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Cerrie Burnell is an actress, singer, playwright, author and former television presenter for CBeebies (2009–2017). She was born with half a right arm and has sought to increase visibility of disabled people through her career in presenting, writing and acting.
July 2020 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | In this important new resource, author Cerrie Burnell has put together a fascinating collection of inspiring stories. As she says in her introduction when she was growing up as a child born with just one hand “there just weren’t enough books with a disabled protagonist” and “Everyone deserves to see someone like them in a story and achieving something great” Her own achievements are themselves inspirational and she has long been a disability rights campaigner as well as much loved CBeebies presenter and children’s author and so the whole book is infused with authenticity and passion. A double page spread for each of the 34 role models and two special sections on mental health and “invisible disabilities” are all evocatively illustrated by comic artist and graphic designer, Lauren Baldo capturing the time and spirit of the featured individual and giving real context to the highly readable and fascinating life stories. Starting in 1770 with Beethoven and finishing in 2001 with the birth of black, transgender disabled model superstar Aaron Philip, the life stories are commendably international and wide ranging, challenging our preconceived ideas of what is possible. From the familiar Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder to the less well known like break dancer Redouan Ait Chit, mountaineer Arunima Sinha, lawyer Catalina Devandas to celebrities like Lady Gaga,whose disability was a complete surprise to me, these stories will open eyes and minds. A comprehensive glossary and helpful discussion of language choices around disability and representation throughout add even more usefulness to this essential and attractive resource.
Late one evening as the stars begin to twinkle, Harper and her friends are flying on the scarlet umbrella when they see a girl running on air, skipping along a tightrope. She leads them to the Circus of Dreams, suspended in the air by hot air balloons. As the children meet the mermaid acrobat, the spectacular circus baker, the mysterious fortune teller and the acrobatics troop, they begin to realise something about Harper's past...
October 2015 Book of the Month 'Once there was a girl called Harper who had a rare musical gift. She heard songs on the wind, rhythms on the rain and hope in the beat of a butterfly’s wing.’ So begins this charming story of a special little girl, who loves music and cats, and of her adventures with a magical umbrella. Harper’s life with her dressmaker aunt Sassy is unusual already, but the gift of the Scarlet Umbrella transforms it even more because this umbrella is quite out of the ordinary. When Harper’s cat Midnight goes missing, together with all the cats in the City of Clouds, Harper knows the umbrella will help her to find them. There’s a delightfully old-fashioned feel to this story, a hint of proper magic. Little girls in particular will love Harper and day-dream themselves into her adventures. ~ Andrea Reece
Bbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell gets to the heart of what it feels like to be an outsider in this touching and sensitive story about a little girl adjusting to a new way of life. Newly arrived from the city to stay with her grandmother in the country, Mia finds everything to be frighteningly different. But then the snow falls and Mia realises that every flake is different – just like every child – but that they all also have much in common. Mia’s experience of change and being an outsider ends in a happy friendship which will give a reassuring message to all readers.