Almost all children love reading, so why not make story-time educational? Books are a wonderful resource for teaching children about disabilities. Engaging with unique personal stories of people with disabilities helps break the boundaries between disabled and non-disabled students. Books provide an arena for learning about the accessibility challenges in every day life and give readers the opportunity to walk in the shoes of those with disabilities. Here are a few great books to add to your child’s reading lists:
Title: Be Good to Eddie Lee
Author: Virginia FilIing
Story Profile: Eddie Lee, a young boy with Down syndrome, follows the neighborhood children into the woods to find frog eggs. They are resentful and try to make him stay home.
Title: Danny and the Merry-Go-Round
Author: Nan Holcomb
Story Profile: Danny, who has cerebral palsy, visits the park with his mother and watches other children playing on a playground. He makes friends with a young girl after his mother explains cerebral palsy to her and points out that it is not contagious.
Title: My Mom Is Handicapped: A “Grownup” Children’s Book
Author: Barbara Turner Brabham
Story Profile: A six-year-old boy describes life with his mother, a teacher with physical disabilities.
Title: What It’s Like to Be Me
Author: Helen Exley
Story Profile: Children from all over the world write about themselves and their disabilities. They tell us how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. All of the illustrations are created by the children.
When reading these books with your children, talk with them about the challenges the disability creates for the character in the book. Don’t forget to remind them about the character’s many abilities. Discuss how he or she uses those abilities to overcome obstacles and reach his or her goals and true potential. Books offer a safe environment within which to ask questions about and understand those with disabilities, and by relating to the characters within the stories, children can feel as though they are not alone in their disability.
What books or TV shows have you found that spread awareness and encourage accessibility?