We Move Together is a terrific book, in two parts: the first part is a story, followed by a closer look at the ideas and illustrations in the book. I am 12, almost 13, and I have read many kids’ books about disability in my life. This is my favorite book about disability because I see not only myself in it (I use a wheelchair, an AAC device, and a GTube, and a lot of disability books don’t include me), but I also see my friends who wear hijabs and my gay god-uncles in the colorful illustrations—just like in real life.
My friend who is a preschool teacher tells me that the text is good for young readers—preschool to age eight—because it is simple to read. Some pages have only three words. Older readers will like it, too, because it gives a child’s perspective on a huge, important issue: moving together in disability justice.
Many disabilities and accommodations are represented, including tube feeding, motor disabilities, tracheotomies, Deafness, and Blindness. I had never seen children with tracheotomies or feeding tubes in a book! It made me feel surprised and very excited that I could see somebody who looked like me in this way! I love the opening poem (about disability justice, written by Aurora Levins Morales and Patty Berne) which says, “All bodies are unique and essential.”
In addition to disability issues, the authors talk about other important social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and saving the environment. ACCESSIBILITY and INCLUSION are the book’s big themes.
Each page is really touching. Activities shown include playing in the lake, protesting, creating posters, and shopping. I love the page about being “stopped in our tracks” by inaccessible stores. This is straight out of my life! Two summers ago, I fell in my manual chair on steps to the candy store my friends all love and I lost my two adult front teeth! It feels terrible to get stuck outside and even injured, but the book shows solutions, too! My only criticism is that I’d like no curbs at all between roads and sidewalks (with rumble strips)! Maybe that’s too radical and for the next generation of disability books!
Bookstores should make this book available for everyone, including (grand)parents, teachers, and all community members. This book should be used for book clubs or to start a talk about inclusion. I highly recommend this book to all of our libraries, especially any kid’s school or home library.
Editor’s Note—quoted directly from the book’s back cover: “Activities, image descriptions and other accessible reading resources available on our website: www.wemovetogether.ca.”
Title: We Move Together
Authors and Illustrator: Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire (Authors); Eduardo Trejos (Illustrator)
Publisher: AK Press
About the Reviewer
Leo True-Frost is a 7th grade student at JD Middle School in Jamesville, NY. He was born with cerebral palsy which affects his mobility (uses a wheelchair), speech (communicates with a speech generating device), and digestion (has a g-tube.) Leo’s poetry has been published in Unique Magazine and he loves to read and write. Leo enjoys adaptive sports like rock climbing, skiing, and horse riding. He has traveled a lot, and is a big fan of Broadway musicals.
Leo True-Frost’s art, “Amazing Ocean” and “Barry Park Sunset,” are published in this issue of Wordgathering.