All the Way to the Top

How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

Written by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali

Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins was born in 1981 with cerebral palsy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although she used a wheelchair to get around as a young child, Jennifer was excluded many times from participating in school, with friends, and in the community because of her disability. This didn’t sit right with her or her family and they became involved in the protest movement to help change things for the better.

This books tells Jennifer’s story in a way that’s easy to understand and empathizes with her and others dealing with prejudice. But Jennifer’s story is singular because she was one of only a few children to actually participate in the disability rights movement, which culminated in Congress passing the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) in 1990.

She joined many demonstrations, was arrested as a 7 year-old at a protest in Montreal, and ultimately was one of the most prominent protestors to participate in the Capitol Crawl, bringing media attention to the ADA. This was a very dramatic moment, when Jennifer slid out of her wheelchair as a 9-year-old girl, scooted along the sidewalk and crawled all the way to the top of the Capitol steps to make the point that public buildings should be wheelchair accessible. This is also the high point of the book and is drawn in a very engaging and dramatic way. I think kids will really enjoy learning about Jennifer’s courage and determination. The book has a forward by Jennifer herself, and at the back of the book there is a timeline and much more information about Jennifer and the ADA.

Reviewed by Andrea LeBaron, Media Clerk, Upland Terrace Elementary
Review shared in March 2021
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-5

Book Resources and Educator’s Guide: https://www.sourcebooks.com/all-the-way-to-the-top.html

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
Sourcebooks Explore
32 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2020
ISBN: 9781492688976
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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