Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kid Konnection: Emmanuel's Dream & Giveaway

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you an inspiring picture book that's certainly timely for the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Summary: Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

Includes an author's note with more information about Emmanuel's charity. -- Schwartz & Wade

Every so often, I run across a picture book that is truly spectacular. That's exactly how I felt after reading EMMANUEL'S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls. There is no doubt that this is a beautiful book with an inspiring story. However, that the story is true makes it all the more special in my mind.

EMMANUEL'S DREAM tells the story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. He was born in Ghana, West Africa with a deformed leg. Many people felt that Emmanuel would be useless and some even thought he was cursed, but his mother truly believed in her son and encouraged him to never give up. Emmanuel took his mother's wisdom to heart and, as a boy, he hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer and even ride a bike.

At 13 years old, Emmanuel left home to get a job and provide for his family. He continued riding a bike and eventually became a cyclist. In 2001, he rode 400 miles across Ghana and proved to everyone that a disability won't stop him... or others. Today, Emmanuel continues to share his powerful message.

EMMANUEL'S DREAM is a wonderful book that should be in every elementary school library! I loved the inspiring story of Emmanuel and it definitely warmed my heart... while also making me shed a tear or two. Not only was the story amazing, but the illustrations were gorgeous. Sean Qualls is an acclaimed illustrator and has received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award.

I guess I've been living under a rock, but reading EMMANUEL'S DREAM was the first time I had ever heard of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. His story was made into a film called Emmanuel's Gift which was narrated by Oprah Winfrey, and Emmanuel is a national hero in Ghana. It's no wonder because his story is truly incredible.

Included in the back of the book is an author's note which goes into more detail about Emmanuel's accomplishments. His political activism encouraged the Ghanaian Parliament to pass the Persons with Disability Act and he also maintains a scholarship fund to help children with disabilities attend school. What an amazing man!

I would love to see more books like EMMANUEL'S DREAM presented in our schools. Fortunately, there is a CCSS-aligned curriculum guide which is available here that can help teacher's present this story to their students.

EMMANUEL'S DREAM is a very special book and I truly can't rave enough about it. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review copy of this book.

Follow all the stops on Laurie’s blog tour!

Mon, Jan 12 Great Kid Books
Tues, Jan 13 5 Minutes for Books
Wed, Jan 14 Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Jan 15 Sharpread
Fri, Jan 16 Cracking the Cover
Mon, Jan 19 Once Upon a Story
Tues, Jan 20 Proseandkahn
Wed, Jan 21 Geo Librarian
Thurs, Jan 22 Nonfiction Detectives
Fri, Jan 23 The Fourth Musketeer AND Kirby’s Lane
Mon, Jan 26 NC Teacher Stuff
Tues, Jan 27 Teach Mentor Texts

Giveaway alert: I have a copy of EMMANUEL'S DREAM to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before January 30th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

Wow, what an inspiring and amazing story.

Stacie said...

Sounds like an amazing story. I hadn't heard of him either!

bermudaonion said...

Like you, I've never heard of Emmanuel - now I want to read the book and see the movie. Can you imagine hopping 2 miles? Wow!

Darlene said...

I've never heard of Emmanuel either but this story sounds truly amazing.

Laurie Thompson said...

Julie, thank you so much for hosting the Emmanuel's Dream blog tour today! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book.
p.s. My hubby went to Penn State. Go Nittany Lions! :)

Susan Murray said...

Thank you for Kid's Konnection - always fun to participate!

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

What an inspirational story!