Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction General

New Hands, New Life

Robots, Prostheses and Innovation

by (author) Jan Andrysek & Alex Mihailidis

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2017
General, Inventions
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


Everyone uses machines in our daily life -- cars, buses and bikes; computers and phones; washing machines and dryers. Another type of machine is an "assistive technology". These enable a man missing a leg to walk, a woman missing an arm to hold objects, and a child in a wheelchair to play a sport.

New Hands, New Life offers young readers the opportunity to learn how our bodies work during physical activity and what happens when they don't work properly. It shows how exciting advances in technology and science have allowed us to create assistive technologies -- from artificial limbs and wheelchairs to exoskeletons and robots -- that make it possible for someone with a disability to make new abilities. Assistive technologies are especially life-changing for a child who can overcome the challenges of a missing limb or reduced motor function to enjoy a life of learning and play that would be otherwise out of reach.

Topics include:

The emergence of robotics Anatomy and physiology related to movement and activity, including motor control Why some children need help to move or do things Different types of challenges (e.g., walking, interacting with environment) Diseases, trauma and disabilities that affect movement Working together with robots Making robots (robotics clubs, LEGO toys, other kits) 3-D printing of prostheses for growing children.

The book features case studies that follow the design and fitting of assistive technologies. There are pictures of the labs, robots, and researchers working to develop new machines, along with a brief history of prosthetics and a survey of medical-engineering work currently underway in many countries.

New Hands, New Life provides fascinating, illustrated coverage of a topic rarely covered for a young audience. It is an essential selection for all libraries, and for many families.

About the authors

Editorial Reviews

New Hands, New Life takes a different approach from most books on disabilities by focusing on scientific and engineering innovations that can improve life for differently abled people. This unique and informative title addresses disability from a technological perspective, exploring the use of machinery and technology to support our bodies when they don't work properly. The authors, both bio-medical engineers, examine a broad spectrum of assistive technologies, from wheelchairs and prostheses to robotic limbs and mind-control technologies... Using accessible and age-appropriate vocabulary, this book introduces inquisitive kids to the correct terminology and offers clear definitions of important terms. There are plenty of well-labelled diagrams and contemporary colour photographs of a diverse array of active and engaged people, many young, using assistive technologies. Sidebars and fact boxes offer additional interesting information... Offering a distinctive window into disability, this title portrays a positive message about the power of technological innovation to change lives. The authors urge readers to treat all people with respect and encourage kids to explore all aspects of robotics perhaps inspiring a future generation of biomedical engineers!

Canadian Children's Book News

This excellent entry into nonfiction for young readers takes a big picture approach that will leave students with a developed understanding of the place of prosthetics in modern medical care. The first chapter walks readers through how the human body works, providing brief but necessary background information. The text also covers various diseases, injuries, and paralysis that warrant medical help. Whereas other volumes in this subject area are limited to covering one or two "assistive technologies," Mihailiais and Andrysek's book explores everything from prosthetics to orthoses (splints), wheelchairs, vision correction, and the emerging field of mind-controlled robotic body parts. Full-color photographs are up-to-date and show users training with their new prosthetics, as well as confidently participating in activities, such as sports, play, and music. The content is easy for younger readers to grasp, but they may struggle with some of the vocabulary; however, the inclusion of appropriate terms is one of the book's major strengths, as well as its continuous urging that people who experience different physical abilities are worthy of respect and kindness. In the final chapter, "How You Can Help," the first paragraph reminds readers not to assume those who are differently abled want or need help, and to always ask first. Readers are also encouraged to support organizations that assist people with disabilities, and to learn more about robotics in general. A comprehensive, STEM-related update to the health and wellness sections of nonfiction collections.

School Library Journal

The authors have done a good job of presenting a complex topic in simple understandable language, using small chunks of text. The rather long title using what may be a couple of difficult words to some young readers had suggested the book might have a higher level of readability, but that impression vanished on the first page. In the first two chapters, in particular, definitions and explanations are easy to follow and lay a strong foundation to move the reader into the more complicated detail of various prosthetics. Neat historical facts (a prosthetic toe belonging to a mummy!) are given to show the progress of this field of science. Throughout the book, a combination of clear, current photos and crisp, well-labeled drawings support the content... This informative book will find a receptive audience among youngsters curious about this amazing and rapidly developing field of health care. Understanding the what, why and how of assistive technology may also help to make them more comfortable with encounters they have with an increasing number of people of all ages using these devices. New Hands, New Life offers such a positive and inspiring message about the ways 'disability' can be mitigated with innovation for a healthy active life. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Review of Materials

The text magnificently explains a mass of information lucidly; the illustrations, diagrams and photographs are excellent... Encourages readers to both respect those around them and aspire to become technically educated and future engineers.

School Library Association

A candid and important look at the physical hardships young people with disabilities experience in modern society and how technology can help. With the advent of new technologies and innovations, a young person with a disability can in some cases lead an active lifestyle where they may seek opportunities and achieve goals previously thought impossible... The book is filled with colourful photographs and diagrams... An excellent introductory source and even ends by encouraging the reader to conduct their own research and formulate their own ideas. For a young reader this should inspire not only the physically disabled but an aspiring technophile into an excellent area of research.

Resource Links

This very readable book explains how the body works and how technology is helping to change how people with disabilities can recover from and live actively despite injuries, amputations, and the aging process. Photos of many adaptive technologies being used by people dominate each page. The text layout is chunked with headings, sidebars, captions and other text features. Intelligent designs like mind-controlled robotic prostheses and biosensors are described as well as types of wheelchairs, and devices for helping people with paralysis move on their own.

Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's and Young Adult Literature