I love a good picture book. But when I looked as a young mother for book about adoption or special needs, most of them were explanatory books, not books with plots and fun characters. I’m so glad that we have more story picture books that allow us to teach about these topics without losing the interest of our children. Here are 5 books about special needs that I discovered lately.
Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
Okay, really we should just read this book because Mo Willems. I love Elephant and Piggie books and this one is no exception. Elephant and Piggie want to play ball with a new friend, but this new friend doesn’t have any arms. After several disastrous attempts to play catch, Piggie saves the day with a great idea of how to include their new friend. Can I Play Too is a great book for diversity and inclusion.
A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz
Alan stutters, he can’t get his words out and it makes him shake. The illustrations portray the fear and desperation Alan feels when he stutters. But when Alan is around animals he speaks without a stutter and feels comfortable. This true story is based on Alan’s own struggle with stuttering and his work in animal conservation. My children didn’t understand what stuttering was and this was a great book to introduce this disability.
Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis
Susan is a little girl just like you and me. She is naughty, she is nice, she is silly, she is sad. She pulls some funny pranks and gets in trouble; Susan and is kind and is rewarded. Tony Ross’s fun illustrations show how Susan is just like anyone else. It is only the last picture that shows Susan in a wheelchair. This is a great book for inclusion.
Just Because by Rebecca Elliott
Clemmie is Toby’s big sister. She doesn’t talk or walk but Toby loves his sister. Toby talks about the things Clemmie can and can’t do. To Toby, Clemmie is the best big sister because she never picks on him or teases him. He isn’t sure why things are the way the are, just because. This book is a sweet read about the friendship between a brother and sister.
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls
I love a true story, especially when it is about overcoming great obstacles. Emmanuel is born with only one good leg and must overcome struggles to walk, have friends, ride a bike, and earn money. But after his mother dies, he realizes he wants to do something great: cycle 400 miles across Ghana. Emmanuel’s trek across Ghana makes him a national hero and shows his country that people with disabilities can do great things.