Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

Yes I can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

Kendra J. Barrett, Jacqueline B. Toner and Claire A. B. Freeland, Authors

Violet Lemay, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, Nov. 20, 1018

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Disabilities, Self-confidence, Abilities, School, Curiosity, Interaction, Kindness

Opening: This is Carolyn. Like many kids her age, Carolyn loves animals, castles, and building with blocks. She is helpful to her mom and dad and even to her baby brother.


Carolyn is a happy, energetic, caring first-grader who just happens to be in a wheelchair. She’s excited to start her new year of school and make new friends. The other students are curious about Carolyn because she uses a wheelchair. Some are accepting, while other kids are reluctant. Yes I Can! follows Carolyn on a typical day at home, at school, and even on a field trip! She can do almost everything the other kids can, even if sometimes she has to do it a little differently. The other kids become used to Carolyn and notice what she can do.

Why I like this book:

The authors have written a very uplifting story that focuses more on what Carolyn can do, than what she can’t do. Carolyn is very outgoing, social and wants to participate. And there are many things available to help children with disabilities adapt and participate.

I like how the teacher in the story handles Carolyn’s disability in her classroom. She makes sure Carolyn  feels included when she asks her to pass out papers, when she invites her to help with the morning song and when she makes sure she can accompany the class on a field trip.  This helps Carolyn feels less  isolated.

And the teacher has to deal with the other students’ curiosity.  Kids are naturally very curious about someone they may perceive as different. Some feel cautious and awkward. They don’t know what to say or how to act. And Carolyn’s teacher is very supportive, so that her school friends feel comfortable including her in school activities, recess, and lunch. The students hardly notice her disability.

The illustrations are expressive, warm and endearing. They show diversity which compliment the book’s theme.

Resources: The book includes a Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers with more information on discussing disabilities with children and helping them to build positive, empathic relationships. I especially like the lists of questions with suggested answers that teachers can use.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the publisher.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

26 thoughts on “Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

  1. So happy you featured this book today. My local children’s librarian was asking about book resources for parents who ask her for books featuring differently-abled children, those experiencing loss, and other tough times. Your blog was the first one I mentioned.


  2. Would love to read the back matter especially! Interesting side note – Lori Kilkelly recently posted on Facebook about where to locate contemporary image references and information for illustrators including children in wheelchairs for picture books. There are SO many factors to consider. I always wonder if showing one child pushing another is a good thing to show (They are friends – hooray!) or not (Did they ask permission first? Do they know how to be safe?) So, as noted, would love to read the back matter! ❤


    • It came out last November, so they may have it! It was on my TBR pile and it is taking me a while to catch up. I have a wonderful MG book I’m sharing on Monday that has a differently-abled girl in it, so I wanted to publish my reviews close together.


  3. This sounds like a very beneficial book to share with all children and adults. So often, I think adults underestimate how many kids with disabilities can be included with minor adaptations. Thanks for the rec!


  4. Focusing on our abilities rather than on the things we can’t do adeptly yet is such a great approach; I love that the opening page mentions nothing about this sweet child’s challenge. Thanks for always scouting out such healing titles.


  5. I just know I’d love this book, Patricia. I like that it concentrates on what children can do, and the diversity depicted on the cover is great. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Pingback: Wheelchair Books for Kids: Iron Man Exoskeletons – PragmaticMom

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