Don’t Call Me Names

Don't Call Me Names

By: C.W. Graham
Illustrated by: Kristy Lyons
Publisher: eMerge Publishing Group, LLC 
Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN: 978-0982569924
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: July 12, 2010

Children can be unintentional cruel to others.  If a youngster sees somebody who looks different, who perhaps has a hearing aid or wheelchair, they may stare or question the handicap.  That’s why it is so important to explain to them, with the help of a book such as Don’t Call Me Names, what disabilities are, how they affect each person faced with the challenge, and why we should “always treat others, as you want them to treat you.”

Debut author C.W. Graham tackles a subject many others shy away from in her new book.  Through the use of short poems, she explores the special needs, and more importantly, the special talents, of children with disabilities.   Within each poem, there are one or two lines highlighted in purple that reinforces the important lesson on that page.  From, “But don’t taunt and tease others because they are not like you,” to “don’t stare or point or make strange faces,” these are rules every child should know.

Graham introduces the reader to a classroom of children who are hearing impaired, a boy with muscular dystrophy, an autistic child, as well as several others who are dealing with, and thriving, in spite of their challenges. 

Katie is visually impaired, so she cannot see.
But she’s a kid with talent; she learned the piano at three.
She reads with her fingertips things printed in Braille.
She walks with a guide stick when out on a trail.

While there are a few lines of rhymes that don’t quite work,

“Missy was born much smaller than most,
with itsy-bitsy fingers and a teeny-tiny nose”

for the most part, the sing-songy verse should hold young readers’ attention.  It should also be noted that a few of the words may be a bit difficult for the intended reading level (tracheostomies is used on the first page), but there is a glossary in the back to explain these terms.  The author has also included a two page Guide for Discussion with talking points and several excellent questions to help get a dialogue started.  I believe this book would be particularly useful in a school setting where a teacher could use Don’t Call Me Names as an excellent starting point for further discussions about children with disabilities.

Quill says: The author has taken a sensitive subject and written a book that will aid children in understanding the special needs, and unique talents, of children with disabilities.

For more information on Don't Call Me Names, please visit the book's website at: DontCallMenames.com

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