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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book #2 Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Related Information
Name of Book:
Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Genevieve Petrillo

Lea Lyon
Tilbury House, Publishers

Year of Pub:


Age range
6-10 (or even older)

Type of Disability

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

Davey is the new kid in class. He’s typical in every way, except that he is blind. Eager to assist Davey in any way they can, the other students ask whether they can help him get around and complete the activities. But Davey, determined to show them he can do everything himself, gives the same answer every time:  “Thanks, but no thanks.” They get the hint and stop asking how they can help him. But during recess, it’s time to play kickball, and Davey keeps missing the ball or running into people. Nobody wants him on the team. The kids’ moods are low until one of them comes up with a plan.  Through innovation and determination, they provide Davey with the tools he needs to play the game. And most important, Davey is able to maintain his independence and dignity AND learn how to accept what others have to offer. Vivid, realistic, portrait-like illustrations.
Link to publisher:
Links to professional reviews:
Moonbeam Award (bronze), 2008; http://www.moonbeamawards.com/


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
The book jacket provides information about the real person who was the inspiration for the character (David DeNotaris) and about assistive technology used today by students with visual impairments.
6. Demonstrates respect for persons with disabilities or illness

7. Promotes attitude of  “one of us” not “one of them.”
Especially so!
8. Uses people-first language
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
The illustrations play a major role here.
13. Represents people with disabilities from different racial and cultural backgrounds, religions, age groups, and sexual orientations
Character is white. Classmates are culturally diverse.
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
This is a main point of the book.

Watch for an interview with the illustrator, Lea Lyon!

1 comment:

  1. This book seems like a great learning tool for kids. I like that it emphasizes Davey's desire for independence as well as his and his classmates' personal growth in their interactions with each other. It's also interesting to know that it's written based on the experience of a real person.