It also includes a Reading Guide with more information on the Autism Spectrum. Here is our round up of December family events and activities in Indianapolis… We’re a safe and supportive place for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and mental health conditions.
She picks out a dress and practices her dance moves. Finally, she gets to go to the dance and it’s as wonderful as she had imagined. It’s up to us to answer questions and to help kids see what it might feel like to have a physical disability.
MelissaHart Melissa Hart is the author, most recently, of Daisy Woodworm Changes the World — a middle-grade novel featuring a main character with Down syndrome based on her brother. This book follows a 16-year-old woman with Down syndrome who sets out to look for her beloved boyfriend after he disappears. Without her parents and teachers to rely on, she finds herself navigating complicated transportation systems, struggling to figure out where to eat and sleep, and barely avoiding captivity by a nefarious pimp. Rosie’s characterization rings true; I recognize in her the same determination and vulnerability I’ve seen in my brother.
It’s absolutely essential that we respectfully talk about physical differences and disabilities with children, especially with children who don’t have a disability. Our children’s literature still seems to prefer stories about people with brilliant minds “trapped” inside bodies that an able-bodied world sees as broken or impaired to stories of kids who learn slowly. What I think is so great is that these stories show that people with DS are PEOPLE. When kids are exposed early on, to physical and even psychological differences in people, I think it takes some of the Fear of the Unknown away. I would hope a natural reaction in a child being introduced to a character in a book would be curiosity mixed with a desire to help others, and be a support system for them. Thank you Betsy for this great article and the references.
Then my brother stood up and asked why there were no intellectually disabled people on the panel, or as students, or as lecturers. He asked why there were hardly any people with Down syndrome in books, or songs, or plays, or movies. All the art forms we taught and sought to understand at the university. This picture book is full of practical ideas to help children, their siblings, friends and parents understand and manage brain injury.
Our public spaces are becoming more inclusive of more people, and our children’s literature needs to reflect these shifts. Our stories tell us who matters enough to write about. I hope this collection of the great children’s books about Down syndrome has been useful.
Here are a few featuring characters that impressed me as particularly authentic, in the context of compelling stories. The one book I’ve found so far that offers a character with Down syndrome at its center is Jo Cotterill’s A Storm of Strawberries. Here 12-year-old Darby is both charming and annoying, petulant and compassionate. She enjoys putting on makeup and listening to music. She doesn’t understand many unspoken social cues.
We recently published a book of my daughter’s art called My Art My World with Second story press. “Kids Like Me…Learn ABCs includes appealing photos of children’s books about Down syndrome on a crisp white background, surrounded by colorful borders. Each child holds or interacts with an object that represents a letter of the alphabet.
These are the kind of stories that deserve songs. Spreading Down Syndrome awareness … one book at a time! Inspired by his uncle, author Jordan Kelly is increasing awareness of people with disabilities. Follow along as young Kelly and his plush Koala Professor Kelso go on adventures together, teaching all to see value in others even though some may look or act differently.