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Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

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This picture book biography tells the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who bicycled across Ghana--nearly 400 miles--with only one leg. With that achievement he forever changed how his country treats people with disabilities, and he shows us all that one person is enough to change the world.

34 pages, Hardcover

First published January 6, 2015

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About the author

Laurie Ann Thompson

13 books93 followers
Laurie writes for children of all ages. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers through nonfiction and fiction that educates as well as entertains.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 632 reviews
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,852 reviews147 followers
November 30, 2020
Absolutely Brilliant

This was a wonderful book I loved every word in it.

It is truly a story about each and everyone of us. Although the boy in the story, Emmanuel, is the focus many can relate to his courage. The boy has a handicap, only one good leg.

The story goes to show that even with that handicap he does not have to say no but he can achieve almost anything he wants.

And this is a story about how he overcame the handicap to spread the news of possibilities throughout his land.

I am handicapped in a number of ways, some more obvious than others, and I really associated with this book. Currently, I am having a difficult time breathing because of blood clots in my lungs. Many days I just want to stay in bed but I need the strength of this young boy, Emmanuel every day to push me and to keep me going.

There are not enough good words in the dictionary to say how much I love this book.

I give it my highest recommendation and encourage people of every age to read it and think about it.
Profile Image for R.
172 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2022
۲۵ اردیبهشت
امانوئل یعنی "خداوند همیشه با ماست"
او ثابت کرد که یک پای سالم برای انجام دادن هر کاری کافی‌ست؛ همان طور که یک نفر برای تغییر دنیا کافی‌ست.
Profile Image for Conrad Wesselhoeft.
Author 2 books50 followers
January 8, 2015
A story of humility and courage written in prose as spare and powerful as the dream itself. Simply astonishing! Go, Emmanuel!
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,010 reviews214 followers
January 10, 2022
“In this world, we are not perfect. We can only do our best.”
—Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Libro para niños, basado en la historia verdadera de un hombre que vencio enormes dificultades fisicas, economicas y culturales para llegar a ser una inspiracion para muchos como un atleta distinguido.

Emmanuel nacio en Ghana donde una pierna deforme es considerada una maldicion , su padre les abandono, pero su madre se negó a que dejara de estudiar o que le dictaran que solamente podria ser un mendigo en las calles, su enorme fuerza de voluntad le llevó a emprender una campaña de concientización hacia las personas discapacitadas recorriendo enormes distancias en bicicleta usando una sola píerna.

Tremenda historia.


https: // biography.jrank.org/pages / 2836/ Yeboah-Emmanuel-Ofosu.html

https: // emmanuelsdream. weebly. com/
Profile Image for Liv Nash.
38 reviews
September 13, 2017
This is a great book to teach students with or without disabilities about disabilities. It teaches that if you continue to work and don't give up, it doesn't matter if you have a disability. It encourages inclusion and support of all people.
Profile Image for Krista the Krazy Kataloguer.
3,873 reviews268 followers
July 29, 2016
Love these inspiring true stories! Emmanuel showed his country and the world that being disabled doesn't mean being unable to do anything. Imagine--he rode a bicycle across Ghana, with only one leg! I couldn't do it with two! This is a perfect readaloud for a summer Olympics year. Now I've got to dig up the documentary about this man. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Deborah.
736 reviews54 followers
January 12, 2021
After being born with a deformed leg in Ghana, Emmanuel’s father abandoned him and his mother, Mama Comfort, encouraged him to go after what he wanted. He realized that “being disabled does not mean being unable.” He learned to ride a bike, play soccer, support his family, and shine shoes. He dreamed of getting a bicycle to ride around Ghana demonstrating and teaching his countrymen about disabilities. He accomplished his plan at age 21 when he pedaled 400 miles in ten days wearing a shirt identifying him as a disabled person. His cause garnered worldwide recognition and he became a national hero and a political and disability activist. In 2006 Ghana enacted the Persons with Disability Act for equal treatment of disabled citizens. His actions showed that one person can change the world and he continues to show “that disability does not mean inability.” I closed the book with chills of joy at his remarkable achievement. This children’s book beautifully and simply tells the story of Emmanuel’s dream. The illustrations were vibrantly drawn in colors of despair and hope. I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Margo Tanenbaum.
811 reviews19 followers
February 8, 2015

This inspiring picture book by author Laurie Ann Thompson tells the moving true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a young man born with a severe disability in rural Ghana who nonetheless bicycled across the entire country, raising awareness for disabled people throughout Africa and around the world.

