Cover Image: I Am Not a Label

I Am Not a Label

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Member Reviews

A very important compilation of short biographies of disabled people who have done incredible things throughout history. disability does not come in one form, and this book proves that. It's beautiful and a must-read/
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"We all have ability, the difference is how you use it. "

This is a superb, inspiring non-fiction book, filled with short biographies of thirty four people with disabilities, who left a mark in the history of human civilization. It is well written and the biographies are told in the manner of fairy tales, which guarantees the accessibility of this book to young readers. 

The illustrations accompanying the stories are incredible. I loved the diversity of the people featured in the book ---- not only in terms of careers but also nationalities, disabilities and social classes. 

This book will capture the imagination of children and adults alike. The world needs more diverse books like this.
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I'm so glad to see a book like this getting published! I hope every school and every library gets a copy- children need to see people of all types being represented, and disabled people don't get nearly enough rep. Disability needs to be more normalized in our society; books like this will help kids see that disabled people can do remarkable things, and will give disabled kids a chance to see someone like themselves celebrated in a book. The 34 people covered here represent a wide variety of disabilities, from visible to invisible, different races, nationalities, genders, and professions. The text is informative and upbeat, focusing more on the accomplishments and less on the abilities of each individual. The artwork is fabulous, it's bright and colorful, with stylized script, detailed borders, visual cues related to the subject, for an all-out gorgeous book! Definitely recommended!

#IAmNotaLabel #NetGalley
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Profiles of "overcomers" are a tricky space to navigate. IT can become tokenism if the writer isn't careful. Obviously, this is the concern Bunnell is addressing. It comes down to approach. Is the author presenting us with a person who has achieved something remarkable who happens to have a disability or is the handicap the primary focus? As long as we see them first via their achievement. And just by having that conversation we encourage sensitivity and empathy.
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Thirty-four people are profiled in this celebration of those with disabilities, both historical and current figures including Stephen Hawking, Frida Kahlo, Lady Gaga, Beethoven, Matisse, Peter Dinklage, and Temple Grandin. Each entry is two pages in length, and the people represent those from a wide variety of countries and cultural groups. There are a few special sidebars focusing on topics including “Paralympic Stars” and “Mental Health,” which list more people but with only a paragraph on each.  The writing style is somewhat overwrought and mannered: “His bones were as delicate as silk, but his will was as strong as iron.”   The graphic-style full color artwork is inviting and sophisticated and helps to convey that this is for a wide age range. A glossary and index are at the back.
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I love reading collected biographies, and as a disabled person, I am excited to have had the chance to read a book of collected biographies about disabled people from the past and present.

There's a lot to love about this book. The illustrations are all stunning and help to bring the stories of the featured figures to life. I was really impressed by the broad variety of people featured, especially since it could have been easy to feature people from a limited number of countries, time periods, or even disabilities. We got to see a broad variety of disabilities, with disabled people from a broad variety of places, both past and present. I also felt like we got a really good mixture of people who are well known as having been disabled, well known even though their disabilities may not be as well known, and a bit more obscure overall. The author is disabled herself and clearly understands the importance of identity-first language, representation, and how important it is for disabled people to be allowed to achieve our dreams (even if those are just regular dreams and don't require us to be exceptional!). While not all of my own disabilities were represented, many of them were, and I felt seen by this book. This is targeted towards a middle-grade audience, and I know that a lot of disabled kids are going to feel just as seen as I did. I also think it's a great chance for abled kids to see what disability looks like in the real world and offer understanding that might not have been there before.

I did have a couple of small issues with the book. I think my biggest issue was the font that the names were presented in on each bio page. I actually had a really hard time reading them, and I suspect that's not going to be accessible for anyone whose disability impacts their vision or their ability to interpret what they're seeing. One of my other issues actually ties into that a bit: the storytelling style (which is lighter and briefer than I'd hoped, but expected given the intended audience) isn't all that consistent, and I felt like some of the information provided was different in many of the entries. The reason this played into the first issue is that there were some entries where the body of the text would include a full name, but others where the full name was not included in the body, which became a problem for me when I couldn't figure out the name from the header. I actually had to google one or two of my best guesses for figures I wasn't familiar with so I'd actually know who it was talking about and have that information attached to the correct person.

Overall, I thought this was a really important read. I Am Not a Label is one I would definitely recommend to others, even if the font isn't as accessible as it could be. I got this as an ARC from NetGalley, but it's one I hope to add to my personal library, and I know I'll be requesting that my public library add a copy.
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I love this book so much. Of course, I loved the inclusivity of the book. These were people who we don't hear or see enough of (I.e., my personal favorite STEVIE WONDER). But they also included people from multiple decades and time periods. One of my biggest gripes with anthologies like these is that they're too often grouped in "long ago" groups or "now and current" but this was all over. You have Nick Jonas, Beethoven, Peter Dinklage, Frida Kahlo, among many more. 

