Welcome to Children’s Books Heal! I specifically chose to use “heal” in my blog name, because I felt it more inclusive of what I wanted to communicate — books have the power to heal. Many of the books I plan to review will focus on children and teens with special needs. It’s a broad category ranging from autism, Asperger’s syndrome, cancer, cerebral palsy, hearing and visual impairments to anxiety, ADHD, intellectual disability, adoption, divorce and grief. I also will target books that are multicultural, about peace, conflict resolution, virtues, and the power of music and the arts to heal. Each book will be hand-picked for the quality of its message.
In January 2011, Scholastic, the largest publisher of children’s books, released the Top 10 Trends in Children’s Books from 2010. Among those trends was an increase in fiction with main characters who have special needs. Examples included My Brother Charlie, Marcel in the Real World, and Mockingbird — all great books I will share.
According to a study published by Brigham Young University professors in the December 2010 issue of Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, “Despite an increasingly positive portrayal of characters with disabilities in Newbery Award-winning books, there still is not an accurate representation of the nearly 7 million children with disabilities attending U.S. public schools.” They studied Newbery Award and Honor books published from 1975 to 2009.
“We are hoping that this will be a call to authors,” said Professor Tina Dyches. “We’ve got so many wonderful authors in the world and we would love to see more inclusive characterizations in high quality books where kids with disabilities are being recognized for who they are no not just the limitations of their disabilities.”
I am a journalist and writer who hopes to review high quality books for children and students with special needs. I bring with me many life experiences. My husband and I have a large blended family, with two adopted children, one a foreign adoption. We have parented children with disabilities and special needs. I also know what it is like to live as an adult with a disability, as I had a serious brain injury seven years ago. And, I know how grief impacts children and families. In 2009, our grandson was a casualty of the war in Iraq. These experiences have influenced my choice in writing books for children, and the theme for my blog.
Please join me in my journey of writing and blogging.