The book opens with a touching tableau--a beautiful baby boy has been born, but with only one strong leg. We can see the despair in the father's posture and the fear in the mother's eyes as she looks at the baby's father. Disabled children in Ghana were not only considered worthless-they were considered a curse, and the baby's father soon abandons the family. The mother's hope is seen in her naming the baby "Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." Emmanuel's mother refuses to allow her child to become a beggar, as was the custom for disabled people in Ghana; instead she helps him to become self-sufficient, hopping to school, two miles each way. When his classmates scorned him, he saves money to buy something no one in the school had--a real soccer ball, and earns their respect by learning to play on just one leg. When his mother falls ill, Emmanuel moves to the big city to earn money to support his family. Sadly, his mother dies, but he honors her memory by dreaming up a way to show that disabled people could do anything--a bike ride around his country--nearly 400 miles. Support for what others deemed an impossible project came all the way from America, along with the equipment he needed. We see Emmanuel riding across the country, surrounded people cheering, including disabled countrymen. Thompson concludes this inspiring story as follows: "He completed his astounding journey...in just ten days. But Emmanuel's success goes even further than that. He proved that one leg is enough to do great things--and one person is enough to change the world."

In her first picture book, author Laurie Ann Thompson admirably succeeds in her mission of teaching children about social justice issues, a campaign she began in her young adult nonfiction book, Be a Changemaker, a how-to book for young social entrepreneurs. Thompson's tale is enhanced with mixed media illustrations by award-winning children's illustrator Sean Qualls (Before John Was a Jazz Giant and Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat among others). He uses a "primitive" style of illustration, relying on collage and paint to convey the emotion of Emmanuel's story.

An author's note explains that Emmanuel has continued to achieve great things, competing in major athletic events, carrying the Olympic torch, and starring in a documentary about his life, Emmanuel's Gift, which I will be putting on my Netflix queue. He continues to work to help disabled people, particularly in Ghana, realize their full potential.

This is a wonderful book to share with elementary school children; for older children it can be paired with viewing the documentary.
25 reviews
December 12, 2018
Genre: Biography, picture book
Recommended Grade Levels: K-3
Themes: Perseverance, empowerment, disabilities
This is a true story about a boy named Emmanuel, who was born in a small village in Ghana, West Africa. Emmanuel was born with one healthy leg and one leg that did not work. Because of this, his father left and never came back. Emmanuel’s mother had faith in Emmanuel’s ability to do great things. She encouraged him to work hard to get everything he needed. So Emmanuel would hop around on one leg or use crutches. He was able to play soccer with his friends at school on crutches, and they taught him how to ride a bike as well. When Emmanuel’s mother becomes sick, Emmanuel leaves for the capitol of Accra to earn money for his family. At first he has trouble finding employment, as most people tell him to beg because he is disabled. Finally, he finds a job and works hard to send money back for two straight years. When his mother is deathly ill, Emmanuel comes home to see her one last time before he dies. Emmanuel feels that he needs to teach others that having a disability does not mean that a person can’t do anything, so he begins to ride around Ghana on a bicycle to spread awareness. He is incredibly successful, encouraging others with disabilities to come out and have faith in their abilities. Emmanuel becomes well-known across Ghana for his efforts.

Personal Response:
As my wife taught in the villages of Ghana and has told me many stories of the children there, this story had a very personal effect for me. Having a disability always presents some type of challenge, and in Ghana this challenge is almost always quite a hefty one. I am inspired by Emmanuel’s perseverance and strong work ethic, especially with only one working leg. Emmanuel’s story reminds me of my wife’s second year in Ghana, when she taught in the north. Sarah found a village where a large number of children were not allowed to go to school for various reasons. Most of these reasons had to do with some sort of disability, or the fact that they were female and expected to take care of their younger siblings instead of going to school. Believing that these children deserved an education too, Sarah worked with some like-minded people to build and open a school for any child, no matter what. Children were able to go to school no matter if they had one hand or two, and the girls could bring their baby siblings so they could learn while they played. These children soon learned the same lesson that Emmanuel championed for: disabilities or any sort of obstacles should not hold a person fully down or label them negatively!

