5 Children’s Books that give Insights on Others with Special Needs
There are thousands of special needs books available that provide guidance to adults and children on dozens of special needs topics. Once a month we provide you with reviews on a curated list of books. This month’s list of books are for children and focus on the following topics:
- Down syndrome
- Chronically, seriously or terminally ill children
- Learning self-control
- How to cope when you are being bullied
Parents, teachers, and other caregivers can use these beautifully written and illustrated books to open doors to discuss these important topics with the children under their care.
-By Deborah Bradshaw and illustrated by Paul Riddle
This heartwarming book is to be enjoyed by readers of all ages and all abilities. It is especially meaningful to people with differing needs and parents of kids with special needs. The book transcends any particular age and has something to offer to all.
It was lovingly written and the talented Paul Riddle brings to live the characters with his adorable illustrations.
Excerpts from the book will surely tempt you to read it:
When I imagined our life, I imagined a life filled with
Saturdays at the baseball game and walks in the park.
We’ve had those, but it did take you a little longer to walk
so we used a stroller instead of our feet.
I ordered a child who would hurry up so we could get
places on time and do the maximum possible in a day;
instead you taught me to slow down and see the sunsets,
birds and grass, to appreciate the moment instead of the
– By Marie Cheine and illustrated by Jeanine Henning
Beautifully written book created for young readers, particularly chronically, seriously or terminally ill children, their siblings, family and friends. It is an early chapter book with bold illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. It is short enough to be read aloud to children who are not quite ready to read on their own.
White Bear’s Big Adventure is the story of three multi-racial siblings and a stuffed bear named White Bear. The youngest sibling, Angel, has a rare medical condition called VATER Syndrome. When she is admitted to the hospital for a kidney transplant, her best friend, White Bear gets lost in hospital linens. Sick children at home or in a hospital will be able to appreciate White Bear as a smart and fun-loving ally helping them through their challenges.
-By Cheryl Gillespie and illustrations by Michael Allison LeBlanc
Ms. Gillespie, blind from early childhood, has written a touching story about her two adorable, curious kittens. It is a story of two kittens living on a farm, which are waiting for their forever home. Soon they are adopted by a young woman named Christie. Following a few amusing misadventures, the kittens come to realize that Christie, their new guardian, is blind.
Teachers, parents, and other caregivers can use this book as an entry point to discuss blindness with children ages 4 to 8.
Other themes in this story are acceptance of differences and the importance of caring, respect, and support for each other as shown by the characters. This is a book to be read and re-read to savor the skillful use of words and delightful illustrations to convey the story. After the first reading, once the reader knows of the woman’s blindness, re-reading will allow the reader to see how independent and content she is and how this capable woman earns her living by giving piano lessons.
-By Lauren Brukner and illustrations by Apsley
This is a hardcover book for kids aged seven through twelve at a 2 – 7 grade level. The book is divided into two parts, one for kids and one for adults. The first part teaches simple strategies to tackle the difficult emotions and challenges of everyday life. From the morning routine to making friends at recess, paying attention in class and getting a good night’s sleep. This guide will help children stay on track and save the day!
Focusing on specific times of the day that present particular challenges, the book uses illustrations and simple language to describe breathing exercises, stretching, and visualization techniques to help children keep calm and in control. Suitable for all children, but especially those with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties, this is an accessible guide with extra tips and resources for parents, educators or therapists.
Ms. Brukner’s four books foster self-discipline in children and give them life-skills that will help them succeed in school, with their social life, and their future careers.
How to cope with bullies? If there is one recurring theme with parents, caregivers, and teachers of children with special needs, it is the problem of bullying. Howard B. Wigglebottom teaches youngsters strategies to deal with bullies.
In this book, Howard, the rabbit, has such bullying problems he cannot fall asleep. A little voice in his head kept repeating, “Be Brave, Be Bold, a teacher must be told.” He was afraid if he told he would be called a tattletale or a snitch. For a long week, Howard used his own tactics to stop the Snorton Twins from bullying him. Nothing worked! The Fist-Punching, Name-Calling, Worm-Whipping, Tongue-Wagging, Foot-Stomping bullying continued. Finally he figured the voice in his head had been right all along. He told his teacher who set things in motion to stop the bullies. Howard felt brave and bold that he had told his teacher. He felt okay. He felt safe as he drifted into a peaceful sleep.
There is a good balance between text space and illustrations. The pages are all very eye-catching and well organized for beginner readers. The vocabulary used is appropriate reading for children aged 4 to 8. Parents and caregivers can use the suggestions at the end on the “Lessons and Reflections” pages to start discussions about bullying.