Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures: Squishy Sand | Dedicated Review
Review of Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures: Squishy Sand
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The Children’s Book Review
Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures: Squishy Sand
Written by Charlene McIver
Illustrated by Caroline Keys
Ages 4-8 | 38 Pages
Publisher: Charlene McIver (2020) | ISBN-13: 978-0-6484178-3-5
What to Expect: Fun, friendship, and positive representation of disability
Leigh and his friends are at the beach, and they would love to go and play on the sand. Unfortunately, Leigh can’t: his wheelchair is just not built for sand-mobility and he is frightened he will tip over in the squishy sand. However, Leigh’s friends are determined to find a way to help their companion enjoy the beach to its fullest, and Leigh is willing to face his fears to help his friends succeed. Soon, the three friends are zooming across the sand, taking turns in their new “monster buggy” as it whizzes across the sand.
Children’s literature and diversity experts are unequivocal about the need for more children’s books to portray disability in a positive light. It is important for children with disabilities to see themselves reflected in the literature they read, and for children without disabilities to internalize positive, affirmative images. However, many existing portrayals fall into the trap of providing simplified stereotypes of disability or of offering negative portrayals that emphasize differences, elicit pity, and disempower disabled characters. That is why it is so refreshing to come across a book like Squishy Sand, which offers an honest, accurate, positive depiction of disability in a story that focuses on empowerment and friendship. Without denying or ignoring the unique fears and challenges that Leigh faces, Squishy Sand manages to be a book that is more about the shared experiences of friendship and determination than about disability. It is a simple, heartwarming, and positive story.
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About the Author
As a children’s book author my mission is to empower and encourage children with different needs to follow their dreams. My stories are inspired by my late son, Leigh who was born with a severe form of spina bifida. Leigh struggled every day of his short life. He just wanted to fit in and do the same things as all the other kids. However, using a wheelchair made it a little tricky, but not impossible.
I live in Melbourne, Australia, and my working career has varied from accounts to retail, and now as an author. Storytelling has always been a hidden passion, but it was only with the tragedy of losing Leigh I felt the desire to continue writing and highlight the issues children with disabilities face in everyday life.
Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures book series retain a light-heartedness and sense of fun while delivering helpful and comforting messages.
My children’s picture books are dedicated to Leigh and other children who have different needs – my wish is that these unique little stories inspire and bring a little happiness.
About the Illustrator
Caroline Keys (illustrator) has a love for colour, pattern and detail, she especially loves working on books and art for children. She works mostly for picture books and educational publishers and occasionally for advertising.
For more information, visit https://www.carkeysillustration.com.au/about
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This is a sponsored, non-biased review of Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures: Squishy Sand by Charlene McIver. Learn more about getting a book review …
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