Wanted: More childrens books about kids with disabilities

An article in Disability Scoop refers to a study reported in the journal Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. The study found kids with disabilities are underrepresented in children’s literature.

In an analysis of 131 winners of the Newbery Medal and Honor — considered the top prizes for children’s books — researchers found that just 31 included a main or supporting character with a disability between 1975 and 2009.

One of my favorite books reviewed here on the Easter Seals and autism blog is Cynthia Lord’s Rules, an award-winning fictional children’s book that looks at autism from an older sister’s perspective. After reading the article in Disability Scoop, however, I realize it suffers the same plight as so many other children’s books about disabilities.

What’s more, characters with disabilities were most likely to be supporting characters and were often used to boost the emotional growth of those without disabilities rather than to develop in their own right, the study finds.

Let’s hope this study serves as a wake-up call to children’s book authors and publishers. Maybe in 2011 we’ll see more children’s books focusing on kids with disabilities for who they are, rather than focusing on the limitations of their disabilities.


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  1. kathi mabie Says:

    I have a daughter with autism, and we are trying to write her story and a devotional for parents and professionals dealing with autism and disabilities.

    I know full well what we want for her..and for others. our goal here in colorado is to create more awareness and a farm for the adults to live in and maintain with the communities help. Its a slow process but a labor of love.

    we want to see more teachers with exposure to kids and parents before they get their degree.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Amen to that.