Zipping Zooming Kids on the Go: Book Covers Featuring Children Engaging in an Active Lifestyle

Book covers featuring portrayals of children enjoying being independent and active outdoors in a variety of ways is a great way to model an active lifestyle as well as norming differences in mobility. When selecting books for a display, try to intentionally include titles with bright, cheerful, engaging covers like these portraying all kinds of kids zipping and zooming their way through life.

Featured titles:

Emmanuel’s dream: the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah / by Laurie Ann Thompson; illustrated by Sean Qualls.

Summary: Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people — but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.


Pedal it!: how bicycles are changing the world / Michelle Mulder.

Summary: Pedal It! celebrates the humble bicycle–from the very first boneshakers to the sleek racing bikes of today, from handlebars to spokes to gear sprockets–and shows you why and how bikes can make the world a better place. Not only can bikes be used to power computers and generators, they can also reduce pollution, promote wellness and get a package across a crowded city–fast! Informative but not didactic, Pedal It! encourages young readers to be part of the joy of cycling.

Don’t call me special: a first look at disability / Pat Thomas; illustrated by Lesley Harker.

Summary: This picture book explores questions and concerns about disability in a simple and reassuring way. Younger children can find out what a disability is, and learn how people deal with their disabilities to live happy and full lives. Written by a psychotherapist and counselor, this book helps to foster acceptance and tolerance of people who are in some way “different.”

On a slippery slope / Melody Fitzpatrick.

Summary: If a super-cute boy (one you really want to impress) assumes that you’re a championship skier and snowboarder, is it really that big of a deal if you don’t set him straight? When a teensy fib starts snowballing out of control, Hannah Smart realizes she needs cash to keep from being found out. She takes a part-time job at the local TV station where her dad works as the weatherman. After nearly killing a woman (it was an accident!) and then saving her life on air, Hannah unexpectedly finds herself in front of the camera again. Loving the spotlight, Hannah is swept up in the excitement of TV land, but with the school ski trip coming up, she soon realizes that some secrets are almost impossible to keep hidden. But wanting to come clean and doing it are two very different things.

The red bicycle: the extraordinary story of one ordinary bicycle / written by Jude Isabella; illustrated by Simone Shin.

Summary: When Leo outgrows his bicycle, it finds a new home with Alisetta, who uses it to access to her family’s sorghum field and the market.

A crash course for Molly / Eva Eriksson; translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard.

Summary: Watch out! Here comes Molly! Molly is big enough and smart enough to ride a bike now – and she loves it! Trouble is, Molly can’t seem to stop running into things. She keeps her eye on the objects in her path – like poles and people – but for some reason she still hits them. Luckily, she bumps into a driving instructor one day, and he gives Molly some useful advice. Using warmly colored and expressive illustrations, Eva Eriksson once again gives readers an adorable little girl to cheer for as she takes a crash course in bike riding.

Check out these articles for more information :

Ostrosky, M. M., Mouzourou, C., Dorsey, et al (2015). Pick a Book, Any Book: Using Children’s Books to Support Positive Attitudes Toward Peers With Disabilities. Young Exceptional Children18(1), 30–43.

Emily A. Roper & Alexandra M. Clifton (2013) The Representation of Physically Active Girls in Children’s Picture Books, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 84:2, 147-156, DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2013.784844