Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: What Do You Use to Help Your Body?: Maggie Explores the World of Disabilities

Review by Wayne S. Walker

What Do You Use to Help Your Body?: Maggie Explores the World of Disabilities
By: Jewel Kats and Richa Kinra
Published by:  Loving Healing Press Inc.; Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61599-082-5
Price: $16.95
Ages: 4 and up
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

     Synopsis:  What is the best way to help children understand disabilities and the assistive devices that people use to help them with their disabilities?  Maggie and her mother are going on a walk, and Maggie asks, “What will I learn about on today’s walk?”  Here’s what she finds out.  Liz, who sells fresh flowers on the street, is hearing impaired and needs a hearing aid.  David, who is a paraplegic, uses a wheelchair.  Justin, who teaches a hip-hop dance class, has an artificial leg.  Mrs. Ali, who writes poetry, needs a walker.  Yan, who paints in the park, can’t speak clearly and has a communication board.  Dr. Sharma uses a cane to help him stay balanced.  Todd is blind and has a trained guide dog.  Katrina, who works as a crossing guard, needs an arm brace to keep the pain away.  Maggie herself has an eye problem.  What assistive device do you think she uses to strengthen her eyesight?

     Overall thoughts: Parents want their children to be sensitive to people with disabilities.  Furthermore, parents of children with disabilities want those children to have hope.  Author Jewel Kats, who also wrote Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story About Sexual Abuse and Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair, uses this charming fictional story to teach youngsters that disabilities occur in every culture to people from different backgrounds and that working with a disability is a very real possibility for many people.  With the colorful, full-page illustrations by Richa Kinra, kids can satisfy their curiosity about various disability aids and how they work in a non-imposing manor.  In addition, the book can be used as a motivational tool for youngsters who have disabilities.  At the end, Maggie says, “Now, I can ask grownups about their ‘assistive devices’ all the time.”  But when Momma says that not all people are comfortable talking about their disabilities, Maggie decides, “I’ll be respectful like you taught me.”  What Do You Use to Help Your Body? is a wonderful resource to introduce preschoolers or young elementary age children to disabilities and accommodations.

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