Friday, February 10, 2017


I'm crazy about EMMANUEL'S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, a picture book written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls.

Schwartz & Wade/Random House, 2015

Here's the flap copy:
One person can change the world.

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

Here is the inspiring true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who cycled an incredible four hundred miles across Ghana--with only one strong leg--to spread his powerful message: disability does not mean inability.

Yes! What an important message! Also, what an incredible book!

As anyone who's tried to write a picture book can attest, picture books, which seem so simple, are difficult to write. To be able to tell a complete story using so few words is a huge accomplishment. Add to that the required research for a well-told biography and the ability to boil it all down to a meaningful story, using language that's accessible to young readers--wow! Yet Laurie manages it skillfully. Every word feels right. Laurie pulls readers in, describing when baby Emmanuel was born. And that's just the first page! EMMANUEL'S DREAM is gorgeous, and the story is inspiring without feeling didactic.The whole book is packed with heart because of the true story of Emmanuel, Laurie's excellent words, and Sean Qualls's art. The illustrations are strikingly beautiful with light backgrounds and bold colors, and they convey so much emotion. There's story in the illustrations, and I love the illustrator's images, colors, and flavor.

EMMANUEL'S DREAM was the winner of the ALA Youth Media Awards Schneider Family Children's Book Award in 2016, and it was a Junior Library Guild selection. This page on Laurie's website shows an impressive list of the book's awards, honors, and reviews.

Laurie is the Nonfiction Coordinator and CoPAL (Published and Listed) Liaison for SCBWI Western Washington. I've known her for years through SCBWI, and she's super nice. Check out her website here.

I've just discovered Sean Qualls, and I love his artwork! These are links to his blog and website. Here is a link to a great interview with him from 2008. He talks about his background and his process.

Yesterday, bookseller Victoria Irwin and I were admiring my copy of EMMANUEL'S DREAM at Eagle Harbor Book Company, and we posed for a picture.

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How about you? Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both? What's your favorite nonfiction book for children or teens?


Laurie Thompson said...

Thank you so much, Dawn! What a huge joy and honor to see Emmanuel's Dream here on your blog. I'm thrilled that you connected with the book in such a meaningful way. And, I'm looking forward to reading your novel someday soon! xoxo

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - sounds like a great book - and a 'must add' to our school library. Thanks for the tip - can't wait to pick it up :)

Lynda R Young said...

Sounds like a very special book. The subject matter is close to my heart. I'm not surprised it got an award.

Dawn Simon said...

Laurie, it's an important book! I'm so happy to post about it!

Jemi, you and the kids at school will love it. <3

Lynda, the subject matter is close to my heart as well. It's a very special book.

Thank you for visiting and commenting!

DMS said...

This sounds amazing! I love the message. I will definitely be reading this one! Thanks for sharing. :)

Dawn Simon said...

You're welcome, Jess! You'll love it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Crystal Collier said...

My goodness, the book sounds fabulous. It's definitely one I'd love to read to my littles. My younger son would especially love it. (He deals with a few minor disabilities.)

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Crystal! It really is fabulous. I'm glad you know about it! I bet all your kids will appreciate it. <3