Starting Second Grade

Sam tested into the 2/3 High Ability class at his school and is enjoying being challenged by this new environment. We talked about things a lot before making the decision for him to join this class as they spend a good amount of time involved in Third Grade activities (not only academically but socially). He wanted the challenge and had a few really good friends that would be in the class as well.

So then we were on to the next topic, the first day of class. There would be quite a few kids that didn’t know him at all unlike First Grade, when the majority of the kids remembered the Kindergarten presentation on Differences. Instead of a letter this year, Sam wanted to take his brand new book Different is Awesome in to read.

Sam reading "Different is Awesome" for the first time.
Sam reading “Different is Awesome” for the first time.

We checked with his Teacher, Ms. Terry, and she welcomed the idea. Here is the email we got that evening.

Good evening! I wanted to tell you that having Sam share today was such a special moment for me as a teacher. He wanted to read the entire book to the class by himself. We were all amazed at his bravery to read in front of everyone on the first day of school….an entire book!!! Also, we were amazed by his bravery at talking about his difference so eloquently and openly. He didn’t want to say anything before reading the book. He simply read the book, then stood up and said, “I also was born without a hand. Now you can ask me anything you want about it.” I almost got teary because the kids were so open and accepting. Sam is so blessed to have parents that have taught him these things! Thank you for sending in the book. If you don’t mind, could you send me the title and let me know where I can find a copy that I can keep in my classroom? Sam is very special for a lot of reasons. It was touching to hear the kids start pointing out their own differences, just like the kids in the book.
Thanks so much!
Lindsay Terry
2/3 High Ability Teacher

We’re so lucky to have such an awesome community and friends like Ryan Haack who wrote the amazing book that Sam was so excited to share with his new classmates. Ryan’s book is available on Amazon and quite a few other book retailers, for more information visit his book website at or his blog at

Sam and Ryan when we first met in person, Aug 2012

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