Nobody Knows!


32 pages
ISBN 0-9696477-1-9
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Darlene "Toots" Toews
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is the co-editor of the Children’s Literature edition
of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


What is it like to be 6 years old and have lots of words inside your
head, but not be able to make people hear them? Nobody knows! That, at
least, is how Ann, who has cerebral palsy, feels. Sometimes even her mom
and dad can’t figure out what she is trying to tell them. Luckily, Ann
does have one friend, Jay, who always seems to know what she means.

Nobody Knows! is about a day in Ann’s life. We meet her mom and dad;
the speech lady; Jay, an obtuse grown-up in the park; an alligator; and,
last but not least, Josie the horse. When Ann sits up high on Josie’s
back, she knows she “can do anything.” She can even concentrate hard
enough to say “Walk on!” and have Josie understand.

Sarah Yates has sensitively and realistically told the story of an
ordinary little girl who faces extraordinary challenges. We like Ann
immediately and feel frustrated that she can’t get out the words she
wants to say, and sometimes can’t get where she wants to go. We also
feel her sense of elation when Josie understands, and walks on.

The text of this book is virtually perfect, telling an important story
without a hint of condescension or sentimentality. The two-color
illustrations work beautifully with the text to create a remarkable book
about an unforgettable little girl. I was permanently influenced, at
about age 10, by Jean Little’s Mine for Keeps, also about a young girl
with cerebral palsy. Nobody Knows! will have the same impact on younger
children, and will help some special children, and their families, feel
as if somebody knows. Highly recommended.


Yates, Sarah., “Nobody Knows!,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,