What Happened to You?


By James Catchpole

Illustrated by Karen George

Formats and Prices




$24.99 CAD




Hardcover $18.99 $24.99 CAD

A Schneider Family Book Award Honor book! This accessible, funny, and groundbreaking story addresses the questions children often ask, as well as a disabled child's choice not to answer.

What happened to you? Was it a shark? A burglar? A lion? Did it fall off? A boy named Joe is trying to play pirates at the playground, but he keeps being asked what happened to his leg. Bombarded with questions and silly suggestions, Joe becomes more and more fed up…until the kids finally understand they don't need to know what happened. And that they’re wasting valuable playtime!

Based on the author’s real childhood experiences, this honest, funny, and authentic picture book is an empowering read for anyone with a disability, and for young readers learning how best to address differences.

  • A Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book
    A Kirkus Best Picture Book of the Year
    A Junior Library Guild Selection
    A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
    A 2024 Nevada Young Readers’ Award Nominee
    A 2024-2025 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee
  • * "Delightful, necessary, and long overdue."
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • * "Too few picture books recognize and validate the full, happy lives of children who have disabilities; this one does both with sensitivity, good will, and humor."
    The Horn Book, starred review
  • "As a person with a limb difference, 'What happened to you?' is a question I get asked just about every day. With playful illustrations, silly scenarios, and important life lessons, this book teaches us all what's actually important when we make a new friend: seeing them for who they are on the inside. Every child should have this book on their shelf."
    Josh Sundquist, author of We Should Hang Out Sometime
  • "Basing the story on his own experiences, the author addresses both sides of the query with humor and empathy.... While humorous gouache and colored-pencil illustrations of imagined scenarios keep the tone light, the message comes through clearly."
  • "Inspired by author Catchpole’s own experience growing up with a disability, the book deftly tackles a serious subject with levity, heart, and understanding. The lighthearted story teaches children (and adults) how to be around people with disabilities and to look past outward appearances to what really matters."
    Christian Science Monitor

On Sale
Apr 11, 2023
Page Count
40 pages

What Happened to You? Educator Guide

James Catchpole

About the Author

James Catchpole runs the Catchpole Agency with his wife, Lucy, and is the author of What Happened to You? Lucy Catchpole writes about disability, family, and children’s books and has written for the BBC and the Guardian, in addition to running the Catchpole Agency with James. The Catchpoles live in the United Kingdom with their two young daughters and invite you to visit them online at thecatchpoles.net or whathappenedtoyou.co.uk, and on Instagram @thecatchpoles.

Karen George received a first-class honors degree in fine art as well as an MA from the Royal College of Art. She won Waterstones’ “Picture This” competition to illustrate Freddie and the Fairy and now spends her time drawing, painting, and writing. Karen lives in Bristol with her family and Dr. Calamari the cat. She invites you to visit her online at karengeorge.net and on Instagram @karengeorge_books.

Learn more about this author