The holiday season is here. Lots of parents love to give their kids books as gifts. Finding children’s books that feature disabled characters is still a challenge, however. That’s a problem when you’re raising a child who uses a wheelchair, has hearing aids, or is otherwise disabled. Kids want to be able to see themselves in the books they read: having a character appear who shares similar life experiences that they’ve been through is so important.
Megan, the Book Addicted Girl, wrote a fantastic piece on this issue for The Guardian. Megan is a prolific book blogger, and she has specific title recommendations you’ll probably want to check out. Her choices are based on a very broad definition of ‘disability’, including mental health and autism – check it out to find books that may be exactly what you’re looking for.
In some of the titles recommended, a person with a disability is in the starring or central role; in other instances, the disabled characters are in other roles. Here’s what Megan had to say on the subject: “I want characters like me in books. I want brilliant, complex characters, who just happen to be disabled in some way. I don’t want “issue books” – I just want books with disabled characters in. I want a steampunk adventure and mystery, where one of the ladies is blind and uses an awesome walking stick to walk and fight. I want a murder mystery where one of the team members is in a wheelchair. I want an epic fantasy where one of the kids has autism. I want exciting books that feature disabled characters as easily as they’d feature a character with brown hair or a bad attitude (‘cause we all know how often protagonists in YA fantasy have those!)”
Finding the right book can sometimes be as challenging as finding the right adaptive gear for you kid, like the perfect pool lift, but the search is so worth it. Reading helps our kids expand their understanding of the world, giving them perspective and tools to better handle all of the many curve balls of life. When kids read, everybody wins!