Kelly Fritsch, Anne McGuire, & Eduardo Trejos
As the historical optimist that I am, I choose to believe that people are starting to become aware of the lack of representation in picture books, and taking steps to seek out resources to rectify their own blindspots (we all have them and this is not up for debate). While I feel that racial and cultural representation is getting sliiiiightly better, disability representation is abysmal quite frankly.
We Move Together is here to kick down the door and change lives. Not only does the text insist on collective activism, but that access for all should be the norm rather than an aspiration. The book is empowering and shows so much joy from the characters, something seen even less often than disability representation. The text flows and speaks to the reader in the collective “we”, drawing us into the struggle and the encouragement that we can do better. The struggles that humans face can’t be categorized into ‘disabled’ and ‘non-disabled’; we collectively all have trouble waiting, understanding others, and must adjust to unfamiliar situations sometimes.
The backmatter in this book is superb and contains a myriad of additional information on a range of subjects such as disability arts & culture, ableism, and communication. I really appreciate the portrayal of sign language within the book as well, and it’s mentioned in the backmatter how non-speaking individuals can find it useful in addition to the D/deaf & HOH community. I’ll make a personal note that the Deaf folks I know don’t view their lack of hearing as a disability, but rather the audist world itself designed as inaccessible to them; but labeling oneself as “disabled” is deeply personal to the individual and not a bad word.
This book was kindly sent by the creators, and published by AK Press. All opinions and decision to review are my own! We Move Together is an extremely powerful book, and I can only hope that I did it justice in my review and convinced all of you that it absolutely needs to be read. It’s a rare book in that conversations can be built upon depending on the readers’ interest and knowledge levels, and the backmatter assists in these conversations by providing additional information and resources for those who have questions.
Kelly Fritsch is a disabled writer, educator, and parent living in Ottawa. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University and co-editor of Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalism (2015, AK Press).
Anne McGuire is an assistant professor in the Equity Studies program at the University of Toronto where she teaches courses on disability justice and disabled childhoods. She is the author of War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence (2016, University of Michigan Press).
Eduardo Trejos is a Costa Rican multi-disciplinary artist. A lover of colour, insatiable reader, and parent of two boys, he currently lives in Toronto where he works as a graphic designer.