Note about illustrations:
Sean Qualls illustrates this book using mixed media. His pictures have a collage-cartoon feel to them with round, smooth faces and simple black outlines for lips and noses. The illustrations do not include a plethora of extra details, but instead focus on what is most important to the story. The bold test is set right on top of the pictures, and the illustrations often wind around and in between the text. These pictures are not always fully in color; Qualls uses color and lack thereof powerfully in this book, once again helping the reader to focus in on the message of the story and the heart of the book. These pictures appeal to children with their cartoon-like feel and their simple, yet inviting appeal.

Reader Response/Classroom Connections:
After reading this book, students should engage in an open and honest discussion on disabilities and how people in today’s American society are treated with disabilities. What is set in place so that people with disabilities have the proper advocates? Is it enough? What is a disability, and what can a person do when he or she has one? Are disabilities limited to the physical? How can disabilities be obstacles, and how can society help individuals overcome these obstacles? After a thorough discussion, students should write a one-page reflection on their current stance on this important subject.
This book can also serve as a starting point for students to engage in a STEM project where they are given a challenge and limited resources to find an answer to this challenge. Emmanuel had one leg, and yet he still found a way to persevere and ride a bike around Ghana, encouraging others to change their view on people with disabilities. Only having one leg did not stop him. Students will be given the task to design a contraption for a dog with only three legs. This contraption should help the dog transport himself in an efficient and smooth manner. Students will work together in groups, using a variety of materials found in the common household. After their projects are finished, the groups should share their inventions with the rest of the class. An application day where they try out their contraptions would be an excellent extension to this project!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
March 4, 2021
Born with a severely deformed leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was abandoned by his father as an infant, and raised by his mother, Comfort. Encouraged to do things for himself, he found a way to go to school and to participate in sports - both very unusual for disabled children in his native country of Ghana. Eventually, he set out on a four-hundred-mile bicycle journey around Ghana, bringing attention and awareness, both in his country and around the world, to the lives of disabled people...

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is certainly an inspiring book, and I read it with interest, moved by its true story of a young person who never let the challenges he faced defeat him. It reminded me of Meshack Asare's Sosu's Call , an award-winning Ghanaian picture-book about a fictional boy who, like Emmanuel, had physical disabilities, but who triumphed, showing the people of his village what he could do. Laurie Ann Thompson's narrative here is engaging, and there is an author's note at the rear, giving more information about Emmanuel. The accompanying artwork from Sean Qualls, done in mixed media, is colorful and expressive. Recommended to picture-book readers looking for inspiring true stories of young people overcoming great difficulties.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
January 6, 2015
Emmanuel was born in Ghana, West Africa, with a deformed leg. His father left the family but his mother continued to encourage Emmanuel to make something of himself. Emmanuel taught himself to crawl and hop, so he was able to hop the two miles to school and then hop all the way back home at the end of the day. At school kids would not play with him at first, so he saved up his money to buy a new soccer ball that he shared with the others as long as they let him play too. Soon he was playing soccer using crutches to get around. It was at school that Emmanuel also taught himself to ride a bike. Then his mother fell ill and Emmanuel had to leave school to support his family. He headed for the big city of Accra where he looked for a job. It took time, but he started working as a shoe shiner and for a restaurant that also gave him a place to stay. He sent money home and two years later returned home because his mother’s health was failing. After her death, he decided to follow his dream to bike around Ghana. He worked to get help with his dream, becoming a spokesperson in his country for people with disabilities. He completed his journey of 400 miles in just ten days, an amazing journey that proved that one person’s dreams could deeply change a culture.

Thompson’s writing is in stanzas and moves between feeling like poetry and prose. This fluidity makes the book very readable, it also lets her make her points with a grace and brevity that is purely poetic. Thompson’s text shines with her appreciation for Emmanuel and his achievements in life. Where his culture told him that he was cursed and unworthy, he has become a hero. It is also a sort of tangible heroism that children will completely understand. They will know what his achievement is and how difficult it would be to accomplish.

Qualls’ illustrations are incredible. Filled with beautiful people, strong color, patterns and light, the illustrations let the backgrounds fade to white and black and the people come forward and shine. Bright colors ripple across skin, fill cheeks, and color the air around people. There is a sense of life within these illustrations, one that can’t be contained.

