by Aimee Murphy
The bright and welcoming cover of You Are Enough immediately attracted me to it when I saw it shared on a children’s book Instagram account a few weeks back. When I read the subtitle, “a book about inclusion,” I knew that I had to pick up a copy myself. One of the central principles of Rehumanize International’s mission has always been to have a spirit of radical inclusivity, and this book speaks to that theme in powerful ways that truly rehumanize.
This powerful little page-turner begins with an opening statement from the girl who inspired the book, Sofia Sanchez. She is a 12-year-old dynamo who has Down Syndrome, and her opening words seek to tell a little of her story and break down the stigma of disability and Down Syndrome in particular. She explains, “I am just like any other kid. I like to read and draw in my journal. I love people and making new friends. I dance and cheer, and my favorite subjects are Spanish, music, and theater.” That little rehumanizing statement begins to help us see her dignity, her uniqueness, and helps us to sonder a bit at her existence. She goes on to say, “... I want to inspire others to love themselves, too. Because we are all beautiful, just as we are.” I don’t want to spoil her story for you — it’s her own, and the book explains it well alongside the illustrations and photos. And still, what a profound, yet simple message that we all need to hear: our dignity and our worth are inherent in us, “just as we are,” no matter what our circumstances.
The colorful and engaging illustrations drawn by Sofia Cardoso include depictions of Sofia Sanchez alongside many other children with varying disabilities, including deaf and blind kids and kids who use wheelchairs, crutches, prosthetics, and other mobility aids. Of course, there is also representation of other forms of diversity, exposing young readers to children from all races and backgrounds — including one precious girl in hijab, several kids with vitiligo, a child exploring a somewhat gender-fluid outfit, and people with varying body types, including two pregnant people! The diversity of representation is really admirable because it demonstrates the beautiful variety of humanity with an accompanying message of human dignity, beauty, and worth, no matter what. It is so good for kids of all backgrounds to see themselves depicted in the characters within these pages as the words speak the truth that we are enough, all on our own. My favorite line from the book, written by Margaret O’Hair, is, “Look for the good in the world. Start by looking in the mirror. Love what you see there. Because just like me… You are enough!”
I’m really pleased to share this lovely little book with all of my niblings when they come to visit, and I’m so happy to share it with you today. On this year’s Down Syndrome Day (3/21 every year because children with Down Syndrome have 3 copies of gene 21), I hope that you will run out and grab a copy for the kids in your life to expose your children to the beauty of the diversity of the human family and to share this much-needed rehumanizing message inspired by Sofia Sanchez: that deep down, we are all worthy of dignity, love, and care.