My little reluctant reader has discovered The Owl Diaries series and we’ve been reading nothing but lately. They’re cute little chapter books featuring a little owl named Eva and her daily life in the treetops. In book 7 , one of Eva’s classmates has a little sister who can’t fly like the other owlets and needs a “wingchair”. The whole class decides to raise money to buy the wingchair for the little owlet.
I read a lot of diverse kids books with and
to my kidlets but I honestly can’t think of another time I’ve seen this in a children’s book. Books for young readers that have any representation of characters with disabilities are rare so to find that AND have the major plot point be that the family doesn’t have enough money to buy a wheelchair was pretty refreshing.
Because I know people think that kids shouldn’t have to think or worry about these sorts of socio-economic things but I think it can only help grow empathy and besides, there are kids who have to experience this sort of issue firsthand. Representation matters a lot and so does real life. I appreciate that in this sweet little animal land not everything is so perfect and even owls have to have gofundme to have healthcare and accessibility needs met.
Possible spoiler alert here but the main conflict in the story is that Eva’s classmates make the fundraising a competition and get so wrapped up in who is winning that they forget why and who they’re raising money for. This is something I’ve seen and complained about many times. When one of my older daughters was in elementary school they would have a canned food drive for low income folks every single year and every year it was a competition between the upper grade classrooms. The winner got a pizza party. I hated everything about this fundraising challenge. The recipients of the fundraising bounty weren’t even thought of or talked about and how weird that you get to have pizza (something that a lot of low income people won’t usually get to order out for themselves) as a reward for feeding hungry people. Anyway, I was annoyed. Probably the author has seen this happen before as well and was also annoyed.
(Or I’m overthinking as usual. That wouldn’t be unheard of)