Tag! You're It

A Story on Inclusion with Gabby & Nicky

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 03/03/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

All children want to play, but those with special needs are often excluded from other youngsters' games. This is also what happens to Gabby, the sweet protagonist of Tag! You're It by Jannesy DeLeon. Gabby has cerebral palsy and cannot talk or run, but when she and her brother Nicky see other children in the park, she manages to make him understand that she would like to join them. At first, however, it does not seem possible that Gabby can play tag. Will Gabby be able to play and have fun in the end? Find it out by reading this story of inclusion, beautifully illustrated by Gaspar D. Sabatere.

Tag! You're It tells a story that any sensitive reader will find funny, moving, and inspiring at the same time. Jannesy DeLeon has two children with special needs, and in this book, she recounts what they have experienced firsthand. I think this is precisely why the story of Gabby and Nicky makes such a deep impression on the reader. In addition to giving food for thought to both young readers and parents who will read Tag! You're It with them, I liked that DeLeon added a list of outdoor games that can be modified to include the others. Thanks to this book, young readers will understand how easy it is to have fun together without hurting anyone. This message deserves to be spread, and I hope Gabby and Nicky's story raises awareness so that every child can play and be happy as they deserve.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Gabby really wanted to play with the other children in the park. They were having so much fun playing tag. Gabby enjoyed being on the swing while her brother, Nicky, pushed her, but she wanted to feel included in other children’s games. Confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk due to her cerebral palsy, she had her own way of communicating with Nicky. There was nothing wrong with her mind and she was full of life and energy. She knew she could play tag with the other children if someone pushed her wheelchair. When Gabby was made ‘It’, the children swerved away to escape her touch. But Gabby was clever; she thought up a plan to trick the other children and to prove she could play as well as they did.

Jannesy DeLeon’s picture book story, Tag! You’re It: A Story on Inclusion with Gabby and Nicky, is a sweet, compassionate story about accepting others in spite of their differences. Children, like adults, tend to judge people based on their looks and their visible abilities (or what some call disabilities). People of all ages need to learn that we all have different abilities, and we all want to feel included. The plot follows Gabby and Nicky as they try to become involved in a game of tag with other children. Gabby must try extra hard to prove she’s good enough to be a part of the fun activities. The characters are well developed, and the illustrations are bright, colorful, and very descriptive of both activities and facial expressions. The dialogue is well-constructed and used effectively. The language is simple to help young readers follow along. This is a beautiful story that will not only teach young readers about conditions like cerebral palsy but, more importantly, it teaches them not to judge. Acceptance in all things in life is an important lesson to learn. Beautifully told.

Vernita Naylor

Some things have changed but we still have a long way to go. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, and schools were integrated to allow minority children better resources and better education. Fast forward to when not only are people of color still fighting for equal rights but discrimination is also placed on the LGBTQ and ableism (disabled) communities as well. Author Jannesy DeLeon has chosen a creative way to fight for her two children who don't have the voice to speak for themselves due to their disabilities. In her beautiful children's book, Tag! You're It: A Story on Inclusion with Gabby & Nicky with illustrations by Gaspar D. Sabater, go on a journey with the children as they try to fit in and play with kids at the park. Once the other children began to play with Gabby and Nicky, they realized that they all have the same desire which is to laugh, play, and have fun. To help others learn how to play games that will include disabled children, Jannesy has chosen a few games to get started from Red Light, Green Light and Musical Balls to Through the Hoop. With some creativity of your own, I'm sure that you can think of more games to encourage inclusivity as well.

It's always a great idea to have conversations about change and to create platforms for solutions on how to overcome discrimination and stimulate inclusivity. Tag! You're It by Jannesy DeLeon is an excellent pathway for children to learn and grow into becoming more accepting and embracing others that are different from them. Normally children love and can connect with anyone but it's their parents or guardians that are usually the culprits of discrimination. This book will help children to right the wrong and see that any form of discrimination, especially against someone that's disabled, is not kind nor acceptable. Let's teach our children not to discriminate against anyone regardless of their hair, culture, skin, religion, clothes, where someone lives, or their disability but to embrace others with compassion, sharing, and humanity. I'm sure that your child will love this book as much as I did. Highly recommended.