Four titles for the very young that feature Disabled characters with different degrees of prominence.
How books for early years and primary age children can be used to promote disability inclusion.
The Full Story will help you to promote disability inclusion and good outcomes for children and young people through reading about the world around us. This resource uses the social model of disability, recognising that it is society that needs to be adapted, not Disabled people.
All children need to see themselves in books – and to see a full range of other diverse characters as well.
Arguably, the group least well served by children’s literature are Disabled people. Depictions of disability are still relatively rare. Where they do occur, they are often part of bullying narratives or feature people ‘overcoming’ their impairments to achieve great things, neither of which necessarily aid inclusion.
Reading stories that feature familiar situations and in which disability is just one aspect of many people’s lives is one of the best ways of promoting disability inclusion. We have also largely avoided narratives that feature bullying since these frequently show Disabled characters as excluded and focus almost entirely on that one aspect of their experience.
The selection isn’t exhaustive – there are many books we do not have space to include here.
People with impairments should be included and visible across the whole curriculum. Everything from classroom displays to the examples for maths and science problems. Celebrations needn’t be one-off affairs – they can also be about increasing representation in everything we do.
Children’s books that highlight and celebrate our differences – as well as the many things we have in common.
Disability is one experience amongst many others and it doesn’t need to be remarked upon or prevent us from joining in.
Characters in these books are not primarily defined by their impairments but by their interests and aspirations.
Including Disabled people by making positive changes is more beneficial than simply focusing on negative aspects of their experience.
Chapter books and non-fiction suitable for KS2 readers of varying confidence that feature Disabled characters.
Full details of the books included in this resource are as follows
AMAZING by Steve AntonyISBN 978-1444944716
A BEAR HUG AT BEDTIME by Jana Novotny Hunter and Kay WiddowsonISBN 978-1846439889
BEST FRIENDS, BUSY FRIENDS by Susan Rollings and Nichola CowderyISBN 978-1786284655
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD by Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma and David DeanISBN 978-1782853329
DINOSAUR RAP by John Foster and Debbie HarterISBN 978-1782853022
FREDDIE AND THE FAIRY by Julia Donaldson and Karen George ISBN 978-0330511186
HAPPY IN OUR SKIN by Fran Manushkin and Lauren TobiaISBN 978-1406378887
HAPPY TO BE ME by Emma DoddISBN 978-1408355701
I AM NOT A LABEL by Cerrie Burnell and Lauren BaldoISBN 978-0711247444
ISAAC AND HIS AMAZING ASPERGER SUPERPOWERS! by Melanie WalshISBN 978-1406373141
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB by Marina AizenISBN 978-1846435126
ME AND MY SISTER by Rose RobbinsISBN 978-1912650002
ONE. TWO, THREE … JUMP! by Carol ThompsonISBN 978-1846436154
ONE. TWO, THREE … RUN! by Carol ThompsonISBN 978-1846436161
OUTSIDE OPPOSITES by Brenda Williams and Rachel OldfieldISBN 978-1782850953
QUIET! by Kate AlizadehISBN 978-1846438882
RUNNING ON EMPTY by S. E. DurrantISBN 978-0857637406
A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES by Jo CotterillISBN 978-1848126169
THE TWITCHES MEET A PUPPY by Hayley Scott and Pippa CurnickISBN 978-1474928144
WHAT THE JACKDAW SAW by Julia Donaldson and Nick SharrattISBN 978-1447280842
ZEKI CAN SWIM by Anna McQuinn and Ruth HearsonISBN 978-1907825132
The books are available from Letterbox Library
Letterbox Library, a not-for-profit social enterprise and workers' cooperative since 1983, is an online bookseller for schools and nurseries committed to celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion in the best children's books. Their titles show people traditionally under-represented in children's literature including people of colour, Disabled people, LGBT+ people, diverse families, refugees and migrants. All of their books have been pre-selected by a team of independent volunteer readers which includes teachers, carers and librarians. Selection services and curated book packs for schools include 'Disability Book Packs' (made up of storybooks starring Disabled protagonists). Letterbox Library also runs the Little Rebels Children's Book Award.
This resource was written by Mark Jennett
UK Disability History Month takes place from mid-November to mid-December each year - find out more at www.ukdhm.org
Other NEU resources:
Every Child, Every Family looks at a range of picture and chapter books that can be used to support LGBT+ inclusion.