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by Juan Felipe Herrera & illustrated by Ernesto Cuevas

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-89239-195-2
Publisher: Children's Book Press

Like his pet bird Desplumado, featherless and with a drawn-in foot, Tomasito can’t fly. Born with spina bifida, Tomasito is confined to a wheelchair and despairs of fitting in at his new school, where he has to explain his condition all over again. But with the encouragement of his father and friendly classmate Marlena, Tomasito recovers his sense of equilibrium and competence. While Featherless specifically addresses spina bifida, the story overall and Tomasito’s sympathetic link to Desplumado open up avenues to address other physical disabilities that students might face. Tomasito’s dream of flying with Desplumado and his incorporation into a soccer team help youngsters understand that disabled children share their longings and hopes, as well as the ability to achieve and participate. Cuevas’s paintings are full-spread and boldly colored, combining realism with cartoon-style simplicity; their broad washes and fuzzy edges reveal the texture of the paper on which they were created. Both Spanish and English texts are direct, inviting, and expressive. (Picture book. 6-9)