Anya’s Secret Society by Yevgenia Nayberg
Anya was born with a dominant left hand. She was also born into a Russian culture that considered the right hand as the "legitimate" hand. Even the word "right" meant not only a direction, but also "correct."
When this resourceful and determined little girl recognized that local norms frowned upon use of the left hand, she taught herself to use her right hand for most activities. Anya was able to master even difficult tasks with this hand.
However, there was one activity in which it was impossible to use her right hand: drawing. Her brain could only process and create images with her dominant hand, her left hand.
Anya created a special stratagem to live within the confines of Russian expectations and still express herself: a secret society. She learned that great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelango, and Rembrandt were left-handed. When she was alone, she would put on a mask and pretend to be in the company of famous left-handed artists. The secret society was the place where she felt that she could safely create.
Then life took a surprising turn. Her parents chose to leave Russia and immigrate to America. In addition to all the differences she encountered in this new country, Anya was astonished to learn that left-hand dominance was not considered wrong. Schools were equipped with scissors and desks to accommodate children with either dominant hand. Her teacher did not seem to notice or care which hand Anya chose to use.
Art: A Visual Treat
While the story is specific to left-handedness, the message that basic traits in individual children are neither “right” nor “wrong” is powerful.