Elle & Buddy – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

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On January 1st, An Unconventional Librarian, an educational, book-loving blogger whom I follow, posted the following challenge, which I love and have been promoting over the inter-webs. I thought it would be fun to take the challenge myself and blog about it. I will be selecting from picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. I am selective about the books I recommend on this blog and endeavor to suggest books I feel maintain a high quality of art, writing and storytelling. I look forward to suggesting many old and new titles again this year.

ELLE & BUDDY falls into category #4 on this list.


ElleBuddyBookTitle: Elle & Buddy

Written by: K. D. Rausin

Illustrated by: Muza Ulasowski

Published by: Peter E. Randall, March, 2015

Themes/Topics: dogs, adaptive sports, wheelchairs, disability

Suitable for ages: 7+


Elle peeked through her fingers and counted the cars on the ferris wheel.                               ‘Oh no! I am not going up there. It’s too high!’                                                                     The cars at the tippy-top dropped down from the clouds like summer rain


Elle, a young girl in a wheel chair is at the fair with her rescue dog, Buddy, but is too fearful to try the ferris wheel, even if Buddy goes with her. On the way home from the fair, Elle sees her first racing wheelchairs on a track and starts to dream. She sketches and visualizes a day when she can race as fast as Buddy. One day she awakens to a surprise gift of a racing wheelchair and begins to train rigorously with Buddy alongside her. She soon outpaces even Buddy. The story ends back in the theme park with an Elle transformed by her racing speed and sense of achievement and now more than willing to overcome her fear and brave the ferris wheel.

Why I like This Book:

Yesterday I watched the movie, DOLPHIN Tale 2, a sequel continuing the story of Winter the rescued dolphin, who, with the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, learned to use a unique prosthetic tail. This is based on a true story and aquarium in Florida. The most moving part of the movie for me was watching kids and veterans with prosthetic limbs moved and inspired by Winter’s rescue and adaptation to a huge disability for a dolphin. ELLE & BUDDY has the same effect for me.

While fictional it is inspired by the author’s own daughter, who was paralyzed in a car accident at age ten. But who in her teens and now as a college student has gone on to some extraordinary athletic feats with her racing wheelchair and whose winning attitude, just like Elle in this story, is an inspiration for everyone overcoming challenges. Buddy, Elle’s huge rescue dog is an adorable companion throughout this story.



Muza’s gift of stunning natural realism in her art gives a vivid presence and authenticity to this picture book. She paints digitally with Wacom Tablet utilizing Artrage Studio Pro & Photoshop CS5 programmes. Look for the many illustrative Florida wildlife details, where the story takes place, by this Australian illustrator!


  • The author talks about why she wrote this story on her website.
  • The book contains a timeline of the history of wheelchair racing and a page of works consulted, for further study.
  • Kids interested in adaptive sports should check out the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
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20 Responses to Elle & Buddy – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

  1. Beautiful story, lovely review and great illustrations, thanks Joanna.

  2. Oh, a book after my own heart! Love the focus on ability! his really sounds like an intriguing read! One of my PB ideas was a story about a kid racing in a wheelchair. Will definitely check it out.

    • Joanna says:

      Yes, Pat, this is exactly the sort of book you review so well on your website, and it would be good to add it there as a resource, I think.

  3. I love the art in the book. Most stories stemming from personal experience have that extra special something. I’d thought about writing a story or book about a kid with autism due to my son having a mild form of it…still haven’t gotten around to it though.

    Happy 2015, Joanna!

  4. Joanna says:

    Yes, the true inspiration for this fictional story does give it an added oomph. Now go write that story about a kid with autism. We need them!

    Happy New Year, Teresa!

  5. Keila Daws says:

    You are so right. Kids need to see themselves in books. And all kids need to read books about kids, situations and families that may not look like them or live differently. Illustrations are gorgeous. I make a point to read and blog about books from underrepresented groups. Challenge accepted and to be continued. ????

  6. I am so glad you featured Elle & Buddy — it sounds like a wonderful book. Inspirational and *real* in the way it shows Elle’s struggles and her triumphs. And the illustrations look great, too.

    This looks like an excellent challenge. I like the fact that the challenge looks at all different types of diversity. I will definitely take up the reading part of the challenge, although I may not be able to fit in blogging about every book.

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks, Beth, it felt like a great book to begin the challenge. I am so glad you are joining in. It is a reading challenge really. It is just me making into a review challenge too. 🙂

  7. Sounds like a great story, I love that is based on a true one which reminds me to make sure I find some time to finish reading Brown Girl Dreaming today.

  8. rhythm says:

    This is the 2nd time I’ve seen this book reviewed in the last week. I love it already! And I haven’t had a chance to actually read it yet!! I guess this is the world telling me I need to get on it!! Thanks Ms Marple!

  9. Erik - TKRB says:

    This sounds marvelous. Good luck on your challenge! 😀

  10. Pingback: A Challenge to Read, Read, and Read Some More! | By Word of Beth

  11. That’s the perfect book for this challenge. I’m so glad that the challenge is giving people an opportunity to expand their reading horizons!

  12. Pingback: The ELLE & BUDDY Book Launch is tomorrow! | K.D. Rausin

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