A truly inspiring story that shows the creation of a national hero from his infancy through his achievements. Appropriate for ages 7-9.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews318 followers
October 1, 2015
This is an inspiring story about a child who learned to cope with a disability in a place where there were very few resources available to him. The text succinctly explains that in Ghana many people thought that people with disabilities couldn't do anything or might even be cursed. Emmanuel went on to become an athlete and an advocate for people with disabilities, helping to make changes in Ghana that made life better for people with disabilities.

Expressive art shows emotion throughout Emmanuel's journey. I just find Sean Quall's art very pleasing to the eye. The characters are highlighted in each spread, wearing bright colors that stand out against a mostly neutral background. An author's note explains that Emmanuel went on to compete in major athletic events and he carried the torch in the 2004 Cairo Olympics. His bike ride and continued activism contributed to laws passed in Ghana that guarantee people with disabilities the same rights as other people.

This is a book that opens a window to a place and experience that will be unfamiliar to most kids and I think it's an interesting story that kids will pick up and read. I've put this one on my booktalking roster for 3rd & 4th graders this spring.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,776 reviews43 followers
December 29, 2020
Finally, I found this book and got to enjoy it as so many others have shared its joy. An inspiration throughout, starting with Emmanuel’s mother, who wouldn’t give up her son just because he was born without the use of one leg. She insisted that he figure out how to do things to help, like carrying water, and he did. No one would play with him, so he saved his money and bought a soccer ball, said he was to be allowed to play if anyone else wanted to use the ball. He played! Emmanuel may have been born using only one leg, yet showed more persistence and endurance than others with two. He became disgusted with the way the disabled were treated in his country, Ghana, so set out on a cross-country ride to show how much is possible. He wore a t-shirt with the words The Pozo, meaning “disabled person”. He now continues to fight for the rights of the disabled all over the world. This story is a must for everyone to read, not just teachers to children, but for all to learn that having a disability is just one part of what someone is, not all the parts.
Profile Image for Vernon Area Public Library KIDS.
927 reviews38 followers
April 8, 2018
What an inspirational person! This picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is nominated for the 2019 Monarch Award, an Illinois K-3 Readers Choice Award. Emmanuel was born with one leg that didn't work as it should, but that didn't stop him. In fact, it made him try even harder. After he became too heavy for his Mom to carry to school, he hopped there (two miles) on one leg! Read this book to learn about more of the amazing accomplishments of this amazing young man.

Reviewed by Lisa Coleman, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Library
49 reviews
October 1, 2018
This story is amazing for kids with disabilities, it highlights the strengths and struggles Emmanuel had throughout his life. The pictures showcase African art, and styles. The story line is smooth and simple enough for elementary kids to understand. Since this story is based on a real story and person, it helps students feel empowered to do anything they set their mind to, and is a very inspiring picture book and biography.
Profile Image for Ricki.
Author 2 books104 followers
December 22, 2014
Emmanuel's Dream is an inspirational story about a boy who refuses to be overcome by his disability. Others tell him he should just become a beggar, but he is determined to be the best he can be. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and the story flows well. Students will find hope and strength in Emmanuel's strong, resilient spirit.
Profile Image for Joyce Yattoni.
298 reviews23 followers
July 17, 2016
#bookaday What a wonderful true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah born with a disfigured leg in Ghana. At the time of his birth some people believed it was a curse. This is a story about perseverance and the belief that YOU can change the world. Eventually, his political activism helped to pass the Person's with Disabilities Act.

Great story for growth mindset lesson, Genius Hour.
Profile Image for Nancy Kotkin.
1,405 reviews18 followers
May 3, 2019
Very inspiring picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a disabled young man from Ghana who bicycled nearly 400 miles in just ten days though he has only one functional leg. According to the back matter, he continues to work to spread his message: "Disability does not mean inability." Mixed media illustrations.
Profile Image for Ms. B.
3,028 reviews36 followers
March 27, 2016
Fabulous and inspiring picture book biography about overcoming adversity. Emmanuel, who was born with only one leg doesn't let that stop him from attending school, playing soccer or riding a bike 400 miles across Ghana, Africa.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,160 reviews210 followers
August 9, 2021
Featured in a grandma reads session.

