I Am Not A Label by Cerrie Burnell

Values: Inclusion, Equality, Acceptance, Positivity, Hope, Respect, Empathy...

I bought this book in 2020 having become aware that my classroom was perhaps not fully representative of inspirational people who were/are not able-bodied. It quickly became one of my favourite books, and my class adored it too. We often read one page a day before we went home to find out more about one of the 34 disabled icons in this book.

The anthology is non-fiction and each page is beautifully illustrated with a picture of the person and a little bit about their life, in very child-friendly language. It gives a synopsis of why they might be famous or what they have done to make the lives of others better. In essence, it highlights the Values that these people hold!

This book radiates inclusion, equality, acceptance, positivity, hope, respect, empathy... the list could go on. Each page gives a different person to discuss and think about which Values they have shown in their life and how we can ensure the world we live in has equal rights and opportunities for people who are both able-bodied and disabled. I am also thrilled that the book highlights mental health illnesses as well as physical disabilities as the need to discuss mental health and wellbeing grows in our schools.

The introduction to the book is just as powerful as the people it features. Cerrie Burnell talks about the language of 'disabled' and 'a person with a disability' and reminds children that people are, "disabled by society and do not need to be fixed" and that, "we all have the power to shine our own light". Indeed, I spent the first twenty minutes with my class discussing what these quotes meant before we even got into the main text!

I believe this book will be used endlessly in every classroom, library and home and highly recommend adding it to your Values bookshelf.

Grab your copy on Amazon or in a local bookshop to you. I got mine in Waterstones, Oxford.

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