The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015
This story shows how a boy born with one leg, destined for poverty, can change the world.
His mother names him Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us” and carries him to school, where people with disabilities are normally not allowed. When he becomes too heavy, he hops two miles on one leg to get to school. Resourceful, he shines shoes to earn money. To make friends at school with those who shun him, he buys a soccer ball and says he’ll share if he can play. On crutches, he plays soccer and earns his classmate’s respect. They help him learn to ride a bike with one leg. At age 12, his mom becomes ill and Emmanuel leaves for the city to earn money. No one wants to hire him, until one shopkeeper gives him a chance and a place to live.
To change people’s attitudes toward people with disabilities, he dreams of riding a bike across his country and filming his journey. Resourcefully he gets funding for the bike, camera, and taxi to follow him. On the trip he wears a t-shirt with the words, The Pozo, or “the disabled person.” He travels across his country, Ghana, talking to the poor and the wealthy, demonstrating and educating them that people with disabilities are ‘able-bodied’, too. He soon becomes a national hero.
This well-told story and illustrations show the poverty and circumstances where everything is against Emmanuel, but because he believes in himself, he finds success.
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