Emmanuel persisted. He persevered. He outlasted the nay-sayers and the nay-stayer, his own dad. His mother, named Comfort (I loved that), and he worked through the early growing years together. Finally, it was clear that he'd have to go off and find a way to make enough of a living to send money home to the family. A boy with one good leg, and one not-so-good, was not a deal breaker by any means. He just needed to get creative, and boy, did he!

Emmanuel changed the way his country thinks about disabilities and disabled people.

"Disability is NOT Inability" Emmanuel reminds us. His message is important.

A great read for my group.
Profile Image for Michelle Rogers.
320 reviews24 followers
September 30, 2022
A fabulous book on the inspirational story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah of Ghana and his work to spread the message that a disability doesn't mean inability. We were all amazed at the feats Emmanuel completed to help improve his own life, to care for his family, and to help improve the lives of people with disabilities in his country. This is a great book to help discuss the dignity of all and how our abilities can look different but all humans have value and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect!
Profile Image for Shiva.At.
29 reviews17 followers
April 13, 2020
من این کتابو خیلی زیاد دوست داشتم براساس واقعیت هست و می تونید تو گوگل بزنید و امانوئل رو ببینید :)
Profile Image for Lesley.
1,802 reviews11 followers
December 22, 2022
A very inspiring young man, destigmatizing disability for his entire country. I'm glad I have learned his story.
Profile Image for Dani Kraft.
14 reviews
June 10, 2018
This book is amazing! It gives a REAL LIFE example of children having to deal with struggles in their life. Emmanuel is a strong boy who can do more than even I! He loses his mother and is forced to take care of his entire family. He does this and more! Emmanuel is an inspiration for all. Even some adults couldn't do what Emmanuel did!

Emmanuel’s Dream//Laurie Ann Thompson

I will have all of the children again sit down on the rug. I then will ask them this question “Who here knows what they would do if their parents could not take care of them anymore?” I then would listen to their answers and continue on saying “This story, Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls talks about a boy and what he has to do since his mother passes away.” I then will then show them the cover. I will then say “Can anyone here tell me anything that they notice about this cover?” Hoping that someone will notice Emmanuel having only one leg. I will then say, “Do any of you think you could ride a bike with only one leg?” They will probably all giggle and I will try to make it more serious because this book has a good message. I want the children that I teach to be exposed to real life stories and I think this is a great example! I will then say, “This is a true story about a boy named Emmanuel who does just that.” I will then open the book to the first page about Emmanuel being born. “Do you guys think that Emmanuel can still do everything you do, with only one leg?” They will all give their answers and I will then finish saying “He absolutely can, let’s see how strong Emmanuel really is!” I will then continue reading the book.

Rationale Portion: This book I start asking the kids what they would do without the assistance of their parents. I ask this because I want the kids to really be exposed to real things that happen to children all over the world. This book once they hear the story is a great example of the struggles Emmanuel overcomes. I then move on to the cover talking about the boy who is missing a leg. I tell them that he is missing a leg but he is still a strong boy and can do what everyone else can do. I think it is important to address that because throughout the story all of the children will notice the leg being missing. If they know that the leg is missing before it will cause less distraction during the story time. I finish my introduction talking about how Emmanuel is strong in the story and can accomplish everything for this family even only with one leg.
5 reviews
April 18, 2017
Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson is a remarkable bibliographical book about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's life as he overcomes living life with a deformed leg. Emmanuel was born in Ghana, West Africa and raised by his mother. When Emmaneul's peers doubted his abilities with a deformed leg, his mother reminded him to follow his dreams. Emmanuel conquers many inspiring adventures as a child, and especially as a teenager and adult. Emmanuel's displays a powerful and is sure to encourage everyone that reads this book. Emmanuel's Dream is best suited for students in grades 2-5.

I consider Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson to be a great book to incorporate in my classroom as a read-aloud. This book is a great example to use to teach about biographies. This book is also an excellent book to promote discussion about following your dreams and not giving up even when people discourage you. This book would be great to read aloud anytime during the school year, however, I do believe this would be a great book for the beginning of the year to encourage students.

Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson is a WOW book for me due to the inspiring story that is presented through this book. It is easy to give up when situations get difficult or when people doubt you, but it takes a strong and determined person to persevere and follow their dreams. This book really encouraged me as I finish out this semester.
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