I was invited to consult at local elementary school this morning. It’s a school that was founded to be racially and economically diverse (not always the norm for here in Grand Rapids). The past few years, they’ve sought to also do better with respect to disability inclusion and belonging. I saw a lot that I liked in what they’re doing and think it’s great that they’re proactively seeking input on how to do better.
One of the things the school has done intentionally is to make sure that racial and economic diversity is modeled by their artwork and their selection of library books. They asked if I had recommendations for books about disability. I think it’s important not only to have books about disability, but also to have books that feature but don’t focus on disability. A book’s having a disabled character, even if the book isn’t about disability, should be no more unusual that encountering a person with a disability. It’s also important to have books with disabled characters who are also racially diverse.
I told them I’d get them a list of books. Here are some already on my list.
One of my favorite graphic novels is El Deafo.
Ada Twist, Scientist represents a minority girl with delayed speech.
I love Green Pants, in part but only in part, because the main character is named Jameson.
King for a Day is a culturally diverse story that’s visually stunning.
And they also love the entire Upside-Down Magic series about a magic school (yeah, it’s no Harry Potter.) I’m convinced that having ‘wonky’ magic is really about disability, even though I haven’t found the author confirm that anywhere.
If the rest of you have any suggestions on what the school should add (or that we should add to our home library!), I’d love for you to note them below.