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Lorna d'Entremont
BY Lorna d'Entremont

Five Books that will Boost the Confidence of a Child with Special Needs

Often it is difficult to find a gift for a child that his parents will also approve of. Children’s books are always appreciated by children and parents alike.  A beautiful, picture book is “a gift that keeps on giving”.  Some of my own children’s favorite bedtime story books were those my parents had bought for my siblings and me.  When I had children my mom brought these books to our house for my children.  Now when my grandchildren visit, I still bring these fifty year old favorites out and we have hours of fun with books that are entertaining a third generation!  A book is a gift you can open again and again.

Books that Teach Lessons

The following books are a great addition to any home or classroom with young children. These books all have a moral or a lesson to teach the reader and are great discussion openers to reinforce tough to grasp lessons.  Caregivers can harness the power of storytelling to improve their child’s behavior, build character, and foster empathy and compassion.  The books I recommend allow most children to identify with the characters, many who have a special need.

So many great things happen when you share a good book with a child. One way children learn is by seeing how others act or what they say in certain situations. Sharing books with your children or students is a great way to learn without any work involved!

1. Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D”

by Margot FinkeHoratio Humble Beats the Big “D” –by Margot Finke

An adorable picture book that explains to parents and  best of all to their child what dyslexia is all about.Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” can open the door to serious discussions with your child or students about different abilities and needs and different ways of learning and doing things.

The proactive teacher can use it to discuss the cruel comments some bullies use to torment other students who are different or do things differently.

Margot Finke’s upbeat message to children with dyslexia will prove to them it is not their fault they have problems. It will show all children that some students have different needs and sometimes they have to have extra time with a specialist to help them. This will go a long way to remove the stigma attached to kids going to special education classes or receiving extra help in the classroom.
Read complete review of Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D”

2. Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging

by Howard Binkow Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging -by Howard Binkow

This book is to help children understand learning differences in others.  It shows children that most kids want to fit in and have friends. Children will learn tips on how to be a good friend and how to make and keep friends.

This story also lends itself well to teach about sympathy and empathy using the saying, “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” When Howard got to know Joey better, he started to like him a lot. All children want to belong, to blend in, and to be part of a team and this book opens the door to great discussions on that topic and on respecting social rules.

Parents, teachers, and other caregivers will greatly appreciate the two pages at the end, Suggestions for Lessons and Reflections. The authors show how this book can be used to show learning differences. A discussion with children pointing out how Joey learned compared with how Howard needed calm and quiet to learn can also include how others learn by looking at pictures, and some children learn best by stories and songs.
Read complete review of Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons

3. I Believe in You: A Mother’s Message to Her Son with Learning Differences

by Kristen DebeerI Believe in You: A Mother’s Message to Her Son with Learning Differences -by Kristen Debeer

In each grade level there are students facing challenges that need to hear Kristen Debeer’s encouraging message. Like Jack, the character in her book who has learning differences, many students are struggling even though they are trying their best. Knowing that parents and teachers “believe in them” and will work with their strengths to help them along is the most important thing to these children. Reading I Believe in You followed by a frank discussion on learning differences will surely be helpful so other children appreciate the fact that we all have strengths and learning preferences.

Parents of exceptional children will benefit from seeing in writing Kristen Debeer’s suggestions and solutions. Even if their child is struggling in some areas by celebrating small gains and using their child’s interests they can build on their child’s strengths and in turn it will build their self-esteem. Like the expression, “Nothing Breeds Success Like Success!”
Read complete review of I Believe in You

4. Captain Courage and the Fear-Squishing Shoes

by Stacey MarshallCaptain Courage and the Fear-Squishing Shoes -by Stacey Marshall
Effective communication is a life skill that if mastered serves you well in all walks of life. This picture book on confident verbal communication is written by a speech-language pathologist and public speaking coach to help students who are shy and experience social anxiety at even the thought of addressing their peers in class or asking for help at the cafeteria.  Children between the ages of 4 -11 will enjoy and benefit from Stacey Marshall’s valuable tips on communicating well with others.
Captain Courage and the Fear-Squishing Shoes is the perfect teacher resource for helping children learn to speak with poise and confidence. It also helps children with speech and language problems and with building confidence and courage.

Details in each illustration and the realistic expressions of the characters will facilitate comprehension and keep the readers/listeners attention. At the end of the book you will find a colorful, illustrated poster called, “Captain Courage and Katie’s Top Three Tips to Speak with Confidence.”
Read complete review of Captain Courage and the Fear-Squishing Shoes

5. Patch Land Adventures – Children’s Books About Wearing an Eye Patch

by Carmen Swick Patch Land Adventures – Children’s Books About Wearing an Eye Patch-by Carmen Swick

There are now two books published in the Patch Land Adventure series: Fishing with Grandpa and Camping at Mimi’s Ranch. Children who have vision problems which necessitate wearing an eye patch will love this series of books!

Wearing an eye patch is not painful but it can surely bring attention to the child. Reading about other children who have problems that can only be fixed by wearing an eye patch is very helpful to the child himself and beneficial to his peers to understand why the eye patch is needed. Ms. Swick’s books  put a positive spin on wearing an eye patch and should prevent unkind comments from classmates once they understand the reasons behind eye patching.

The illustrations by Joey Manfre are adorable and help the story come to life. When young readers join Preston and Beau on their fun-filled adventures, they will feel like they are there with them, cheering them on as they overcome their vision challenges.
Read complete review of Patch Land Adventures Series

Have a great book? Share it in the comments below.

Top Photo Credit: Global Partnership for Education

Lorna d'Entremont

Written on November 8, 2013 by:

Lorna d’Entremont has a Master of Education and has taught thirty years in French elementary classrooms in Nova Scotia. When she retired from teaching, she joined her daughter as co-owner of SentioLife Solutions,Ltd. the makers of the sensory, oral-motor tools SentioChews and KidCompanions Chewelry. She blogs about issues that concern parents of children with special needs and also writes reviews for their Special Needs Book Review site. She is a wife, mom of three, and grandmother of five granddaughters.
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