Elem. – Up and Adam

Zapata, Debbie. Up and Adam. Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang. Kids Can Press, 2022. Unpaged. $18.99 978-1-5253-0441-5  Grades PK-2.

Zapata uses her son Adam, with Down Syndrome, as inspiration for this uplifting book celebrating all kinds of abilities. After a huge storm rages through his town, Adam hears a news broadcast in which the Mayor asks the community for help, and adds, “Up and at ‘em!” Did the mayor just tell Adam and his dog (named Up) to get to work? Adam says yes, and sets out to help. He picks up fallen branches; helps the school janitor to clean up the playground; gives help to a girl on a ladder; and with a teenager, sweeps the mess outside the pizza shop. Adam goes home…not to rest, but to bake cookies to give to all the helpers and the community. At the boardwalk, Adam finds his recipients, and the people find a boost from the cookies and the friendly, “Hi! Hiiiii!” Adam repeats. Adam learns from the day that “a pair of smiles can make a difference” and is satisfied that “we helped.” The author’s note positively describes her son and how everyone deserves dignity and respect. Resources for readers included. 

THOUGHTS: It’s hard not to smile while reading this book, thanks to Adam’s smile and relentless optimism. This book is a wonderful way to further illustrate the importance of respect for all; community service gets a needed boost as well.  

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

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