Children’s Books Honored For Portraying Disability Experience
Four new books for kids and teens are being lauded for focusing on disabilities with a set of awards handed out alongside the famed Caldecott and Newbery Medals.
The books will receive the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Awards, which are designed to recognize authors or illustrators for portraying storylines featuring characters with special needs.
The awards are given annually for books aimed at each of three audiences – children up to age 8, kids ages 9 to 13 and teens ages 14 to 18.
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In the youngest age group, the Schneider awards will honor “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, about Yeboah who biked 400 miles across Ghana to raise awareness of those with disabilities despite having only one strong leg.
“Thompson and Qualls’ biographical picture book proves that ‘one leg is enough to do great things – and one person is enough to change the world,'” said Alyson Beecher, the Schneider award chair.
Two books were selected this year in the middle age group. Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “Fish in a Tree” tells the story of a girl who relies on her math and art abilities to move through elementary school before a teacher discovers that dyslexia is keeping her from learning to read.
Meanwhile, “The War that Saved my Life” written by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley focuses on Ada, a World War II evacuee who has a club foot.
In the teen category, the winner is Teresa Toten’s “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B,” the story of a support group for young adults with obsessive compulsive disorder.
The library association announced the Schneider award winners this month. Each will receive $5,000 and a framed plaque during the group’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla. in June.