Disabilities Awareness

March is Indiana Disability Awareness Month organized by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. The Indiana Disability Awareness website has a lot of information including a free awareness kit and a recommended reading list for children.

Read Right Now!:

  • We're Amazing 1 2 3 SesameStSmall Read We’re Amazing 1 2 3 This story stars Elmo, Abby, and their friend Julia, who has autism. Together, the three pals have a delightful playdate.

Listed below are some selections from your own IndyPL Children’s Librarians of their favorite titles that feature characters with disabilities.

Websites:

Looking Out for SarahLooking Out for Sarah by Sarah Lean ~Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
Describes a day in the life of a seeing eye dog, from going with his owner to the grocery store and post office, to visiting a class of school children, and playing ball. Also describes their three-hundred mile walk from Boston to New York. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2004-2005, K-3 Nominee.

Helping SophiaHelping Sophia by Anastasia Suen ~Linda Tegmeyer, Brightwood Branch Library
When Sophia’s helper is absent, her fellow third-graders help out by learning how to push her wheelchair. They find out it’s not easy, but gain understanding of Sophia’s situation.

Back to Front and Upside DownBack to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander~Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
I really loved this year’s Schneider Family Book Award winner for the younger children category “Back to Front and Upside Down!” While the rest of the class makes birthday cards for the principal, Stanley struggles with his words and letters.

WonderWonder by RJ Palacio~Barb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

A Cool MoonlightCool Moonlight by Angela JohnsonBarb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Nine-year-old Lila, born with xeroderma pigmentosum, a skin disease that make her sensitive to sunlight, makes secret plans to feel the sun’s rays on her tenth birthday. And so, she plays at night with her friends – who might or might not be real.

Spider SparrowSpider Sparrow by Dick King-Smith~Barb Obergfell, Outreach Services
Spider, a baby abandoned on an English farm, grows up to be mentally slower than other children but manifests a remarkable talent for communicating with animals as he comes of age during World War II, a slower child whose quiet, calm, kind nature is a gift to everyone.

WonderstruckWonderstruck by Brian Selznick~Erin Moehring, Southport Branch Library and Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
Wonderful! Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.

A Dog Called HomelessA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean~Janet Spaulding, Selection Services
Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a disabled boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates.

Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon Draper ~Linda Tegmeyer, Brightwood Branch Library
For the older boys and girls I highly recommend Sharon Draper’s Out Of My Mind – It is very well written and thought provoking. It’s about a young girl who’s body is deformed (wheelchair bound), she can’t speak and her body spasms uncontrollably at the most inopportune times. She is very bright and knows the answers to the questions teachers ask, but has no way to express her knowledge. Everyone, except her family, thinks she is retarded or dumb. How frustrating that must be. Finally with the help of a special computer she is able to communicate. I couldn’t wait to read what happened next! Considered by many to be mentally disabled, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2012-2013, 6-8 Nominee.

The Kaleidoscope KidThe Kaleidoscope Kid by Elaine Larson ~Joseph Fox, Wayne Branch Library
Presents a collection of poems pointing out the variety of intellectual strengths and personality traits possessed by children with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism.

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