Author and Illustrator Nancy Patz

Many so-called childhood “learning problems” are rooted in the bullying and teasing children may experience at the hands of their peers. Being seen as “different” often engenders unkind, even cruel, behavior, which often naturally causes feelings of rejection and inadequacy on the part of the child being attacked.

While this behavior is prevalent among children, we all know this also exists in the broader society. Disrespect among people seems to be stronger than ever, and the effects on our children are disturbing.

If we as teachers and parents instruct our children and recognize ourselves, that we each are different and have different strengths, that being different is a normal part of life and not an aberration -- we might well be able to erase many of these acts of disrespect and cruelty.

This perceptive, insightful book addresses these occurrences from the standpoint of a physical disability. Tracing Kofi’s life, we see him develop a meaningful way to deal with his disability.

Through his own actions we see him learn to appreciate his own true value and self-worth.

Ann Millin, Ph.D.

Historian, Washington, D.C.

Who am I? What defines me? How and when do I know that I am uniquely myself? Is it the moment I look into the mirror and see only my own particularities and experience them as limitations? Or is it the moment I look into the face of another and see myself in him or her? These are the questions that underlie Kofi's story.

I believe we are most fully human, most fully ourselves, when we live in the moment of mutual self-recognition and feel the pull of our connectedness.

It is in the moment that we know, as Elie Wiesel so eloquently described it, that our lives "no longer belong to us alone, they belong to all those who need us desperately."

We are responsible one for the other. It is in the decision to act on that responsibility, to respond to the imperative to care for, defend, or rescue one another that we become most fully human, most fully who we are.

Presented with such demand, we may reflect momentarily, as Kofi does when facing a great dilemma, on disabilities real or imagined. We may wonder whether the challenge is too great to overcome. Small, finite, or limited as we may be, however, we are up to this challenge. Like Kofi, we can choose to do the right thing.