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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Ada and the Helpers by Travis D Peterson is a story about a clever little dancing fox who also happens to be deaf. Her parents get her “special ears with batteries” that she wears every day. These special ears are her helpers, and her parents encourage her to help others too. Her parents also introduce her to music, which leads to her dancing. She dances so well that they encourage her to enter a talent show. On the way to the talent show, she meets three animal friends who each have some challenges to overcome. Ada finds a way to help each of them and they all continue with her to the talent show. Ada is a little nervous about performing so now her friends each find a way to help her and she really shines.
It is not often that a story about a disability is so well done. The illustrations by Melissa Fischer bring all the characters to life, especially Ada with her hearing aids and tutu. What I found so wonderful about Ada and the Helpers by Travis D Peterson is that it features Ada and her disability but does not focus exclusively on that. She understands her challenges and realizes that everyone needs helpers of some kind. I also loved that each page spread included a word spelled out in ASL and that diverse hands were used in each word and in the chart at the end! What an important message to convey to kids right now - “let’s help others too.” Hopefully, this is not the last we will see of Ada and her friends!