Every specialist, pediatrician, educator and parent will stress the importance of reading to children during their formative years. The classic stories have been shared time and time again, favorites read from one parent to a child and then cycled to the next generation. Goodnight Moon, Blueberries for Sal, The Snowy Day are just a quick few that come to mind. But something that has been lacking in the world of reading are the books about disabilities and inclusion.
We see disabilities often in movies, typically the villain having some sort of physical disability that makes them seem scary because it’s different. But what movies fail to do, that books can, is take fleeting moments and turn them into real, relatable, character building stories.
A book can do what a movie can not— and that is shape the way of thinking during a child’s formative years.
Highlighting books about disabilities or inclusion is essential for many reasons. The first being that it provides children an opportunity to see that people with disabilities are just like them— maybe they have the same interests, hobbies or same sense of humor. With that said, it also gives children with disabilities a chance to see that a hero, a protagonist, or another character is just like them. Overcoming challenges, celebrating triumphs or simply experiencing real-life situations. Regardless, whether a child has a disability or not, everyone is growing, relating or learning something new.
Over the last few years, more and more titles have been written about disabilities, ranging from physical disabilities to emotional disorders, blindness to wheelchairs. Books about inclusion can easily be found in classrooms, teaching children how to include everyone or think about how others may be feeling.
One of our favorite accounts, “Wheellustrated Tales,” has an incredible, expansive list of books for children, including some from her own series. You can search the book list by topic and click directly on the link to purchase the book. You may be surprised to see you already have some in your library! See the list here.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a love for reading. If this is important for their thinking and outlook on life, it’s essential we provide them with an opportunity to see that everyone is different, but everyone matters.