The usual format of this monthly column is to suggest a topic for a storytime, like “trucks,” and then list books and art projects that go along with the topic. But this month, I want to change the format and list some of the newer books featuring children with disabilities. Some of these are nice to include with storytimes on other themes, so that children see people with disabilities as just another type of person. For example, you can use ARNIE AND THE NEW KID in a storytime about school, or friendship, and ABC FOR YOU AND ME during an alphabet storytime. Most of us have the classics like BALANCING GIRL by Berniece Rabe; here are some others aimed at the same audience:
- Girnis, Margaret. ABC FOR YOU AND ME. Each letter of the alphabet is depicted by an activity or object pictured with a child with Down syndrome.
- Carlson, Nancy. ARNIE AND THE NEW KID. Arnie has an accident and has to use crutches, which causes him to have new respect for a classmate who uses a wheelchair.
- Lears, Laurie. IAN’S WALK: A STORY ABOUT AUTISM. A girl tells the story of her autistic brother, who gets lost at the park.
- Edwards, Becky. MY BROTHER SAMMY. A boy describes his autistic brother.
- Damrell, Liz. WITH THE WIND. A boy who uses a wheelchair finds freedom when he learns to go horseback riding.
- Moon, Nicola. LUCY’S PICTURE. Because her grandfather is blind and cannot see the pictures she paints, Lucy creates three dimensional collages he can “see” with his hands.
- Strom, Maria Diaz. RAINBOW JOE AND ME. Eloise’s neighbor Rainbow Joe is an older blind man who can make “colors” with his saxophone-playing.
- DeBear, Kirsten. BE QUIET, MARINA! Meet two best friends – a noisy girl with cerebral palsy and her quieter friend who has Down syndrome.