On a recent library listserve posting, a library person was asking for suggestions for a mom who wanted picture books to read with her daughter who has cerebral palsy and is using a walker. Several people chimed in with suggestions (library people are great at that!); so I thought you could use them in your own libraries, and am sharing them here. If you have other suggestions, add them to the comments!
Let’s Talk about Extraordinary Friends, by Fred Rogers “How do you get to know someone in a wheelchair? Is it okay to ask questions when you see someone who is different from you?
Written for the child without special needs–the child with the questions–this book opens up a difficult subject to discussion. Mister Rogers challenges the stereotypes that often plague children with special needs and celebrates six children who are extraordinary friends. Share this book with all children–to spark communication, to attack the stigma, to bridge the gap between children with different abilities. Mister Rogers is the perfect person to write a book like this, with respect and the same gentleness that has characterized his television show for decades. “Rogers offers caring support and validation…Books that offer such honest reassurance are rare.”– Publishers Weekly”
I Have Cerebral Palsy by Mary Beth Springer “Meet Sydney, a girl who likes the same things other kids do-riding her bike, playing baseball, and hanging out with her friends. Sydney also has cerebral palsy, which makes walking, talking, and using her hands difficult. Sydney shares her firsthand account of life with cerebral palsy in this book so that others can understand what her life is like. Most importantly, Sydney wants her story to help other kids feel more comfortable around people with disabilities. Readers can learn about the different items that make it easier for Sydney to be mobile, eat, or write in the fact-filled section about adaptive technology. Information about the Miracle League, the volunteer-based program that makes it possible for children with a variety of disabilities to play baseball is also included. Additional resources are available to learn more about cerebral palsy and organizations that help children with disabilities lead active lives.”
Don’t Call Me Special A Look at Disability by Pat Thomas “This delightful picture book explores questions and concerns about physical disabilities in a simple and reassuring way. Younger children can find out about individual disabilities, special equipment that is available to help the disabled, and how people of all ages can deal with disabilities and live happy and full lives. Titles in this series for younger children explore emotional issues that boys and girls encounter as part of the growing-up process. Books are focused to appeal to kids of preschool through early school age. Written by psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas, A First Look At books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers, and encourage kids to ask questions and confront social and emotional questions that sometimes present problems. Books feature appealing full-color illustrations on every page plus a page of advice to parents and teachers.”
Nathan’s Wish by Laurie Lears “Nathan lives next door to Miss Sandy, a raptor rehabilitator. She’s very busy taking care of injured birds of prey, like owls and hawks. Nathan wishes he could help Miss Sandy with some of her chores, but he is confined to his wheelchair because of cerebral palsy. Then Fire, an owl with a broken wing, comes to Miss Sandy. Fire is desperate to fly and Nathan can’t wait for Fire to get her wish. But on the day Fire tries to fly, she cannot do it. Miss Sandy says the owl’s wing will never be strong enough. The light goes out in Fire’s eyes and she stops eating. Nathan desperately searches for a way to help Fire, not realizing that what he finds will help transform his life as well.”
Ballerina Dreams by Lauren Thompson “Once upon a time there were five little girls who shared a dream. They wanted to be ballerinas and dance on stage like their sisters and cousins and friends. But it would be hard for these girls to make their dream come true. They had cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities, which meant their muscles didn’t move the way they wanted them to. Some wore leg braces. Some used wheelchairs and walkers to get around. But these girls were determined. They had a dedicated teacher. Every week they practiced. They worked hard. And one day they were ready. Ballerina Dreams is an inspiring true story of love, hope and courage for everyone and anyone who has ever wished (and worked) hard enough to make their dreams come true.”