The name of the book: It’s OK to BE Me! (Just like you, I can Do Almost
The author: Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
The illustrator: Marta Fabrega
Publisher & date of publication: Published by Barron’s Educational Series in
Where you accessed it: Yorkville library
Synopsis of the story: This story is about a boy named Adrian who grows up using a
wheel chair. It shares a positive experience of a boy who grows up learning how to use
the wheel chair very well and learns how to overcome adversity of learning how to play
basketball in his wheel chair through perseverance, trying his best and lots of practice.
The other main characters included in the story are Adrian’s friends from class and his
mom and dad. The story shows positive experiences regarding Adrian having to use a
wheel chair from everyone’s points of view including Adrian himself, his friends from
school and his parents.
A Checklist to Evaluate Children’s Books that Address Disability as
Part of Diversity
Circle T for each statement that is true and F for each statement that is False.
1. Check the Illustrations:
Stereotypes: There are no stereotypes promoted in this book.
T or F
Potential stereotypes of children with physical disabilities includes helplessness and
alienation from other same age children based on the child’s physical disability being viewed as
different and/or not normal. According to Nice Ways to Evaluate Children’s Book,
“Consequently, books that represent children with disabilities should do so in ways that do not
promote stereotypes.” “It is appropriate to have a child with a physical disability in a wheelchair
or using another type of adaptive device as long as the reader also views the child as being a
distinctive individual with his/her own personality and characteristics.”
(www.circleofinclusion.org). An example that this picture book does not promote stereotypes is
the illustration on the front cover, the main character Adrian is shown in a positive manner while
in his wheelchair, with smiles and his arm flexing showing that he can do anything he wants. In
addition, the front cover illustration includes 2 young children smiling and waving at Adrian
showing that children with disabilities are no different than any other children without and he/she
has good friends. (It’s Ok to Be Me!, 2007)
Who’s Doing What: The children/characters with disabilities have leadership
and/or action roles.
T or F
Leadership or action role is when a child with disabilities does not allow their situation to
be a boundary or barrier to their interests; instead they actively pursue their interests. According
to Nice Ways to Evaluate Children’s Book, “The children with disabilities should not only be
active observers while the children without disabilities are always the ‘doers.’”
(www.circleofinclusion.org) For example, in the story, Adrian is really interested in
participating with his friends in sports. Instead of sitting on the side observing the other children
play, Adrian actively begins learning how to be more mobile and maneuverable in his wheel
chair. It was scary at first but he does not let his fear stop him and through perseverance and
practice, he begins to move very well in his wheelchair. He then begins to learn how to dribble a
basketball with the help of his parents and pretty soon, he not only gets to play basketball with
his friends, he makes it onto the school basketball team. (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 28, 2007)
2. Check the Story Line:
Standards for success: The characters with disabilities are accepted for their own
T or F
For the standards for success, the child with disabilities is accepted naturally by their
peers in the story line. According to Nice Ways to Evaluate Children’s Book, “The child should
not have to walk or run with his friends to be accepted by them.” (www.circleofinclusion.org).
In this story, Adrian has lots of friends because, “All the kids at school say Hi, and everybody
loves my sparkly wheels.” (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page10, 2007) Additionally illustrations show
Adrian actively going places and hanging out with his friends, even in the rain. (It’s Ok to Be
Me!, Page9, 2007). In both storyline and illustrations, this picture book shows Adrian is
accepted for who he is.
Resolution of Problems: The characters with disabilities help resolve the problem.
T or F
The main character in this story is shown solving the problem of mobility by himself.
According to Nice Ways to Evaluate Children’s Book, “Look at how the problems in the story
are presented, conceived and resolved.” (www.circleofinclusion.org) For example, one of
Adrian’s biggest challenge with using a wheelchair is learning how to be more mobile by
himself, “I practiced using my wheelchair, all by myself, everyday….and moving my wheelchair
became easier” (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 16, 2007) Another example of Adrian overcoming his
mobility challenge was learning how to move up and down ramps, “…it became very important
to learn how to use a ramp safely. This was the hardest and scariest thing I had to learn…” (It’s
Ok to Be Me!, Page 20, 2007) But through practice Adrian shows that he can easily overcome
this, “All I had to do was take my time.”(It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 22, 2007)
Role of the character with a disability: The same story could be told if the
character did not have a disability.
T or F
This story focuses on successfully overcoming challenges and could be told with Adrian
not having any disabilities and being in a wheel chair. According to Nice Ways to Evaluate
Children’s Book, “This story should be able to be told in the same way even if the main
character did not have a disability.” (www.circleofinclusion.org) The author reinforces this point
with a note to parents by stating “Although this story focuses specifically on a boy in a
wheelchair, the overall message of the story can be useful for every child. All boys and girls
face some kind of difficulty or challenge during their developing years.” And “In the text we
learned that perseverance, determination, and hard work are contributing factors to one’s success
regardless of the challenge.” (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 34, 2007)
3. Consider the Effects on a Child’s Self-Image: There are one or more characters
with whom a child (reader) with a disability can readily identify as a positive
and constructive role model.
T or F
Any child with a disability who reads this picture book can easily and readily identify
with the main character, Adrian as a positive and constructive role model. According to Nice
Ways to Evaluate Children’s Book, “In each story, there should be at least one or more persons
with whom a child with a disability can readily identify as a positive and constructive role
model.” (www.circleofinclusion.org) For example, despite being in a wheelchair, Adrian does
not see this as a negative thing. Illustrations and story line shows his positive nature in seeing
his wheel chair as a good mobility option (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 5, 2007). And when Adrian
faces a challenge, instead of shying away, he tries hard to overcome these challenges through
practice and this type of perseverance is a good role model that any child can relate to. As
Adrian says, “…there were times when I felt like giving up. But I knew I couldn’t, I just had to
keep trying!” (It’s Ok to Be Me!, Page 20, 2007).
