The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls
(Penguin Random House)– hardback
When Emmanuel was born, it seemed that having ‘only one strong leg’ would spell doom. Although his mother told Emmanuel he could ‘have anything‘ he learned early he would have to ‘get it for himself’. That included learning to ‘crawl and hop, fetch water and climb coconut trees’ and earning money. Although children with disabilities did not usually go to school in the Ghanian village in which Emmanuel lived, his mother carried him, until he became too heavy, and he ‘hopped to school and back- two miles each way’.
What’s more, it was at school that Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah demonstrated determination to play football on crutches and his one good foot. Furthermore, he sought to join his friends cycling when they rented bikes. And then, despite falls, Emmanuel learned to ride!
This success powered Emmanuel beyond the loss of education forced on him when his mother became sick. This forced him to travel to the city to find employment. What’s more, the attitudes he experienced there to his disability, inspired him to plan to show ‘everyone that being disabled does not mean being unable’. Thus Emmanuel’s Dream was born.
True stories of heroes, especially young heroes, who overcome startling odds, inform and inspire. We consider Youthquake or How to Be Extraordinary, for example. Thereafter, this boy’s life story is startling. We wonder how, when everything seemed to be against him, he summoned up the drive and courage to seek more. Bookwagon recommends Emmanuel’s Dream highly for reading aloud, sharing, recognising and gifting.