This excerpt of a Press Release by Caroline Sun for PIECE BY PIECE – How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) is reprinted with permission from the authors.
David Aguilar was born missing part of one arm, a small detail that seemed to define his life and limit people’s ideas of who he was and who he could be. David and his father, Ferran Aguilar, have written an uplifting memoir, PIECE BY PIECE How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required), where he proves that he can throw out the rulebook and people’s expectations and maybe even make a difference in the world.
David’s curiosity and innovation began at age five when he received his first set of LEGO® bricks. By the age of nine, he designed his first rudimentary prosthesis with the toy bricks, and at the age of 18, he built the next generation, named the MK1, a fully functioning prosthetic arm with a moveable elbow and grabber to pick things up. David continues to refine his prosthetic invention and now has a series of five different models—his latest, the MK5, fully articulates and has fingers that move using a set of mechanical pulleys. David’s incredible story was featured in a video for Great Big Story which has garnered over 32M views.
A recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his inspiring initiatives and their social impact, David won the Guinness World record for building the first functional LEGO® prosthetic arm in 2017. Two years later, NASA invited him to participate in the 2019 Cross Industry Innovation Summit. Additionally, the educational arm of LEGO® has invited him to work on pieces for its Spike™ Prime series, playful learning tools that encourage students to explore STEAM concepts. David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival.
Now 22, David, alongside his father and co-author, Ferran, is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. With a voice full of humor and heart, David tells his powerful story, of family and friendship, of heartbreak and loss, and ultimately of triumph and success, as he continues to dream big and build an inspiring life and a better world―piece by piece.
The book will be published on October 25, 2022 through Amazon Crossing Kids, an imprint that publishes children’s literature and translations from around the globe to encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives.
“With humor and candor, [Aguilar] describes contending with pity, bullying, and romantic heartbreak as a result of his limb difference. Readers will sympathize with his desire to fit in, his frustration at encountering setbacks, and his struggles with high school academics after his beloved Abuela’s death. … While readers needn’t be LEGO® fans to admire David’s ingenuity, fellow builders may be inspired to dream up their own inventions. Humorous and uplifting.”—Kirkus Reviews
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, of English and Spanish publications.