days later and never saw the book go to print.
Kurth went on to finish the book with help from her son. “I needed him for his creativity. There are some one-liners that are completely him,” she said.
Finally, after a lot of research, YouTube videos, and networking, Kurth connected with the right people and published the book. She plans to write sequels, introducing Zac’s friends with different disabilities, who find new adventures and showcase their own superpowers.
Find Zac’s Mighty Wheels and the Giant Problem on Amazon by clicking here
Owen Kurth and Andrea Kurth