A winning, uplifting story about a boy with Down syndrome who helps his neighbors in the aftermath of a storm in a way only he can.
It’s the morning after the big storm. Adam and his dog, Up, are finishing breakfast when Adam sees the mayor on TV asking everyone to pitch in with the cleanup. She says, “Now, it’s time to get to work. Up and at ’em!” When Adam hears the mayor tell him and Up to get to work, he’s on it! “We can help!” he says. All day, the pair do what they can — clearing the sidewalk, fixing a birdhouse, passing out cookies. But it turns out, Adam’s most important contribution to his community is one he doesn’t even think about — his smile. Because when anyone sees Adam smile, they smile, too. And as Adam says, “A pair of smiles can make a difference.”
Debbie Zapata’s sweet story scores on two fronts: it features an endearing and authentic representation of a child with Down syndrome, focused on his abilities, not disabilities, and it offers an inspiring model of how everyone can make a difference in their community. Adam’s Down syndrome is not referenced in the story but is addressed in an author’s note, which also includes information about Down syndrome, and resources. Adam’s open-hearted and infectious smile lights the pages as he lifts spirits all over town in Yong Ling Kang’s illustrations, which thoughtfully feature details in Adam’s clothing and belongings that are sensitive to his needs. The book is full of positive examples of community, contributing and inclusion, and beautifully captures the character education themes of kindness, teamwork, initiative and citizenship.
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