Nathan's Wish

Nathan's Wish

A Story About Cerebral Palsy

Book - 2005
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A boy with cerebral palsy helps out at a raptor rehabilitation center and is inspired himself when an owl that cannot fly finds another purpose in life.
Publisher: Morton Grove, Ill. : Albert Whitman, 2005
ISBN: 9780807571019
Call Number: jPS LEAR
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 27 cm
Additional Contributors: Schuett, Stacey - Illustrator


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Mar 09, 2018

Full disclosure: I am an adult woman in her 30s living with cerebral palsy.

I wanted to root for this book. I really did. And for about half of the book, things were going fine.

And then all the stereotypes and common misconceptions so many disabled people spend their lives combating reared their head.

Nathan's Wish is to walk normally, and it's "a dream that won't come true." Once he connects with a bird with a broken wing, he starts to think that MAYBE there are things he can do to be helpful and (subtext) give him a purpose in life.

I believe this book was written with the best of intentions. But it could have been approached so much better. Instead of saying, "Maybe I can be helpful, even though these things are very hard for me to do", how much more empowering would it have been to say, "Yes, I have this disability. Look at the cool stuff I can do!" This maybe business is demoralizing, disenfranchising and not helpful to children who are looking to see themselves positively reflected in stories.

We can do better.


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