Yes I can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair
Kendra J. Barrett, Jacqueline B. Toner and Claire A. B. Freeland, Authors
Violet Lemay, Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Nov. 20, 1018
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Disabilities, Self-confidence, Abilities, School, Curiosity, Interaction, Kindness
Opening: This is Carolyn. Like many kids her age, Carolyn loves animals, castles, and building with blocks. She is helpful to her mom and dad and even to her baby brother.
Carolyn is a happy, energetic, caring first-grader who just happens to be in a wheelchair. She’s excited to start her new year of school and make new friends. The other students are curious about Carolyn because she uses a wheelchair. Some are accepting, while other kids are reluctant. Yes I Can! follows Carolyn on a typical day at home, at school, and even on a field trip! She can do almost everything the other kids can, even if sometimes she has to do it a little differently. The other kids become used to Carolyn and notice what she can do.
Why I like this book:
The authors have written a very uplifting story that focuses more on what Carolyn can do, than what she can’t do. Carolyn is very outgoing, social and wants to participate. And there are many things available to help children with disabilities adapt and participate.
I like how the teacher in the story handles Carolyn’s disability in her classroom. She makes sure Carolyn feels included when she asks her to pass out papers, when she invites her to help with the morning song and when she makes sure she can accompany the class on a field trip. This helps Carolyn feels less isolated.
And the teacher has to deal with the other students’ curiosity. Kids are naturally very curious about someone they may perceive as different. Some feel cautious and awkward. They don’t know what to say or how to act. And Carolyn’s teacher is very supportive, so that her school friends feel comfortable including her in school activities, recess, and lunch. The students hardly notice her disability.
The illustrations are expressive, warm and endearing. They show diversity which compliment the book’s theme.
Resources: The book includes a Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers with more information on discussing disabilities with children and helping them to build positive, empathic relationships. I especially like the lists of questions with suggested answers that teachers can use.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by the publisher.