Ask a Silly Question

While Bean is very curious and asks lots of questions, one thing she’s never asked me is why I use a wheelchair, she’s always just accepted my chair as part of me.

Since she was tiny, I’ve tried to find books or toys that include disabled characters because I want the things around her to reflect her world and family. I recently came across a new book called ‘What happened to you?’ It’s about a boy called Joe who has one leg and all the questions he gets asked. It’s written by James Catchpole, based on his own experiences, and excellently illustrated by Karen George.

A photograph of the front cover a children's book titled 'What Happened to You?' by James Catchpole and Karen George. The book is square and white with an illustration of a boy with one leg named Joe standing on a wooden swing in the centre of the front cover. He is wearing a striped white and red shirt, blue trainers and hatched blue shorts. The little boy is smiling and winking.

Bean came round to play yesterday and after a lot of fun with Lego Mario, making bubble bath mixtures and a thorough testing of my bath lift, we settled down to read the book. She listened attentively, taking in every word. Afterwards we talked about the questions Joe had been asked, and I told Bean some people ask similar questions about why I use a wheelchair. She smiled as if she thought this was the most ridiculous question ever and said, “it’s because you’re wobbly!”

For Bean wheelchairs aren’t unusual at all. I’m keen to keep giving her opportunities to encounter different bodies, minds and perspectives. For books, I go to an organisation called Booktrust which has a great catalogue of books to feed curious minds, including this one of books featuring disabled characters.

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