I am Not a Label

by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Lauren Baldo
Grade 1-7


In this stylishly illustrated anthology of short biographies, meet 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities, from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them, becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and makers.

Challenge your preconceptions of disability and mental health with the eye-opening stories of these remarkable people.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • Which biography was your favorite, and why?
  • Were there any biographies that surprised you? If yes, which ones, and in what ways?
  • One of the author’s goals in writing this book was to challenge ideas about mental health and disability. Do you think they were successful with this goal?
  • Can you think of other people who you would have included in this book if you were the author?

Classroom activities from SOMN

  • Read this interview with author Cerrie Burness aloud as a class, then have a short discussion about it. What stood out most to you from the interview?
  • Break into small groups and work together to research an individual with a disability. Write a short biography about their life. Bonus art activity: Create a portrait of them using any medium to go with your biography.
  • Break into small groups and spend time looking at the illustrations together. Think about why the author chose to have illustrations of each person in the book and the impact of the illustrations on readers. Pick 1-3 illustrations and discuss. What details do you notice in the illustrations? What do they tell you about the individuals represented? What details would be included in an illustration of you? Bonus art activity: Create a portrait of yourself inspired by the illustrations in the book using any medium.