Different is Awesome by Ryan Haack is an illustrated children's book about a little boy who brings a surprise to school for show and tell...his older brother, Ryan. It is based on the true story of the author, whose little brother brought him to school for show and tell to show off that Ryan was born a little different than many others, because Ryan was born with only one hand.
Not only does Ryan show the kids in his brother's class that his difference doesn't hold him back, but he also helps them discover a more profound truth: that everyone is a little, well, different! What's more, differences are what make us who we are. They make our community vibrant.
The author subtly makes this point by introducing each curious kid by describing an attribute that might be called a difference. For instance, in one scene, a little boy with red hair asks Ryan if he can play baseball despite his disability. In another, a little girl with a birthmark on her face asks if he can play basketball. As the children come forward one by one to ask Ryan questions, we realize that--in having a difference--Ryan is just like everyone else.
This book will make a great gift for all children, and especially for those with physical differences and their siblings. One of our favorite things about Haack's book is the confidence which Ryan displays. He is comfortable being asked questions about his hand, and welcomes the curiosity of others. In this way, he teaches a valuable lesson about self-confidence to young readers: it is not how you fit in that makes you special, but how you stand out.
The book is recommended for children age 4-8, but we think people of all ages will enjoy its message of acceptance.