written by Laurie Ann Thompson; illustrated by Sean Qualls
2015 (Schwartz and Wade Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Emmanuel was born with only one strong leg. His father left, but his mother stayed strong. Mama Comfort pushed Emmanuel to be independent. When he became too heavy for his mother to carry him, Emmanuel hopped to school on one leg two miles each way every day. Is it possible to be uplifted and have your heart break at the same time? I wondered that as I read that page. Emmanuel continued pushing forward. Unfortunately, perhaps his biggest obstacle came when Mama Comfort was so sick that she could not work any longer. Emmanuel, at age 13, left his mother and siblings to find work in the city of Accra which was 150 miles away. He eventually found work and was sending money home when word came that Mama Comfort was dying. As he was by her bedside, she told Emmanuel, "Be respectful, take care of your family, don't ever beg. And don't ever give up." The next morning, Christmas Day, she passed away. Emmanuel used this tragedy to spur his dream. He procured a bike and other equipment from an American foundation. He rode his bicycle nearly 400 miles around his home country of Ghana. During this journey, he spread his message of respect for people with disabilities.
Unbelievable! This guy could have given up several times during his life but he just kept pushing and pushing. Emmanuel is inspiring. He spurs you to want to take action. Emmanuel's Dream will be perfect for our wax museum biography project. I can already see a student with a bike and a tri-fold board talking to visitors. This book is also great for teaching character and about character traits. Who would be better for talking about determination? I would definitely recommend Emmanuel's Dream to school counselors and classroom teachers.
Here is the link to the curriculum guide for Emmanuel's Dream: http://www.scribd.com/doc/251881365/Emmanuel-s-Dream-Curriculum-Guide#scribd
Emmanuel now works with the U.S. Amputee National Soccer Team.