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"The Running Dream" by Wendelin Van Draanen; Alfred Knopf, 352 pages ($16.99)

In addition to writing the Sammy Keyes mystery series, "Flipped" (which was made into a movie) and other popular books, Wendelin Van Draanen is a long-distance runner and her passion for running shines through in this compelling novel about a high school track star.

Jessica Carlisle has just broken the league record in the 400-meter when a truck crashes into the track team bus, killing a teammate and crushing Jessica's right leg so it has to be amputated below the knee. Running is Jessica's life; without running, who is she?

The author vividly describes Jessica's healing process, the anger, the depression, the therapy, the doctors' visits, the fittings for an artificial leg, and then, with her team's help, a fundraising campaign for a high-tech leg that will help her run again.

While the book sounds depressing, it's actually inspiring, as Jessica learns to run again and discovers a new empathy for others who are facing obstacles including a classmate with cerebral palsy who becomes her math tutor.

-- Jean Westmoore



The YWCA of the Tonawandas and the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda, continue the family film series with "Megamind" (PG) at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $2. For information, call 692-2413.



Sometimes people eat or drink so fast or get so excited that they begin to hiccup. We hiccup when something causes the diaphragm to spasm. The diaphragm is the large muscle that separates the thorax (the part of the body that contains the lungs and heart) from the abdomen (the part of the body that contains the stomach and intestines).

This spasm causes you to take a breath, which is suddenly stopped when the vocal cords close.

But how do you stop hiccups?

There's no sure way to cure them, but you can try holding your breath for 30 seconds, then exhaling gradually. You can also breathe into a paper bag five times in a row or take several gulps of water without stopping.

-- "Time Book of Why"

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