More good news from Brooks Global and Emmanuel's Dream

Several weeks ago I wrote about a school in North Carolina, Brooks Global Studies, which had selected Emmanuel’s Dream as their all-school read and then had Emmanuel come visit them in person! (If you haven’t seen it yet, please go check out the video. It’s pretty amazing!)
Recently, I came across this additional piece of the story, which I hadn’t been aware of… In addition to the shared reading experience and the inspirational visit from Emmanuel, the Brooks Global Studies school community took things one step further by organizing a charity bike drive and were able to collect 210 donated bicycles! The bikes will be shipped to Ghana, refurbished by a repair shop operated by people with disabilities, and then put up for sale there.
What an inspiring, rewarding event for everyone involved. Way to go, Brooks Global Studies! Click here to read the full article, and be sure to scroll through the picture slideshow!

H. Scott Hoffmann/Greensboro News & Record

Celebrate Inclusive Schools Week!


Schools across the country are observing Inclusive Schools Week this week. According to the Inclusive Schools Network:

Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) and Stetson & Associates, Inc., which is held each year during the first full week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.
This year, the Inclusive Schools Week’s theme focuses on the concept of being a hero. This is particularly fitting because the definition of a hero, a person noted for courageous acts of nobility of character, resonates with all of the students, parents, teachers, principals and community leaders who take courageous steps forward each day to promote acceptance for all. The path toward more inclusive educational services has been challenging, yet rewarding. This year, we will focus on the steps along this journey and consider the courage it requires.

Now that’s a mission I can get behind, and I think my book Emmanuel’s Dream, about one of my personal heroes, fits this theme perfectly! Emmanuel is not only a person with a disability, but he’s dedicated his life to creating an inclusive school for students with disabilities and without and his home country of Ghana.
Inclusive Schools Network has more great ideas and resources for celebrating Inclusive Schools Week here.
And Savanna Flakes has some other great suggestions for all ages here on MultiBriefs: Exclusive.
 

Emmanuel prepares for another ride in Ghana!

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
ModernGhana.com reports “Para Cyclist Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah To Ride For Peaceful Elections In Ghana.”
Emmanuel is preparing once again to circle Ghana, as he did in Emmanuel’s Dream, but this time it will be a peace tour to promote a peaceful general election. At a press conference, he pointed out that disabled people are among society’s most vulnerable, along with children and the elderly, and they often have no place to go if war erupts.
The Ghanaian election is set to take place on December 7, 2016, so Emmanuel’s “Riding For Peace 2016” event will start on November 7, 2016, in Accra, the capital of Ghana. He’ll ride with ten other para cyclists on a route to Cape Coast and Takoradi, up through Ashanti and the northern region, down through Volta, and finally to Emmanuel’s hometown, Koforidua, where he will cast his own vote. By the time they are finished, they will have biked to promote peace through 240 districts in one month. Riding for Peace 2016 is asking for support from companies, organizations, and all who want peace for Ghana.
Good luck, Emmanuel!

Emmanuel on US National Amputee Soccer Team

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the subject of my upcoming picture-book biography, EMMANUEL’S DREAM, is an athlete who was born in Ghana, West Africa, with a deformed leg. As a young man, he wanted to change the way disabled people were treated in Ghana, so he rode a bicycle nearly 400 miles all around his country to prove that being disabled doesn’t mean being unable. Since then, he has continued to be an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and has launched his own foundation, with plans to build a school in Ghana for abled and disabled children alike. He now spends most of his time based in San Diego, CA, traveling the United States as a motivational speaker and raising funds for his charity.
This spring, the United States National Amputee Soccer Team invited Emmanuel to play for them. He just returned to San Diego from a training session in Maryland, and he’ll join the team when they compete in the 10th Amputee World Cup in Mexico in late November.
Good luck, Emmanuel, and to the rest of the players on the US National Amputee Soccer Team!
Read more about Emmanuel and his World Cup Soccer experience here, including some great photos.

