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Posted May 14, 2012
Buster Bear and Uncle B by J. Aday Kennedy, with art by Marina Movshina, is a special story by a “differently-abled” author. This book is a uplifting as well as entertaining. It shows how love and faith conquer disability.
Ham's beloved Uncle B became paralyzed in the war. He's come to visit his nephew Ham, who is shocked by Uncle B's appearance. Confined to a wheelchair, Uncle B could have become bitter and limited by his condition. But he isn't. He plays with Ham, just as before. Uncle B shows off his "wheelie" prowess and his skills in wheelchair basketball. But the best moment in the story is when Ham climbs onto Uncle B's lap and gives him a great big hug, just like old times. This story reminds us not to give up hope in the face of adversity and disability. It shows that people we love are the same inwardly even if their outward appearance changes.
This is a story of love and faith triumphing over disability. Uncle B isn't angry at God for his paralysis. In accepting his situation, Uncle B shows his nephew that love and faith are much stronger than any disability. Through the strong bond of their loving relationship, Ham and Uncle B will find new ways to enjoy each other and share good times together. The message is universal: love means hope and acceptance.
The art by Marina Movshina is wonderfully expressive. You clearly see Ham as a happy boy living in a loving family that includes his beloved Uncle B. Even though disabled, Uncle B maintains his positive outlook and shares that with his nephew. It's a moving story. We feel and see the love and joy in J. Aday Kennedy's positive words and Marina Movshina's beautiful illustrations.
This story has special meaning for me, since my youngest nephew survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident that left him an amputee with extensive nerve damage on his good right side. He was determined to walk and swim and he does. He was determined to work and live a full life and he is.
J. Aday Kennedy's paralysis hasn't dampened her spirit or limited her creativity. She has included a K-3 Teacher’s Guide to address disability issues presented in her book. She continues to bring us wonderful books about love, determination, acceptance, and hope. She shows us that our appearance isn’t all that we are. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.