I would loved to use this in my classroom as an opportunity to talk about character traits and it's engaging for students who both love and hate non-fiction. (It helps that the illustrations are great too).

Hoping to get a copy for my classroom and I think everyone else should too!
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I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present is an anthology of some very inspirational people. This wonderful, fully illustrated book contains information about people I knew nothing about. Catalina Devandas, who has Spina Bifida, is a lawyer and plays an important role in the United Nations. Isabella Tejada is the first woman with Down Syndrome to have her own fashion label and to showcase it at London Fashion Week. Mary Temple Grandin become a Professor of Animal Science even though she is Autistic. This book contains fantastic stories about people who have overcome hardships and is suitable for older children (and adults too!) Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy.
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This books is a perfect representation as to why people are more than a label and why we shouldn't use labels in the first place. The write-ups were well done and the illustrations fit super well.
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC for an honest review!
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What a great book to educate all ages about some truly amazing people who have disabilities. It includes people from all around the world and even features some who are part of the LGBTQ community. I had not heard about several of the people prior to reading this. Others I knew of, but was not aware that they had a disability. In each case, I learned quite a bit about each person featured. I love that the book includes both visible and invisible disabilities.
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A fantastic book full of inspirational people that achieved amazing things despite having something that may make their goals more difficult. I love that the book included mental health, and also featured people from all over the world. The illustrations were beautiful, and should be placed in every school library.
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“I Am Not a Label” has countless qualities that make it a remarkable book, not just for children but also for adults. This anthology devotes its pages to both historical and current figures - everyone from Frida Kahlo and Beethoven to Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, Farida Bedwei, and Isabella Springmuhl Tejada. There are so many layers of representation within these pages that it’s hard to list them all: we see different kinds of disabilities, including physical, mental-health, and invisible struggles like fibromyalgia; figures from varied cultures, identities, genders (trans heroes!). I respect the commitment to intersectionality that the author clearly has, and this kind of representation in books - children’s books or anything else - is rare and imperative. Cerrie Burnell did a remarkable job of collecting these stories from around the world. 

One thing I also appreciated was how “I Am Not a Label” discusses disabilities. Burnell doesn’t focus on the challenges of disabilities and highlights all of the aspirations, ambition, compassion, and dreams the featured people have, but at the same time she makes it a point to discuss the cultural stereotypes that make it difficult to navigate being a disabled youth. Some cultures viewed disability as a curse, some made people think and feel like they wouldn’t amount to anything simply because of a difference in their bodies or minds. I think that is where this book is such a powerful one: children can only learn to act against systemic oppression, whether it’s ableism or racism or sexism or other forms of disenfranchisement, if they understand that disabled folx are as capable and deserving of respect and opportunity and love as anyone else and ALSO they many times they are living in cultures and societies they devalue them. And we can work against that and change our cultures to be truly inclusive if we hear stories like these, gain better understanding of some of the cultural frameworks in which disabled folx grow up, and empower children to work to create more inclusive, accessible communities for everyone. 

The intersectionality and subtle acknowledgements of systemic disenfranchisement and prejudice are refreshing and revolutionary and I can’t wait to buy this book for my children and our family. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this advance copy! My review is unbiased.
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Reviewed for Netgalley

I Am Not a Label tells the true-life tales of 34 people with disabilities. The stories are about everyday heroes and normal people.  Mostly, they are tales about people that have not allowed disability to limit their lives.  Cerrie Burnell's book would be a wonderful addition to any collection but especially those trying to reach all readers.
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This book is MARVELOUS, FANTASTIC, SUPERB and the other synonyms for great that I am sure I could remember if I wanted to. I wanted to fill my shelves with more diverse books with unique voices, and seeing more books about people with disabilities is fantastic. I naturally needed to pick up this book, because I have family and friends with disabilities and they deserve to be heard too. And, man, am I so glad I picked up this book! It's incredible! Cerrie Burnell did an excellent job crafting this book.

This is a non-fiction, anthology-esque collection of people who had disabilities and did great things. Sometimes they did art or sports, or sometimes they just did truly miraculous feats. There will be some you know about, like Beethoven and Terry Fox (Yay Canada, represent!), and some you might not, like Henri Matisse (I was not aware of his disabilities but did know about his art). Their stories are told in a whimsical and fun way too, which is why this book really stood out to me. It felt way more fun than your typical non-fiction book.

If you're looking to learn, grab this book! It's a great collection of facts and stories that also have absolutely beautiful illustrations to go along with them. 

