Welcome to Picture Books for All

Children of all abilities should see themselves in the books they read. That's what makes reading fun. There are many picture books that include characters with disabilities; some are excellent in terms of their portrayal of these characters, some are pretty good, and some miss the mark. This blog features these picture books and evaluates them based on standards for quality in children's books that portray characters with disabilities. For more information, see the first post entitled "Welcome to Picture Books for All." (Click here) Welcome to Picture Books For All

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book #1 Featherless Desplumado

Book #1 Featherless Desplumado

I LOVED this book!  Not only does it portray Tomasito positively in every way possible, it is beautifully written and vividly illustrated. Here's the evaluation:

Related Information
Name of Book:
Featherless Desplumado

Juan Felipe Herrera

Ernesto Cuevas, Jr.
Children’s Book Press/Editorial Libros para Ninos

Year of Pub:


Age range
4-10 (or even older)

Type of Disability
Spina bifida

Fiction or Nonfiction

Category:  B

A) books that provide factual information about a disability

B) books that provide information about a disability in a story format in which the character with a disability is integral to the plot

C) books that provide stories that have a character with a disability who may or may not be integral to the storyline and who has been added to the story to achieve diversity and reflect reality

(Categories borrowed from J.K. Blaska's book Using Children's Literature to Learn About Disabilities & Illnesses: For Parents and Professionals Working With Young Children, 2nd ed.; 2003; Educators International Press, Inc. Troy, NY)

Tomasito has just moved to another town with his Papi and wants to fit in and play soccer with the other kids, not an easy task when you’re in a wheelchair. Tomasito wishes he didn’t have to answer all the questions about why he cannot walk. When Papi brings Tomasito a little bird with a curled-up leg and no feathers, Tomasito feels bad that the bird can’t fly. But with a little encouragement from Papi and a girl at school, Tomasito finds a way to help himself and his bird. “There’s more than one way to fly!” he concludes. Written in English and Spanish.
Links to professional reviews

Standards for Quality Portrayal of Characters with a disability
1. Promotes empathy not pity

2. Promotes acceptance, not ridicule

3. Emphasizes success rather than, or in addition to failure

4. Promotes positive images of persons with disabilities or illness

5. Assists children in gaining accurate understanding of the disability or illness
Good explanation of spina bifida at the end of the book.
6. Demonstrates respect for persons with disabilities or illness

7. Promotes attitude of  “one of us” not “one of them.”

8. Uses people-first language
People-first and poetic!
9. Describes the disability or person with disabilities or illness as realistic (not subhuman or superhuman)

10. Depicts people with disabilities as more similar to than different from other people

11. Shows peoples’ strengths and abilities along with their disabilities

12. Represents characters as strong, independent people who others can admire or learn from

13. Represents people with disabilities from different racial and cultural backgrounds, religions, age groups, and sexual orientations
Main character is Hispanic.
14. Shows people with disabilities in integrated settings and activities

15. Shows people with disabilities in valued occupations and diverse roles.

16. Shows people with disabilities in reciprocal relationships

17. Main character develops and grows emotionally as a result of what happens in the story

1 comment:

  1. Holly, thank you so much for sharing this blog. It is great! I reall think the books would be a great resource for parents as well as teacher’s. Skimming over several of the books, it seems as though a lot of these books would also be helpful for students who face the day to day challenges. I am particularly interested in reading, Keep Your Ear On the Ball.
    Kelly Lachance