Max has vision, though he is blind. He leads them, though he is in a wheelchair.
Gary Neil Gupton has been writing and traveling for pleasure in his life, but recently he combined his experience into a story for young people: Time to Meet Max. It was published late last year. Gupton says the story is fiction, but it is inspired by a young man he met on one of his trips to Guatemala. He says the book would be perfect for kids around 3rd grade, but as he describes the story, it seems a wider audience might appreciate the characters he created.
EXCERPT from Chapter 3: The Three Guacamoles
The tuk-tuk pulls in front of the Old Antigua Inn. Cole jumps down and Anna hands him the bag of avocados, jug of salsa and the giant bag of chips. Anna steps down after him.
"Thank you, senor." She hands the hoins to the young tuk-tuk driver.
"Gracias, senorita." He smiles and tips his straw hat.
"De nada." Anna returns a smile.
"Practicing your Spanish, Anna?" Cole smirks.
"Si." She tosses her head back, chin up.
"See what?" Cole looks around.
Anna and Cole push the heavy dark wooden doors open and enter the grand floral courtyard. The fountain splashes and splatters droplets of water on them as they walk on the stone pavers around the center of the courtyard. Immediately they are greeted by a boy with dark skin, about their age, seated in a wheelchair situated in a square of late afternoon sunlight.
"Hola! You must be Anna and Cole." He greets them with a friendly smile.
"Uh, yes, we are." Anna steps forward. "How do you know us - and who are you?"
"I'm Max. My father owns the inn." The boy wheels around in his wheelchair, squaring off with Cole.
"Your father?" Cole steps back to get a good look at Max.
"Yes - Big Papa! Didn't you see him in the Maxi Mart today? He said he saw you." Max lifts his head to face Cole.
Cole is startled and stumbles back, stepping on Anna's foot. He had never seen such eyes. Max's eyes are milky white.