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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At first glance, this has the usual disabled historical figures.  You know, Beethoven for being deaf, Steven Hawking for having ALS, and Frida Kahlo for having the back issues.

But then we get into Paralympic athletes who have done amazing things, and actors, and scientists.

But I think the statement by Stella Young, a comedian, says it all. She has brittle bone disease so has to use a wheelchair to get around. She gave a TED talk called "I am not your inspiration", which is true. We don't have to look at the disabled to be inspired.

Wonderful people chosen, such as Aaron Phillip, a model who is in a wheel chair, because of cerebral palsy, but is also trans. There is Isabella Springmuhl Tejada who has Down Sysdrome, but manages her own fashion line.  And there is Naoki HIgashida, a young author who has autism.

Wonderful book to introduce kids to the world of people with disabilities.  

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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This anthology includes brief biographies of many highly accomplished people who have a disability.  In reading this title, kids can read about those who are well known, from Beethoven to Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking to Helen Keller and many more.  There are also entries about people whom I never knew before, as for example, the physicist Gustav Kirchhoff and Nabil Shaban, an actor and writer, or lawyer Catalina Devanda or athlete Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.. 

Of interest is that the author of this collection herself has a disability.  She introduces her book by sharing a bit of her own story.  The author and those she features shine brightly as they are portrayed in her highly readable style.

Each entry is short and beautifully illustrated, making it very easy for young readers to become engaged.  There are also sections including a glossary and a list of resources.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.
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I am not a Label is a biographical collection about artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities, and just as it is also non-fiction aimed at children, adults will also love the project.

Maybe chic and dazzling are good adjectives for what Lauren Mark Baldo's illustrations are, because in addition to pulling to the more realistic side (it's not photo level, but it is very clear who the illustration is about), the composition for each person it is rich in references of the profession (computers, music, etc.) and everything is very colorful.

The text is in the tone of children's tales/fables - which serves as a reminder that the target audience is children and not just for you to admire the edition - and does not extend as long in the ups and downs of people's lives, being very objective in showing a caught up in their life.

There are some athletes in this collection that reminded me of how incredible the Paralympics are, in which Brazil is a powerhouse (but unfortunately there is no Brazilian in the collection). But one thing that left me 100% WOW, are Stevie Wonder's achievements in his career, because I know the guy is very famous and talented, but he leaves everyone empty-handed in awards!

I finish reading by planning to throw a bunch of Molotov cocktails in Hollywood for generally just making a biopic of a white man, and having so many incredible stories out there that also deserve attention, such as Wanda Diaz-Merced, an astronomer who after losing the vision created a formula to be able to hear the stars and to be able to continue her work.
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<em>I Am Not a Label </em>by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren Mark Baldo is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read detailing successful people with disabilities or mental health issues. A collection of short biographies of a vast number of people throughout history who have done well in their lives but have also experienced great struggles.

These books are always incredibly important reads. Even more, they are inspiring in a big way. It can be easy to see people in the light of fame and not recognize the adversity they have faced. And in the case of this book, it is truly amazing to see how these people are portrayed. The fact of the matter is that success is diverse and should be celebrated as such.

Where, often, disabilities are thought of as things that hold us back, <em>I Am Not a Label</em> flips this narrative on its head to affirm the truth that we can do extraordinary things no matter what disability or mental health problem we may be dealing with. And thus this book takes us through 30 people, their successes, and the disabilities that they have experienced in their lives.

One thing that really got me while I was reading this book is that it blended both successful people from the past and successful people from the present. I remember being <em>amazed </em>and thrilled when I saw that Demi Lovato was included in the book. Usually, books like this always seem to portray people like Stephen Hawking who, while truly inspiring, are much older and therefore not very relatable. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato is someone I can genuinely feel connected with.

This book is marketed toward young readers, which I think is excellent. Though I would not say that teenagers are the only ones who would benefit from reading this, I will say that they are the ones who deserve to benefit the most. I would highly recommend reading this book and recommending it to others.

<em>I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</em>

This review will go live on the Reader Fox blog on June 17, 2020.
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A much-needed and refreshing look at accomplished individuals with disabilities. Very moving and highly recommended. Will definitely purchase for my library.
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This intriguing title says it all.

A very colorful, beautifully illustrated anthology of a peek into the lives of many heroes identified by disabilities, from the past, and the present, to inspire heroes of the future. The struggles these protagonists, had to undergo, and the place they have secured due to their spirit and attitude, overcoming common misconceptions, carving their niche, across the world, unstoppable, is well written as short crisp narratives, detailing their life story and their achievements. 

Loved the introduction by the author.
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