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This Kid Can Fly
Cover of This Kid Can Fly
This Kid Can Fly
It's About Ability (NOT Disability)
Borrow Borrow
"At once beautiful and heartbreaking, Aaron Philip found a way to make me laugh even as I choked up, found a way to bring on my empathy without ever allowing me to feel sorry for him. An eye-opening...
"At once beautiful and heartbreaking, Aaron Philip found a way to make me laugh even as I choked up, found a way to bring on my empathy without ever allowing me to feel sorry for him. An eye-opening...
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  • "At once beautiful and heartbreaking, Aaron Philip found a way to make me laugh even as I choked up, found a way to bring on my empathy without ever allowing me to feel sorry for him. An eye-opening debut." —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor author of Brown Girl Dreaming

    In this heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting memoir, Aaron Philip, a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, shows how he isn't defined so much by his disability as he is by his abilities.

    Written with award-winning author Tonya Bolden, This Kid Can Fly chronicles Aaron's extraordinary journey from happy baby in Antigua to confident teen artist in New York City. His honest, often funny stories of triumph—despite physical difficulties, poverty, and other challenges—are as inspiring as they are eye-opening.

    Includes photos and original illustrations from Aaron's personal collection.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 23, 2015
    In an enlightening and candid memoir, Philip recalls his early childhood years, when he moved from Antigua to New York City to seek medical attention for cerebral palsy. Now 14, he shares memories of grueling physical therapy and multiple surgeries in passages that are honest, raw, and devoid of self-pity. Feeling friendless at school, Philip devoted himself to creating anime-inspired cartoons and a Tumblr blog, Aaronverse, as both “a place where other people who spend most of their days in wheelchairs could express themselves” and a vehicle for advocating for those with disabilities. Accented with b&w family photos, the narrative is alternately funny, frank, and reflective; eating lunch at a table with other students with disabilities “felt like we were on an island in the middle of the ocean.” In addition to his family, Philip expresses gratitude for “Aaron’s Angels,” the dedicated friends and professionals who support him. Readers will finish the book impressed by what Philip has already accomplished and certain that more is yet to come. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Lyons, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2015
    The author of the Aaronverse Tumblr explains how he emphasizes ability, not disability: with help. Shortly after his birth, Philip and his mother moved from the Caribbean to New York City when his parents learned he had cerebral palsy, which limited the use of his hands and left him unable to walk. Soon his mother returned to the Caribbean, and his father became his caregiver, eventually raising his brother as well. Economic hardship and homelessness complicated--and were complicated by--his disability, which worsened with such obstacles as late paratransit, broken elevators, and difficulty socializing. Fortunately, Philip met "angels" who helped him and his family educationally, medically, and socially. Through his angels, he honed his love for anime; wrote Aaronverse, a Tumblr to encourage others with disabilities; and created a book and video called Tanda ("This ability, not disability") to push for increased opportunities for people with disabilities. As Philip refreshingly acknowledges his personal luck, his call for greater accessibility is encapsulated in his fictional story of Dan, a man with a disability without a support network, whose goals languished because "he had the smarts, but not the supports." Philip's simple, chatty account of both physical and societal challenges--and the "angels" without whom he couldn't have risen to them so highly--will motivate readers with and without disabilities to support accessibility and inclusion. (Memoir. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2015

    Gr 5-8-This memoir by a 14-year-old Tumblr artist and self-published author with cerebral palsy (CP) is both inspirational and amusing. Philip was born in St. John's in Antigua and Barbuda. When he was two years old, his motor skills were severely impaired, which caused him intense pain. To uncover what ailed him, his parents moved him to the United States, where he was diagnosed with CP. This condition posed an extreme challenge for Philip until he started intensive speech, physical, and occupational therapy. His family tried their best to give him a stable life over the years, despite many hurdles. Because Philip received better care in the United States, he remained there while his mother and father took turns staying with him (one parent would return to St. John's to look after Philip's younger brother, Aren). Poverty and homelessness took a toll on the boy's friendships and school life. Nevertheless, he maintained a close relationship with his brother, made new friends at summer camp, and created a successful and still active Tumblr blog, "Aaronverse," where he writes about his experiences with CP and the discrimination that those with disabilities face. Philip also dabbled in making kawaii art (a form of very cute Japanese artwork), which later led to him self-publishing his graphic novel, Tanda. The blog's visibility and appreciation gave him the chance to visit and present his work at the Tumblr headquarters. Philip is a courageous young person whose motivation, intelligence, and creativity come through easily. VERDICT Fans of memoirs and those who are interested in learning more about CP will appreciate this humbling and heartwarming read.-Jess Gafkowitz, New York Public Library

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Cammie McGovern, author of Say What You Will "This book will inspire many children to work a little harder and dream a little bigger. It inspired me."
  • Shane Burcaw, author of Laughing at My Nightmare "Following Aaron's journey as he overcame countless adversities with endless humor and positivity was nothing short of awe-inspiring. I am delighted to know the world will get to read his story."
  • Sonia Manzano, Sesame Street actor and author of Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx "This story of how a boy with cerebral palsy and his family navigate an indifferent social system is proof that the human spirit has no boundaries."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Philip's simple, chatty account of both physical and societal challenges...will motivate readers with and without disabilities to support accessibility and inclusion."

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