Wombat Books, 2015
32pp., hbk RRP $A19.99
When Uncle Charlie comes to visit, Ivy runs away and hides. Uncle Charlie’s hands shake when she’s not expecting it and it’s hard to understand him when he talks. He is also in an electric wheelchair that is very BIG and seems to move by itself. When they go to the park to play, Uncle Charlie can’t join in. He just has to watch. And when mum reads a story he just has to listen because he can’t hold the book in his unsteady hands. Everything about Uncle Charlie is just a little bit different and it’s a bit scary for a little person.
But a heart-warming miracle happens when Ivy draws a picture for Uncle Charlie and then he draws one for her!
This is another wonderful story from a publisher who is not afraid to give a voice to issues that our students encounter but rarely read about. With its themes of difference and inclusion, Same acknowledges that people in wheelchairs can be confronting for little people (and even for bigger ones) but if we can see past the physical to the person inside there are many more similarities than differences. Katrina Roe is the author of Emily Eases her Wheezes and once again she has captured in both the text and illustrations a common issue in a sensitive way that invites discussion not only about knowing someone with a disability, but also thinking about that person and how it might feel to be left out and forced to sit on the sidelines.
While this story has a domestic setting and Ivy meets Uncle Charlie in her own home, under the Disability Standards for Education legislation it is likely that our students will encounter more and more people who are wheelchair bound in their school lives, so this is a perfect way to not only start a conversation about our commonalities as people but also show how we can embrace and celebrate people’s differences.
Thumbs up to Wombat Books for continuing to go out on the edge!