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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Celebrate National Down Syndrome Awareness Month with THE UNSTOPPABLE JAMIE by Joyce Givens, Illustrated by Courtney Dawson!

Did you know October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month?  I was this-month-years-old when I learned this fact (thanks Blue Slip Media!), but was fascinated to learn more!  Any time we can celebrate people is a GOOD thing, and when those being celebrated are often times overlooked, or thought of less than kindly...I say all the MORE reason to shout about it from mountaintop to sandy beach!  

Today's featured title does just that by bringing awareness to this cause while informing, educating, and entertaining all at the same time. Don't think it's possible?  You don't know what you're missing...but I'm a tender heart so you're about to find out!  Ladies and gents, let's get between the pages of today's featured title...

Joyce Givens
Illustrated by
Courtney Dawson
Two Lions

About the book...
Inspired by the author’s son, the story of a boy with Down syndrome who goes on a superhero’s journey to New York City and learns what truly makes him unstoppable.

Jamie likes to pretend he’s a superhero. With his cape and gadgets, he feels like he can face anything. When his picture is chosen to be shown in Times Square for the NDSS Buddy Walk®, his family travels to New York City to see it. As he makes his way through the loud, busy, unfamiliar city, Jamie discovers that he doesn’t have all his special tools. But he soon realizes that it isn’t what he wears or the gadgets he uses that make him brave—it’s who he is inside.

This uplifting story includes an author’s note with information about Down syndrome.

Little Jamie is UNSTOPPABLE, or so the title says, but underneath all the bravado, Jamie is a little boy with a BIG secret.  He's a SUPERHERO...but his BIGGER secret is the fact that each of you are too!  Let me explain...

We get to traverse through a few days with Jamie as he has some family time, has a great moment captured on film, and is selected to have it displayed alongside other participants in the NDSS Buddy Walk in New York City!  Quite the feat, but the even bigger one is getting there to enjoy the five minutes of fame, and being able to handle the challenges in front of our little hero.  No two people are exactly alike, nor are the ways they deal with stress.  For Jamie, being able to focus in on a task, block out excess noise, and indulge in tight bear hugs really grounds him, but it's his cape that really helps him turn from Kent to Super...Jamie!  The Big Apple isn't named so because it's small, and when the going gets too tough, it can all be overwhelming.  Through that experience, Jamie comes to understand that his methods of handling the day are great tools, as is his beloved red cape, but the real hero is the boy beneath it all...himself.

It was eye opening to learn how something as simple as headphones can provide a modicum of comfort, allowing those feeling like their senses are being overloaded to gain their footing once again.  Jamie was such a sweetheart!  He had such a great outlook on life, and his family was so very supportive, you can't help but have your heart melt just a little at their interactions.  The joy he finds in each day just brings a smile to your face, or at least it did to mine, and while I didn't like seeing him stressed over all the hubbub around him, it was REAL.  THAT'S something that people deal with on the day to day, and this story gives readers a way to understand a little better what they are experiencing, and perhaps how to help if able.  When Jamie comes into his own and realizes just how POWERFUL he is, I could've hugged him.  It was such a sweet moment.

All in all, a great book for readers of all ages to celebrate the people around us and spread awareness with oh-so-much heart.  Insider fact...the story was inspired by the author's very own son (Joshua), so that he could have more books where he can see himself as the characters represented.  Just goes to show you why we need diversity in books because everyone deserves the chance to find themselves between the pages.


About the author...

Joy Givens is the author of several award-winning short stories and the lucky mother of four young superheroes, including her son Joshua, who inspired this book. She also works as a coordinator of after-school programs that serve refugee and immigrant youth. Joy lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her family. This is her first picture book. Follow her @joyeilene on Instagram or visit her at

On Facebook: Joy Eilene Givens
Joy Givens: @joyeilene
On Twitter/X: @joyeilene

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About the illustrator...

Courtney Dawson has illustrated a number of children’s books, including There’s a Rock Concert in My Bedroom by Kevin and Danielle Jonas, Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri, and Help Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson. Prior to illustrating picture books, she worked in animation. She lives with her family in California. Follow her @courtneyjdee on Instagram or stop by

On Instagram: @courtneyjdee


Special thanks to the dream team at Blue Slip Media for the chance to bring this title to you and to Two Lions for the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the illustrator, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. Keep an eye out for more celebrations featuring this title throughout the blogosphere and social media!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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