Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability

by Shane Burcaw
Grade 1-4


Shane Burcaw was born with a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which hinders his muscles’ growth. As a result, his body hasn’t grown bigger and stronger as he’s gotten older; it’s gotten smaller and weaker instead. This hasn’t stopped him from doing the things he enjoys (like eating pizza and playing sports and video games) with the people he loves, but it does mean that he routinely relies on his friends and family for help with everything from brushing his teeth to rolling over in bed.

Not So Different offers a humorous, relatable, and refreshingly honest glimpse into Shane Burcaw’s life. Shane tackles many of the mundane and quirky questions that he’s often asked about living with a disability and shows readers that he’s just as approachable, friendly, and funny as anyone else.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • What things do you have in common with Shane?
  • What are some of Shane’s strengths?
  • How does Shane use humor to tell his story and educate others? What do you think about this approach? What part of the book was the funniest to you?
  • If you could ask Shane any question, what would it be?

Classroom activities from SOMN