All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything
All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

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Annotation: A picture book tribute to the achievements of activist Jennifer Keelan describes her diagnosis with cerebral palsy at birth, the limitations she overcame and her 8-year-old participation in the Capital Crawl on behalf of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #199983
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: c2020
Illustrator: Ali, Nabi H.,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-492-68897-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6544-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-492-68897-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6544-2
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2019059224
Dimensions: 26 cm
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Jennifer Keelan, born with cerebral palsy, was unable to attend her local school because steps created a barrier for her wheelchair. Her family joined the disability rights movement in 1987 in Phoenix, where she first told her story publicly. Over the next few years, the Keelans traveled to other cities for demonstrations. In 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was languishing in Congress, activists gathered before the U.S. Capitol to demonstrate. Determined to represent kids with disabilities in the protest remembered as the Capitol Crawl, nine-year-old Jennifer joined others who, unable to walk unassisted, slowly hauled, heaved, and dragged themselves up the building's 100 steps. The ADA soon passed. The book's informative back matter includes concise explanations of topics mentioned in the text. Pimentel's compelling, present-tense narrative gives the story great immediacy, helping children connect with Jennifer's reactions to physical barriers and social injustice. Making good use of color, light, and contrast, Ali contributes a series of expressive digital illustrations. Still an activist, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins offers a thought-provoking foreword to this inspiring picture book.
Kirkus Reviews
A girl with cerebral palsy fights for the 1990 passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.Whether she's horseback riding or starting kindergarten, Jennifer Keelan's "ready to GO!" But all around her, places and people demand that she "STOP!" From her wheelchair, a 4-inch curb is a "cliff," and she's not allowed to join her classmates in the cafeteria. Everything changes when Jennifer—knowing that "children with disabilities get ignored too"—joins a diverse group of disability rights activists. When Jennifer is 8, activists propose the ADA to "make room for all people, including those with disabilities." Dismissed by Congress, disabled activists crawl up the steps of the Capitol to be heard. When grown-ups say she's too young to participate, Jennifer drags herself "ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP" on behalf of disabled kids everywhere. Ali's soft-focus illustrations deftly convey Jennifer's determined scowl and excited grin. Pimentel realistically acknowledges that the ADA hasn't fixed everything—"Slowest of all, minds have to change"—but in her foreword, the adult Jennifer—now Keelan-Chaffins—notes that she keeps "using [her] voice to speak up" and encourages readers to do likewise. Backmatter further discusses disabilities, the disability rights movement, and the ADA. Front- and backmatter seem geared toward older readers, who may find the main text a tad too simple; those wanting more information should follow this up with Amy Hayes' Disability Rights Movement (2017). Jennifer and her family present white; classmates' and activists' races vary.A necessary testament to the power of children's voices. (notes, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-10)
Publishers Weekly
-How do you change someone-s mind?- As a child who uses a wheelchair, Jennifer faces obstacles, from curbs that are like -a cliff- to exclusionary classmates. But -Jennifer knows they-re wrong. She-s just a friend waiting to happen!- In clear, accessible prose accompanied by Ali-s creamily textured digital illustrations, Pimentel relates the story of Jennifer Keelan-Chaffin-s activism in the disability rights movement, culminating in the Capitol Crawl on Mar. 12, 1990. Alongside adult activists with disabilities, Jennifer hauled herself up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to advocate for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, after which Congress at long last passed the bill. Supplemental material contextualizes the disability rights movement, offering a jumping-off point for conversations: -Anyone can choose to be an activist, no matter your age.- Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4 Pimentel's latest nonfiction book is a biography of disability rights activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and a history of the landmark 1989 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Born in 1981, Keelan-Chaffins, who has cerebral palsy, felt the world was always telling her to "STOP!" when she was "raring to GO!" At the time, sidewalks didn't have curb cutouts and her schools only had stairs. After attending an activist meeting, where adults "with all sorts of disabilities" invited her to participate, Keelan-Chaffins was inspired to make her voice heard. She and her sister were often the only youth activists at these gatherings. Congress was reluctant to pass the ADA, so Keelan-Chaffins and her family joined others to protest in Washington, DC. Adult disability advocates who used wheelchairs crawled up the stairs of the U.S. Capitol in an act of defiance. Keelan-Chaffins was determined to ensure that children with disabilities didn't get ignored. Her youth and tenacity caught the media's attention, in turn, pressuring Congress to pass the ADA. Pimental's present tense writing and portrayal of the power of a young person fighting to create change will engage young audiences. A few illustrations do not visually match the content of the text. A foreword and back matter enhance understanding. The time line that is provided might cause readers to seek extra information to fully understand specific milestones. VERDICT Even with a few quibbles, Pimentel offers a great look at a young activist creating change and a better understanding of the importance of the ADA. Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews (2/1/20)
Publishers Weekly (2/1/20)
School Library Journal (2/1/20)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 996
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 508616 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD680L

This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her. Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change--even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but the way the world around her was built made it hard to do even simple things. Like going to school, or eating lunch in the cafeteria. Jennifer knew that everyone deserves a voice Then the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that would make public spaces much more accessible to people with disabilities, was proposed to Congress. And to make sure it passed, Jennifer went to the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them. And, without her wheelchair, she climbed. ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP


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