Helen Wolfe & Karen Patkau
Aimed at ages 9-12, this book profiles disabled women. And let’s be clear, this isn’t inspiration p*rn. Both author and illustrator are members of the disabled community! I’m asked for recommendations a lot, and there are some books out there that address disability narratives. But there are very few that come from voices inside the community. Being adjacent to a disabled person is not the same. There, I said it. Now, let’s continue to the actual review of Unstoppable.
Unstoppable profiles an array of figures, and they’re all badass. Paralympic athletes (Zhang Haidi), comedians (Maysoon Zayid), academics (Haben Girma), and others lend their stories to this book. Each double page spread has a large portrait of the figure and the other has a biography about the individual. Y’all know I love a collection of biographies, and this is a fabulous one to add into a MG classroom. This isn’t a book about disabilities, it’s about badass people who achieved great things despite being in a world that is not accessible.
We must remember that not only is feminism intersectional, accessibility is a right, and our collective liberation depends on both of these previous statements.
This ARC was kindly sent by Second Story Press, but all opinions are my own. It’s out today!
Helen Wolfe’s forty-year career has spanned across education, publishing, and social work. She has written over thirty teachers’ guides for books, as well as for a documentary about blind adults. Her first non-fiction chapter book for young readers is Terrific Women Teachers. Helen also has a lifelong physical disability, which requires her to use crutches, a wheelchair, and a scooter. In writing Unstoppable, Helen has instilled her empathy, life experiences, and insights about being a person with a disability.
Karen Patkau graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree, and became interested in visual storytelling while studying for her Master of Visual Arts degree at the University of Alberta. She has been writing and illustrating for many years. Her work appears in children’s picture books, educational publications, posters, advertisements, magazines, package designs, greeting cards and art exhibitions. Karen also has a life-long disability and walks with a prosthetic leg. Karen lives in Toronto.