People with disabilities, parents, teachers, and those curious about how a child’s mind works will find a fascinating story in this memoir of Dena and Becky Taylor’s struggles and triumphs navigating Becky’s childhood and adulthood with cerebral palsy. Told in their two distinct perspectives, this intimate story recounts how their lives have been impacted but not defined by Becky’s disability. Becky was one of the first children to be mainstreamed into public school by the 1975 Santa Cruz County law, and the Taylors’ pivotal action hugely contributed to California’s education and transportation for disabled children.
“This book should be required reading for teachers and everyone in equity and critical disability studies.” –Gloria Filax, Professor of Disability Studies, Athabasca University
TELL ME THE NUMBER BEFORE INFINITY, THE STORY OF A GIRL WITH A QUIRKY MIND, AN ECCENTRIC FAMILY, AND OH YES, A DISABILITY describes life and the realities of having a disability in 60 short chapters, arranged chronologically. Although several books on disabilities already exist, the use of two narrations is unique. The subject is Becky Taylor, from her birth in 1972 to about age forty. The mother, Dena Taylor, begins the book by telling us about her daughter's earliest years, discovering Becky's cerebral palsy, and her exceptional gift for calculus and depth of thought at the age of four. Then Becky and Dena, from their own distinct perspectives and styles, in counterpoint, write of Becky's early childhood, school years with the family, and on to college and adulthood. Stan Rushworth wrote about the book: "..we experience the honest, blended lives and feelings of these two women, navigating all that happens together from birth through adulthood, from different viewpoints that are very deeply intermingled.... carries strength, humor, and pain, and it will make a profound difference in people's lives."
TELL ME THE NUMBER BEFORE INFINITY is a hero's journey with Becky Taylor at the forefront of the 1975 federal education act mainstreaming disabled children into the public schools. Parents, teachers, people with disabilities, people who know and work with people with disabilities, those curious about how a child's mind works, and even brain researchers will find TELL ME THE NUMBER BEFORE INFINITY a fascinating and informative read. The title is Becky's answer to her father's question to her as to whether infinity is an odd or an even number. She was four years old at the time, the same age as she was in the cover photo.
Becky Taylor has a degree in accounting, and is a Computer Science graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She lives in Santa Cruz where she vice-chairs the Commission on Disabilities, and is involved in other civic organizations. Dena Taylor, M.S.W., Rutgers University, is the mother of two grown daughters, and is retired from careers in social work and education. She is the author, editor and co-editor of six books on women's issues.
Included are 20 photos and newspaper clippings from throughout Becky's life, and resources with links at the end of the book.