This Kid Can Fly: It’s about Ability (Not Disability)

by Aaron Phillip
Grade 3-7


In this heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting memoir, Aaron (pronounced A-ron) Philip, a fourteen-year-old with cerebral palsy, shows how she isn’t defined as much by her disability as she is by her abilities. This Kid Can Fly chronicles Aaron’s extraordinary journey from happy baby in Antigua to confident teen artist in New York City. Her honest, often funny stories of triumph—despite physical difficulties, poverty, and other challenges—are as inspiring as they are eye-opening. NOTE: While the memoir uses the pronouns he/him when referring to Aaron, Aaron is transgender, and her pronouns are she/her.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • Before any discussion on the book, watch this video and/or this video about gender identity and pronouns. Let students know that Aaron (pronounced A-ron) was not out as transgender when this book was written, so the pronouns in the book, he/him, are not correct. Let them know Aaron’s pronouns are she/her and affirm that it is important to get people’s pronouns correct. Practice using she/her pronouns when referring to Aaron during class discussion.  Ask students why it’s important to use the correct pronouns.
  • Why do you think Aaron says, “It’s about ability, not disability?” What abilities does Aaron have? What abilities to you have?
  • What was your favorite part of Aaron’s memoir? Was anything surprising to you?
  • This book was published four years ago. Where is Aaron today?  More information on where Aaron is today can be found in this article. Aaron is now a professional model and fashion and design students as well as continuing to be an activist. Are you surprised that Aaron is a professional model? Why or why not? How might the fashion industry benefit from working with Aaron?

Classroom activities from SOMN

  • Aaron emigrated from Antigua to the United States. Locate Antigua on a map as a class. Have students pair up or form small groups. Conduct research on Antigua in your small groups and have each group present their findings to the class.
  • Using images from the article above as inspiration, design a dress for Aaron to wear on the red carpet. What things might you have to take into consideration? Students can draw their ideas, use words to describe their design, work solo, or work in groups. Have students share designs with the class.