Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Book Alert: Emmanuel's Dream (character)

Title: Emmanuel's Dream: the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
Illustrator: Sean Qualls
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Year: 2015
Word Count: unavailable
Top 10 Element: Character
Awards: A Junior Library Guild Selection

I am participating in Picture Books 14:14, a challenge created by Christie of Write Wild that encourages bloggers to review 14 picture books in 14 days, starting on Feb. 14th.

I was thrilled to find out that I won a copy of Emmanuel's Dream from a giveaway hosted by Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. It arrived earlier this month, and I realized that it would be a great fit with the PB14:14 analysis challenge.

Analysis: Character

When we think about the term "character" in relation to books and stories, we often think about the qualities we ascribe to the invented peoples, animals, and objects that populate them. But character also refers to qualities of real people and to what it means to be a person with a strong or positive character.

Emmanuel's Dream is the powerful true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, and I want to use the opening lines of the book to introduce him to you.

In Ghana, West Africa, a baby boy was born:
Two bright eyes blinked in the light,
two healthy lungs let out a powerful cry,
two tiny fists opened and closed,
but only one strong leg kicked.

Emmanuel is a boy who does not let his disability define himself or his character, and this book highlights his constant perseverance and determination. In order to learn, he hops to school, two miles each way, and must earns the respect and friendship of his classmates. Emmanuel even learns to ride a bike with only one good leg.

What is even more remarkable about his accomplishments is the negative attitudes and stereotypes that he faced. His father left him and his mother shortly after his birth and some people felt that his disability meant that he was cursed or bad luck. People mistreated him or mistook him for a beggar, even when he was working to put himself through school and to support his family through his jobs.

Through the story, the author emphasizes Emmanuel's strong character and his belief in himself. Emmanuel eventually came up with a plan to raise money and create positive awareness of people with disabilities - he completes a long-distance bike ride across Ghana!

This book is a great story and a great tribute to a young man who is still working to change laws and the minds of people. Emmanuel is now a man of great character, and this book will inspire children to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those around them too.

Want more picture book analyses? Click here to read my other posts for Picture Books 14:14 or check out these other great posts for the Picture Book 14:14 Challenge going on the rest of this month.


  1. I put in a purchase request for this PB at my library. But I will probably end up buying a copy. If I don't win one. :)

    1. I was so excited - it was my first giveaway win! Definitely one worth buying for your library or personal collection.

  2. I love hearing about new books. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    1. This one is incredible! Talking to kids about the power of people with disabilities is an important conversation.

  3. Love how the first paragraph sets up the conflict but also forecasts the character..."bright" eyes, "healthy" lungs, "powerful" cry, tiny "fists"...a fighter is born. Great review Katie.

    1. Thanks, Damon. Absolutely, you get the sense that this is one determined baby and eventually boy.


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