Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair by Barrett, Toner and Freeland

Book cover
Yes I can, a girl and her wheelchair

today’s children storybook summary is

Yes, I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair

By Kendra J. Barrett, Jacqueline B. Toner, and Claire A.B. Freeland

Illustrated by Violet Lemay

Theme: Overcoming disability; school inclusion;

Plot: How a happy first grader, in a wheelchair, can make friends and enjoy her days at school and participate in ordinary school activities;

Moral: This story teaches us to have a positive attitude towards the people with special needs; instead of excluding them from daily activities, we should find activities suited for their condition; instead of turning a blind eye and pretending they aren’t there, we should see them for who they are and help them with their goals.


Carolyn started her first grade in a new school and she is anxious to make friends. The kids in the class are curious too because Carolyn is bound to a wheelchair. Since birth, Carolyn legs didn’t work. She cannot walk but she can do everything else. So, in the eyes of her peers, she is different.

Carolyn has a great attitude. She always says “Yes, I Can” to the challenges that come to her, in the classroom, at the gym, or on special occasions. And she keeps her word even if she accomplishes her tasks in a slightly atypical way.

Here is a typical day: at the circle time, when all the kids sit on the carpet, Carolyn uses her hands to scoot in the middle; when she is asked by the teacher to hand out the papers, she carefully maneuvers her wheelchair between the desks, even if she finds it a little frustrating; at lunch time she sits at the end of the table so she can be with her friends; she can also go on field trips, her teacher requesting a special bus with wheelchair accommodations; at the bowling alley, a ramp is set so she can roll the ball from her wheelchair.

There’s one time that Carolyn doubts her “Yes, I Can” attitude. One of her friends is having a trampoline birthday party and she was invited. Could she enjoy it? At first, Carolyn sits in her wheelchair watching the children jump. She is a little sad. This is one thing she cannot do at all. But soon, she forgets about it when someone brings a baby. Carolyn is good with babies. Soon she and the babies are best friends.

Back at school, when Carolyn doesn’t think she’d be able to join a team, her classmates finds just the right activity for her. In the end, it looks like “Yes, I can” attitude had spread through the whole class bringing Carolyn and her friends closer together.

At the end of the book, you will find a “Note for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers” regarding children with special needs, taking Carolyn, the character of this book as an example”. The three authors of this book are, also, doctors.

Characters: Carolyn, a first grader in a wheelchair, children, her mother, teacher.


Violet Lemay, the illustrator of this book does a wonderful job depicting the story in a realistic style. Her characters are full of life, with that joy that you can only see on children’s eyes. She uses a lot of pastel colors and a lot of details making the pages come to life.

Recommended Age: 5 to 10

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Things to Learn: What it means to be in a wheelchair: go to the end of the book and find the “Note…” to learn more about explaining the condition to children.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoy it, please take a second and rate this book and subscribe to new posts in the upper right corner 🙂


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