We Want to Go to School! : The Fight for Disability Rights – Maryann Cocca and Janine Leffler

We Want to Go to School!:  The Fight for Disability Rights – Maryann Cocca-Leffler and Janine Leffler, Albert Whitman & Co., 9780807535189, 2021 

Format:  Paperback ARC

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

 What did you like about the book? I did not know much about educational disability rights and the history behind getting an equitable school system for everyone. In the beginning of the book we meet Janine who tells us about all the educational resources she received as a child with cerebral palsy. Immediately within the first pages of the book I was hit with a wave of emotions. As a mom of a child who receives several of the resources Janine received,  I also never sat and thought about the milestones and fights others had to go through to make this possible for my son. The book is narrated in Janine’s voice as she walks us through the history. She begins the story in the 1970s when there were millions of children in our country who were not allowed to go to school with “normal” kids. The book also highlights all of the reasons people gave for why children with disabilities could not go to school with their peers. The most impactful part of this two page layout is realizing that many of the people who blocked children with disabilities from schools were people like politicians, school leaders and even some teachers at that time! The book also does an excellent job tying in the race and class inequality tied to this issue. She makes readers aware that many of these unfair policies specifically impacted black and brown families more. It is no surprise that in the end the families won the court case! I loved this story and I cannot wait until the hardback copy is published.

Anything you did not like about the book? No! This book needs to be tied to school curriculum everywhere. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This book is first for every child with disabilities to get to know the history of educational support. It is perfect for ages 5 and up to talk about how there are many people who learn differently and might need extra support. 

Who should buy this book? Pre-school, elementary schools, younger middle school children 

Where would you shelve it? E or J 300s

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? YES

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 06/17/2021

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