You're So Amazing by James and Lucy Catchpole book cover

The UKLA Book Group and You’re So Amazing Picture Book


A UKLA book group at the University of Brighton review You're So Amazing! by James and Lucy Catchpole.


You’re Amazing is a picture book that explores the experiences of a disabled child named Joe. Joe loves to play with his friends and engage in all sorts of everyday activities but he is fed up with everyone seeing him as amazing just for playing and having fun.

The child-like illustrations in muted tones help to portray Joe’s lived experience as a disabled child. When Joe is playing with his friends the brighter colour schemes reflect his imaginative and amazing experiences and this is contrasted effectively with the plainer white space evident when adults and other children interrupt Joe’s play to point out that he is amazing. The depiction of the children’s facial expressions is well developed to help focus the reader on Joe’s contrasting feelings in the different circumstances.

A key theme that was identified within the text was the importance of valuing Joe as a person and as a friend rather than seeing him solely through the lens of disability. By viewing disability differently, Joe’s friends were able to see him positively and truthfully outside of a deficit understanding of disability which perceives everything Joe does as a struggle and therefore amazing when it is completed.

In conclusion the book group loved that Joe’s was a popular and positive child within the text who did not see disability as something that was impairing him or making him a target for negative interactions. Joe’s feelings were central to the narrative and his story allows for the reader to reflect upon how phrases such as ‘You’re Amazing!’ can undermine the experiences of disabled children and therefore diminish amazing achievements that they undertake.

How the text might be used in the classroom

  • Writing the story from the point of view of one of Joe’s friends
  • Role playing how Joe feels when he is singled out when playing games
  • Writing instructions for the imaginative play that Joe engages with
  • Descriptive writing of the imaginative games Joe plays
  • Interview those who said Joe was amazing

The Catchpoles run their author blog which you can keep up with here: The Catchpoles – More children than working legs

The UKLA book group is a group of students and lecturers who meet together to discuss contemporary Children’s Literature that has been longlisted for the UKLA Children’s Book Awards.  The 6 texts chosen are from across the 3-6+, 7-10+ and non-fiction categories. From engaging with the book group, we have all had the opportunity to develop our professional and personal knowledge of recently published literature and through our discussions we have considered how the texts are constructed to support meaning making, the learning opportunities provided by the texts and why each text is an important book within the canon of Children’s Literature. We are reviewing all of the books we have read; all of which are available in the Curriculum Centre including You’re So Amazing.

The 2024 longlist for the book awards can be found here:

One thought on “The UKLA Book Group and You’re So Amazing Picture Book

  1. Thanks for sharing this Vicky and the UKLA book group. It is great to hear about new books and your review and suggestions about how to use the book are really useful.

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