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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Nick Cicero is an ordinary fifth grader when he finds out that he has a kidney disease that will change his life. After falling seriously ill, Nick learns that he was born with one kidney that didn’t work and now his other one is shutting down. His life quickly changes from having to follow a strict diet to being hooked up to a dialysis machine at night so his blood continues to be filtered from toxins. He soon finds out that he needs a kidney in order to get better. One by one his family members and friends are crossed off the list because they aren’t a match. Even though Nick doesn’t seem sad or scared in front of the world, as the months go by he starts to worry if he’ll ever get a transplant. He then gets the idea to encourage people to become organ donors after he finds out that so many people aren’t. Nick’s class and family jump on board and the results are surprising.
I thought A.K.A. Kidney Man by Karen LoBello and Judy Voigt was a really inspiring read. You instantly become invested in the book's main character, Nick, and make the journey with him as he gets used to the drastic changes that happen. This is the first book I’ve read for children that revolves around a child with a chronic long-term disease. Finding out that Nick was a real boy who got through such an ordeal was surprising. I think it’s a perfect book for children and it will also give them a first-hand experience of what it’s like to live with a chronic illness as they step into Nick’s shoes.