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One-Handed Catch

One-Handed Catch. Auch, Mary Jane; Henry Holt, 2006.

Grade Level: 6-8

ISBN : 9780805079005, 0805079009 & 16.95

one handed catch

Blanket Permission to Reproduce Book Jackets:

Preferred wording: “Used by permission of Henry Holt and Company.”

Synopsis: After losing his hand in a meat grinder, Norman learns to do for himself again and works hard to obtain his long desire to play baseball and to draw.

General Review:

  This book is based on a true story of what happened to the author’ s husband when he was a boy. It will not only encourage the child with a disability but also those who work and live around someone with a disability. Norman is a strong, loving, optimistic character. The book is easy to read and flows smoothly. Once you sit down to read you won’t want to put it down.

Themes: Disabilities, Friendships, Physically Handicapped, Amputees; Self-reliance; People with disabilities; Family life – New York (State); New York (State) – History – 20 the Century

Author information

Discussion Questions: (Standard 3; Benchmark 3)


  • Why is N orman so interested in Pete Gray?
  • Why was his Mom so hard on him after the accident? Can we be too helpful to someone with a disability?
  • What did Norm decide to do for the Boy Scout Jamboree? Did he make the team? How did that affect Norm’s attitude and the other boys? What did he end up doing for the Boy Scout troop?
  • Who gave Norm the right handed mitt and why?
  • Did Norm make the baseball team? How?



  • Begin your lesson on disabilities by assessing your student’s prior knowledge using a K-W-L chart. List on a chart the facts that your students already know about disabilities. Next ask them to tell you what they want to know. After reading the book, have students tell you what they have learned. (Standard 1, Benchmark 3)
  • Select a significant event from the book and draw an illustration. Be sure to include the page number(s) where the event takes place and write an original caption for the illustration. (Standard 5, Benchmark 3)
  • Using Internet and book research, have students write a report on someone famous who has overcome their disability such as Franklin Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Pete Gray, Anne Sullivan, Carol Johnston, etc. . (Standard 1, Benchmark 5)
  • Read the interview with the author, MJ Auch, at the web site listed below. Using a Venn diagram, compare and contrast the author’s husband, Herm with Norm Schmidt. What type of summary statement could you make based on the completed Venn Diagram? (Standard 3, Benchmark 1)
  • Draw a timeline for the events chronicled in this story, beginning with losing his hand on July 4 th – a year later. Standard 3 Benchmark 1
  • Have the students not use one arm the entire class. Then give them a little hands-on activities and see how creative or frustrated they get using only one hand. (Standard 3, Benchmark 2)


Similar Books for Further Reading:

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Carol Johnston: The One-Armed Gymnast/ by Pete Donovan

Million Dollar Putt by Dan Gutman

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

The Window by Jeanette Ingold

Stranded by Ben Mikelson

Pete Gray, One-Armed Major Leaguer by W.G. Nicholson

Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr (high school characters/situations)

Beating the Odds by Mary Packard

Izzy Willy Nilly by Cynthia Voight (high school characters/situations; former WAW Awards nominee) By Retta Eiland