EMMANUEL'S DREAM popping up in some exciting places!

My upcoming picture-book biography, EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, has been popping up in a few exciting places lately!
First, I recently got to see–for the first time–how the illustrations by Sean Qualls are progressing, and the artwork is nothing short of amazing! I was sitting in a quiet coffee shop working on my laptop when I got my first glimpse, and it literally brought tears to my eyes, in all the best ways. I wanted to dance around the place and scream with excitement! I love the bold color palette he’s using, the expressions on the characters’ faces, and the way he chose to show parts of the story in silhouetted background images. It’s breathtaking! Unfortunately, I can share any of it with you just yet, but I can’t wait to be able to. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Second, the book is now listed on Goodreads! I hope you’ll click on this link or the button below and add EMMANUEL’S DREAM to your “Want to Read” shelf.

Goodreads button for Emmanuel's Dream

Third, the book is available for pre-order! If you’d like to reserve a signed copy, you may now order EMMANUEL’S DREAM from Secret Garden Books (please leave an extra week or so after the publication date for delivery, and indicate how you’d like it personalized in the “other notes about your order” field). It Is also available for pre-order on Amazon.comBarnes & NobleIndieBoundPowell’s, or directly from the publisher, Schwartz & Wade/Random House.
Keep an eye out for more exciting news!

Fantastic news–my first book sale!

Okay, so this post is a little late in coming. I’ve been carefully thinking about related revision notes as well as enjoying just a little bit of basking and celebrating (okay, a lot of basking and celebrating!). Now that my feet are back on the ground, please allow me to share the official announcement…
I’ve sold my first book!
 

I can’t yet reveal all of the details (there’s a top-secret Awesome Illustrator involved!), but I  can say that in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined anything better. My picture-book biography about Emmanuel Osofu Yeboah (see previous post) will be edited by the lovely Anne Schwartz at Schwartz & Wade (Random House). Here’s a bit of a blurb about the book, courtesy of my amazing agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette:

“When Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born, his right leg was short and twisted—completely useless. It was 1977, and people with disabilities in Ghana, West Africa, were considered cursed, and left their homes only to beg for food or money. Emmanuel challenged the norm from his youngest days. Then, in 2001, he decided to prove that people with physical challenges could do amazing things, so he bicycled across Ghana—almost 400 miles—with one leg. His ten-day ride helped make him a virtual celebrity, but also a national hero. As a direct result of Emmanuel’s efforts, Ghana eventually enacted progressive disability laws.”

Her full announcement is on the Erin Murphy Literary Agency website, here.
Part of what makes this the ultimate dream come true for is that this is the story I could never let go of. It’s the first book I ever tried to write and has been through at least 30 MAJOR rewrites, changing genres and target age groups several times along the way, and varying in length from 200 words to 1500 words and everywhere in between. I’ve put it away, studied and learned, pondered and thought, written other things, and been pulled back to this one again countless times, over and over, for almost 7 years. This project has been my own personal 400-mile bike ride, one that I don’t know if I could have completed without the inspiration I’ve derived from the story itself. To have it be the first book of mine to sell AND to have it land in such a perfect, wonderful home at S&W is truly unbelievable. But please don’t pinch me, because this is one dream I don’t want to end.

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah on Oprah's OWN

I just found this short video that Oprah recently did on Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the subject of my manuscript ONE IS ENOUGH. I’ve been working on this story, in some form, since I first heard about it in 2005, and I still find it inspiring. I hope you will, too.

An Update on Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Three years after Emmanuel’s Gift was released, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah shares an update on how his life has changed since that time. Find out about Emmanuel’s sports academy, his passion for soccer, his family and how he’s changed the lives of millions of people in Ghana.

If you’d like to read more about Emmanuel and his mission or find out how you can help, please visit his foundation’s web page here.
You can also read about him:

in this book


or this documentary.

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