Four children’s books will be recognized this week for authentically portraying characters with developmental disabilities.
The books — two chapter books and two picture books — are winners of the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award. The honor handed out every other year since 2000 goes to books that include main or supporting characters with developmental disabilities.
This year’s award, which will be given Thursday at the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities conference in Miami Beach, Fla., honors fictional books and biographies published in 2010 and 2011.
Winners include the chapter books “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine and “Waiting for No One” by Beverley Brenna, both of which center on characters with Asperger’s syndrome.
The picture book “My Brother Charlie” written by actress Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete won for portraying life with a sibling who has autism. And, Rebecca Elliott’s picture book “Just Because” is being honored for including a girl with multiple disabilities.
“Engaging books that feature people with disabilities as individuals with personalities, strengths and talents as part of the storyline, have the exponential power to change attitudes and promote inclusion in education, jobs and community life,” said Fran Prezant, one of the Dolly Gray Award panelists. “These are important, not only for young readers with and without disabilities, but for parents and teachers who read books to them and model societal attitudes through words and actions.”