Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls

When Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born in Ghana, West Africa, to his mother, he was perfect and beautiful.  Yet, all his father saw was his deformed leg, thinking his son would be useless, he left his family forever.

As Emmanuel grew, his mother told him he could do anything, but despite learning how to crawl and hop, how to do chores, and even earn some money, most people just told Emmanuel to beg.  Here, however, was a strong, determined boy, who managed to get himself to school two miles away, and who even learned to play soccer after saving enough money to buy a ball, aided by the crutches his grandmother found him.

When his mother passed away, Emmanuel realized he would have to support his family.  But the memory of her last words, "don't give up" rang in his ears and Emmanuel came up with a plan to show the world that disabled does not mean unable.  He boldly wrote a letter to the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego, California and they generously responded by sending Emmanuel a bicycle, complete with helmet, shorts, socks and gloves.  Before long, he had mastered riding.

Now, Emmanuel was ready to begin his 400 mile bike ride through Ghana, raising awareness and support for all the disabled people in his country.  He talked to everyone who would listen about his mission and hopes for the disabled.  Emmanuel soon became a national hero.  Oh, and he completed his 400 mile journey in just 10 days!

What a remarkable young man Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is.  Not only did he raise awareness that people with disabilities are valuable members of society who can do great things, but he shows the young reader how one person can take action and actually change the world.

The writing in Emmanuel's Dream is fluid and spare, sometimes sounding like free verse poetry, sometimes like poetic prose, but it all works together.  Sean Qualls' mixed media folk art inspired illustrations are done in a palette of bold mat mainly oranges, browns, and turquoise blues, on a pale peach background, giving the sense of being in a warm, tropical climate.

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah and
his bike today
Emmanuel, who was born in 1977, has continued working as an activist for the disabled in his county.  He eventually made his way to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) at their invitation.  While there, he was able to receive a prosthetic leg and shortly afterwards entered the CAF triathlon.  He also received $50, 000 in award money, and when he returned to Ghana, he founded Emmanuel's Dream, an organization that helps children with disabilities.

If Emmanuel's Dream isn't an inspiration for young readers, I don't know what would be.  This is a wonderful book that should not be missed, but shared with kids in schools, home schools, libraries and personal libraries everywhere.


This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was borrowed from a friend

This is book 4 of my 2015 Nonfiction Picture Book Reading Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy



14 comments:

  1. I am thrilled to read about this inspiring man and the role model he is for other young disabled children. Thanks tons for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks, Ronna. I love these kinds of books that show kids they can make a difference through a person who has done just that. This is a great story.

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  2. I've read other reviews, but this is wonderful, Alex. I do have it on my wish list. I wrote about inspiring people today, too. I think I should begin a list! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I think this is a book you would like, glad it's on your wish list.

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  3. I ditto Linda's comment. Nicely done. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Alyson. It's always a pleasure to share good books.

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  4. I loved this so much, and you did it such justice. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Kellee, I loved it, too. It's so inspiring and well done.

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  5. I just purchased this title for my classroom. I love this book and this story! Thanks for highlighting it here.

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    1. I don't think you will regret that purchase. I hope your kids like it, too.

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  6. Such an inspirational story. Great post, Alex.

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    1. Thanks, Teresa, it really is such an inspiring story, all the more so because it's true.

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  7. I am always on the lookout for titles like this to share with my higher-degree class. I am definitely pinning this title. Plus I lovelovelove picture book biographies. Thanks Alex!

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