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, September 23, 2013

Book #21 The Little Yellow Bottle

This is a story about war and disability and how both affect innocent children. It is also about resilience and optimism and children’s natural will to live and play. This story could be used to help children recovering from any kind of war situation, including terrorist attacks in the U.S. or anywhere in the world. It might be especially relevant to children who lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombing last April. This story uses a role model—an adult who has been through a similar attack—to inspire the child to keep living and realize his potential. After the Boston Marathon attack, people who had lost limbs in the past came to the hospitals in Boston to inspire those wounded in the attack. “People helping people” is an important theme of this story.

Related Information
The Little Yellow Bottle
Translated from the
French: Petite bouteille jaune
Angele Delaunois
No specific web site
Christine Delezenne
Second Story Press
Year of Pub:
Age range
Age range is my opinion. This book could be read with younger children who have lost a limb or whose siblings have lost a limb.
Type of Disability
Loss of limbs
Fiction or Nonfiction
Theme of war; bombs exploding where children are playing
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 story line 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 whose focus is not necessarily the disability

Annotation:  Marwa and Ahmad are playing soccer in a shaded forest near their village when Ahmad comes across a little yellow bottle. The children don’t connect the bottle with the airplane that dropped bombs near the village a few days before. Ahmad picks up the bottle, and it blows up, severely injuring both children. Ahmed loses an arm and a leg, and Marwa, the narrator, has cuts all over her body. The rest of the story is Marwa’s account of her own recovery and how her friend Ahmed slowly returns to living and laughing, learns to use crutches and then a prosthetic leg, and becomes the coach of the soccer team. The illustrations are combinations of drawings, collage, and photography. The dark colors and mixed media emphasize the characters’ physical and emotional struggles as they heal.
Link to publisher:
Links to professional reviews:
If you know of any rewards this book has received, please let me know.

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
Ahmed learns to walk on his prosthetic leg and becomes a soccer coach.
4. Promotes positive images of persons with disabilities or illness
5. Assists children in gaining accurate understanding of the disability or illness
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
12. Represents characters as strong, independent people who others can admire or learn from
Ahmed is the best soccer coach the team has ever had.
13. Represents people with disabilities from different racial and cultural backgrounds, religions, age groups, and sexual orientations
Characters have Arabic names (Marwa and Ahmed) and they are depicted as being from a country in Africa or Asia.
14. Shows people with disabilities in integrated settings and activities
15. Shows people with disabilities in valued occupations and diverse roles.
Soccer player, soccer coach, mentor
16. Shows people with disabilities in reciprocal relationships
Marwa and Ahmed remain good friends.
17. Main character develops and grows emotionally as a result of what happens in the story
Both the narrator and her friend grow emotionally.


  1. I love how you went into such detail with this!

    1. Thanks Christina. Interestingly, the Kirkus review was not very positive. I'd love it if you would become a follower of this blog.

  2. With the news from Syria, this book seems timely again. Or, even more saddening- when has it not been?