Seven picture books starring shapes 24/11/20
I Am Not A Label
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
In this powerful and stylishly attractive non-fiction book, Cerrie Burnell introduces the reader to 34 disabled role models.
From the famous to the less well-known, and from the past to the bang-up-to-date, she shares their stories. And a wonderfully eclectic range of stories it is too, each introduced with humour and heart. Essentially a collection of biographical accounts, the book achieve so much more, deftly avoiding repetition by focusing on each individual’s unique experience and powerfully reminding us of the diverse spectrum encompassed by the word ‘disability’. Along with the likes Beethoven, Helen Keller and Stephen Hawking, it also introduces less familiar stories such as Lady Gaga’s life with fibromyalgia, Lil Wayne’s epilepsy and Dynamo’s experience of Crohn’s disease.
Be assured, this is a not just an inspirational book celebrating difference. Nor is it a book that simply says you can be a hero ‘despite’ being disabled. Crucially, this is a book that also recognises that you do not have to be a hero. As comedian Stella Young (one of those featured) points out, disability is neither a disaster nor a gift – it is just another normal. It can be wonderful, it can be tedious, it can be hilarious. Just like anyone else’s life.
Fascinating, funny, informative, this is a much-needed anthology that breaks stereotypes and challenges assumptions.