In part 1 of this post, I spoke about my experience teaching in a nonverbal autistic classroom and its most meaningful takeaways. Part 2 explores respectful, useful resources for people on the autism spectrum, their family members, and educators.
It’s not easy to create an inclusive book collection. Whether you’re a librarian creating a collection for an entire community, a teacher creating a collection for your classroom, or a parent creating a collection for your children, choosing books that reflect the diversity of human experience can be a challenging job.
That’s because creating a diverse book collection is about more than just making sure X, Y, and Z are represented. It’s not a matter of ticking off check boxes or making sure quotas are filled. For those committed to doing it right, building a diverse book collection requires contemplation, research, and awareness. But the rewards are great: a truly diverse collection of books can turn children into lifelong readers and promote empathy, understanding, and self-confidence.
To make things a little easier, we’ve created a checklist to help.
Here are eight steps to all-inclusive reading: Continue reading
Recently The New York Times paired articles by Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers, discussing the lack of representation of people of color in children’s literature. Those excellent articles—which pointed out that in the long history of children’s literature we haven’t made much progress—caught the attention of best-selling author Jennifer Weiner, who started the #colormyshelf hashtag on Twitter asking for suggestions of diverse books that she could go purchase for her daughter. What a wonderful way to bring attention to what parents can do!
Just because diverse books don’t always show up front and center in bookstores doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Here’s a list of places to find great diverse books for young readers. Buy them, read them, recommend them. Showing demand for diverse books is one of the best ways to encourage the publication of more of them!
1. Publishers: Several small publishers (us included) focus on diverse books. They’re a great place to start, and you can usually buy books from them directly, order them through an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or ask your local bookstore to order them (which also displays a demand for diverse titles):
Lee & Low Books (diverse books for young readers featuring a range of cultures)
Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low (diverse middle grade and young adult speculative fiction)
Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low (bilingual English/Spanish picture books)
Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development. Estimates indicate that it affects up to ten percent of the population, and up to two percent severely, but despite its prevalence, dyspraxia remains relatively unknown by most people (even though actor Daniel Radcliffe has publicly discussed his dyspraxia). A little about the disorder:
- Dyspraxia is also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), Motor Learning Difficulties, or Perceptuo-Motor Dysfunction.
- Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development and people with the disorder have trouble planning and completing fine motor tasks, such as controlling a pen or pencil, tying shoelaces, or using utensils when eating.
- Symptoms can affect people differently at different stages and severity varies from person to person.
- Although dyspraxia is not a learning disability (LD), features of dyspraxia are often seen in those who struggle with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other conditions that impact learning.
- There is no cure for dyspraxia. However, identifying the disorder early on can help tremendously. Depending on how severe the case is, work with occupational, speech and physical therapists can improve a person’s ability to function and live independently.
Jin, the main character in the middle grade novel The Monster in the Mudball, has dyspraxia (or, as he calls it, “clumsy child syndrome”). Author S.P. Gates was inspired to create a dyspraxic hero because her own son, Alex, is dyspraxic. We asked her to share her insight about dyspraxia and her son’s experience growing up dyspraxic: