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

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book #11 Let's Hear It For Almigal

Almigal is a charming, bubbly little girl reminiscent of Fancy Nancy. She wears pink hearing aids and has a good friend who wears purple ones. She can’t hear all the sounds she wants to hear and decides to get cochlear implants.

Related Information
Name of Book:
Let’s Hear it for Almigal
Wendy Kupfer
Tammie Lyon
Handfinger Press
Year of Pub:
ISBN:     (ISBN-13)
Age range
Type of Disability
Hearing Loss
Need for Cochlear Implants
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

D) books that include a main character with a disability, but the focus of the book is not necessarily the disability

Annotation: Although most of the time, bubbly Almigal feels lucky and happy because she has so many friends and celebrates their differences, sometimes she feels unlucky because she wears hearing aids and cannot hear every single sound. Specifically she would like to be able to hear her mom and dad say they love her as they tuck her into bed at night. Her hearing doctor suggests cochlear implants, and Almigal has a medical procedure to put them in. Afterward, she feels lucky again because she can hear all the sounds around her.
Link to publisher:
Links to professional reviews:

Standards for Quality Portrayal of Characters with a disability
1. Promotes empathy not pity
2. Promotes acceptance, not ridicule
Almigal has a lot of friends.
3. Emphasizes success rather than, or in addition to failure
4. Promotes positive images of persons with disabilities or illness
Almigal is a happy little girl who happens to wear hearing aids.
5. Assists children in gaining accurate understanding of the disability or illness
Yes and No

Some children with hearing loss can be helped to hear better with cochlear implants but not all. This is not mentioned in the story. Also the high cost of cochlear implants is not mentioned.
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
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
Almigal’s hearing loss is not portrayed here as a disability as much as it is a “difference” (like her friend Willy’s need to wear glasses).
12. Represents characters as strong, independent people who others can admire or learn from
The children’s differences are emphasized as strengths that make each child unique.
13. Represents people with disabilities from different racial and cultural backgrounds, religions, age groups, and sexual orientations
Almigal is white, but some of her friends are of different ethnicities
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
Not really, but Almigal is fairly mature and accepting of her “difference” before she gets implants.
Almigal can hear better after receiving the cochlear implants so she is very happy at the end.

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