I love a good picture book. But often, when I look for books about inclusion or special needs, many of them are explanatory books, not books with plots and fun characters. I’m so glad to have found some great picture books that allow me to teach about inclusion and special needs without losing the interest of my children. And because our family has so much experience with special needs, we love to read about other kids who are experiencing similar issues. Here are 5 books about inclusion and 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, hello, 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 they 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.
Linking up with Kristen.