4. Consider the Author and/or Illustrator’s Background: The author and/or
illustrator’s background strengthens the value of his/her work.
T or F
The author background’s absolutely helps strengthens her ability as a writer and the value
of her writing. “Look for qualities that the author or illustrator may have that would help them
understand and contribute knowledgeably to a specific theme or topic.”
(www.circleofinclusion.org) For example the author “…graduated with a Bachelor of Social
Work Degree…” and “…worked as a Child Welfare Social Worker…”
(jennifermooremallinos.webs.com). Having an educational and professional background in the
field of social work helps the author understand positive family values and good support systems
required by young children. Understanding this helps her write good stories that have a positive
impact not only on young readers but all readers who shares her stories.
5. This book is developmentally appropriate for preschoolers?
T or F
This book is developmentally appropriate for the preschoolers such as story length,
illustrations, and lay out. According to Ages and Stages, “Three years olds listens attentively to
short stories and books.”, “Three years olds able to tell simple stories from pictures or books.”
(ECEP- 103 Reading Page, Ages and Stages: A Brief Overview – Ages & Stages: Three Year
Olds) For example, this book has 23 pages with nice illustrations and without stereotypes about
child who has physical disabilities. Since preschoolers are able to follow along we can discuss
about the story line as we read through the book and after finishing reading. Additionally the
book is laid out such that one page have words and the opposite page have illustration; this helps
them follow the story and also helps draw their attention into the story more.
First of all, I strongly recommend the book named It’s Ok to Be Me! (Just like
you, I can do Almost anything!). For the preschooler, illustrations are just as important
as it visually supports the story line. Since some preschoolers may not be able to read
along, they can enjoy listening to story and watch the many bright illustrations in the
book. This is important in this book because the illustrations are presented with no
stereotypes, in this case, focusing on a child in a wheelchair who maybe helpless or
alienated by classmates. The main character has plenty of action roles where he learns
how to use effectively his wheelchair. As an ECE, I can talk and scaffold with
preschooler with no stereotypes and having action role illustrations. The article Nine way
to Evaluate Children’s Books introduce what book is good to introduce for children.
“Consequently, books that represent children with disabilities should do so in ways that
do not promote stereotypes.”, “The children with disabilities should not only be active
observers while the children without disabilities are always the ‘doers.’”
Secondly, in the story line, the main character is accepted by his friends at school
just like any other boy in school. The story line and illustrations shows this with
Adrian’s friends who are always smiling and waving at him. Additionally because the
main character has many action roles where he overcomes challenges through strong will
and hard work, children can related to him as a positive role. As an ECE, I can discuss
with preschooler what the character is doing and why he’s doing it, and use Adrian as an
example to encourage them in a positive manner. The article Nine way to Evaluate
Children’s Books introduce what book is good to introduce for children. “Look at how
the problems in the story are presented, conceived and resolved.”, “In each story, there
should be at least one or more persons with whom a child with a disability can readily
identify as a positive and constructive role model.” (www.circleofinclusion.org)
Finally, this book is developmentally appropriate clearly for the preschoolers.
The sentences in the story are not too long and are simple to follow. Thanks to the
colourful and well-illustrated pictures that support the story line, it’s easy for
preschoolers to visualize and understand the positive message the story is sharing. The
level of language and sentence structure is also perfect for the preschoolers.
For this assignment, I have learned that I need to carefully choose children’s book
and how to pick proper book for. Through learning the rules in “Nine Ways to Evaluate
Children’s books that Address Disability as Park of Diversity” I’m more confident in
determining which books are appropriate and support strong developmental values for
young children. I’ve also learned to focus on the child’s self-image when introducing
story books and ensure the characters in the book have a positive impact that preschoolers
can relate to.
Additionally as an international student, I’ve never borrow a book from public
library in Canada. I have learned and now know that the library is a strong source for
good children literature that will help me in my future classes.
One of my biggest strengths will always be hard work and to try to understand the
whole picture of an assignment. Because English is my second language, I know I must
work twice as hard if I want to succeed. Because of this, I started this assignment early
by reviewing many books in the public library to make sure it was a good book for the
assignment. I also read the book and the assignment a few times to make sure I
understood the questions before trying to answer them.
Even though I started this assignment early, it was difficult to pick a good book
because before this assignment, I never thought too much on character requirements.
Completing this assignment has helped me understand that it’s easy to identify a good
book if it fits most of the rules in “Nine Ways to Evaluate Children’s books that Address
Disability as Park of Diversity” even if the characters in the story do not have a disability.
Even though hard work is one of my strengths, English is still my 2nd
was a challenge to connect the rules in “Nine Ways to Evaluate Children’s books that
Address Disability as Park of Diversity” to the story books that I reviewed. But I feel my
English is improving as I complete more assignments.
Mallinos, Jennifer. It's ok to be me!: just like you, I can do almost anything !. Hauppauge, NY: Barrons
Educational Series, Inc., 2007. Print.
ECEP- 103 Reading Page, Ages and Stages: A Brief Overview – Ages & Stages: Three Year
Nice wats to evaluate children’s books that address disability as part of diversity:
The author Jennifer Moore-Mallinos: jennifermooremallinos.webs.com
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