I got to read a terrific new book recently, called Felini the Flea by Bruno Rossi. This is a heartwarming tale of courage that will delight both parents and children alike.
Felini the Flea features the remarkable drawings of award-winning Illustrator, Lizette Duvenage and centers around Felini Rizzo, a one-legged flea. The Rizzos, a close-knit and talented family of fleas, live in Fleatown, an idyllic community nestled in the mangy fur of Buford, the world’s laziest dog. Aldo and Bina Rizzo are the proprietors of the Rizzo Flea Circus, where they, along with their daughters, perform death-defying feats that delight audiences. Felini, however, doesn’t perform, not because he is disabled, but because he’s afraid of being teased.
People with disabilities, particularly children, have long struggled for inclusion and equality. I was sad to learn that the Special Olympics has found that kids with disabilities are bullied fifty percent more than any other group.
This story depicts a flea who has a disability. Felini lets his missing leg define his life until one day, he discovers a rare talent. Even then, it takes a big crisis for him to truly step out and believe in himself. In the process, his friends and family learn something too: you can’t assume that someone is less, just because they have a disability.
This is a book that every parent should have in their library, and more books celebrating individuals with different abilities are needed.
What’s inspiring about Rossi’s book is the message that all children, especially the less fortunate, have a unique gift they must uncover. Rossi states that, “Disability is often the inspiration for ability, and should not define who we are.”
Bruno Rossi is originally from Chicago and currently resides in Southern California. He has written various children’s stories, all which empower children in a fun, creative manner. His inspiration for children’s stories comes from his own experiences and more recently from his adopted nephew Ethan, who was diagnosed with Giant Axonal Neuropathy (G.A.N). A portion of the book’s profits will be donated to various children’s organizations.
You can find Felini the Flea on Amazon.com (not an affiliate link), available in paperback and Kindle. I recommend the paperback.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for the review. It will be going into service for lots of children soon. All opinions are my own.