Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes

Lee & Low. Jun. 2023. 40p. Tr $20.95. ISBN 9781643790985.
Gr 1-4–There are a lot of positives to describe this book, which shines a light on athletes with disabilities, among them, those who participated in the Paralympics. Each athlete is profiled with a brief bio, a daily challenge, and a daily joy against a page with an full-color illustration of that person in action. Says one athlete who excelled at the Paralympics, “I did not overcome the loss of my limb. To overcome the loss would mean I’d have to grow it back. What I overcame were the limits I placed on myself and that others placed on me." A blind skier, not only a Paralympian, has won more than 50 Alpine Skiing World Cup medals. An athlete born with spina bifida who has excelled in wheelchair basketball in five Paralympic Games came away with three gold medals. One woman followed up her Paralympian appearance by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and another took on the national parks, making them more acccessible to all those using adaptive equipment. At least one of the sports, WCMX or wheelchair motocross, is not yet part of the Paralympics, but the young man who hopes it will be added has already won seven gold medals at the Move United Junior Track & Field Nationals. In each description, a daily challenge is cited as well as a daily joy which helps readers understand what the athlete must do to play the sport, and the joy that comes from the accomplishment. The artwork is vibrant, full of both energy and forward momentum. The rhyming text is the weakest element of the book. It is predictable and pedantic, and an embarrassingly weak link compared to the other parts. The back matter is very strong. It provides a generous time line of the Paralympics and describes each sport fully.
VERDICT An eye-opening look at disabled athletes who turn the stigma of disability on its head. Libraries looking to add titles on adaptive equipment, games and events that are inclusive, or robust bios of great athletes will find this worth buying.

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