International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Chapter Books

White Plains is a wonderfully diverse community! Parents, children and teens have expressed an interest in titles that reflect the diversity in the community, and Ashley, Kathlyn, and Raquel's “Dive Into Diversity” column will spotlight noteworthy children's and teen titles that are inclusive, diverse and multicultural to fulfill that interest. Ashley's portion is aimed at readers in grades 4-6.

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
For children in grades 3-7
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive: eBook

In this historical fiction novel set in 1805, Mary Lambert and her family live in the town of Chilmark on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Many in her community are deaf – including herself as well as her father – and practically everyone communicates in sign language even if they are not hard of hearing. Mary’s family is dealing with grief as her brother George has recently passed due to a tragic accident. Their lives change drastically with the arrival of a scientist from the mainland that is interested in learning what is causing the deafness of certain villagers. I won’t spoil it by going into further details but I will say that Mary comes to realize how cruelly deaf individuals are treated outside of her home. The tale not only details the prejudice Mary endures due to her being deaf but it also delves into the hardships that the Native Wampanoag people and freedmen face as well. I found this fantastic story, which is written by a deaf author and librarian, incredibly hopeful and moving. Towards the end of the book, Mary and her father discuss their ancestors and the choices they made regarding harming other people and specifically how a relative worked on a slave ship. As Papa says, “We can’t hide from our ancestors’ misdeeds” to which Mary replies, “But we can make our own choices now.”

This Kid Can Fly: It's About Ability (NOT Disability) by Aaron Philip
For children in grades 5-8
Library Collection: Print
Hoopla: eBook
OverDrive: eBook
“In an enlightening and candid memoir, Philip recalls his early childhood years, when he moved from Antigua to New York City to seek medical attention for cerebral palsy. Now 14, he shares memories of grueling physical therapy and multiple surgeries in passages that are honest, raw, and devoid of self-pity. Feeling friendless at school, Philip devoted himself to creating anime-inspired cartoons and a Tumblr blog, Aaronverse, as both “a place where other people who spend most of their days in wheelchairs could express themselves” and a vehicle for advocating for those with disabilities…Readers will finish the book impressed by what Philip has already accomplished and certain that more is yet to come.” –Publishers Weekly

The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman
For children in grades 5-8
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive: eBook
“Alba has talipes equinovarus, also known as a ‘club foot,' and she calls her foot ‘Cleo.' Alba's best friend, Levi, has his own physical challenges managing his asthma. The two form a tight bond, sharing time inside the school library during recess. Levi has an interest in science and science fiction, and thinks the librarian may have discovered a wormhole in her office. Alba has never met her dad and lives with her mom, a therapist, and a menagerie of animals her mother adopted from guests at the senior home where she works. Alba wonders if her newest surgery will allow her to prove herself by participating in a cross-country race…An author's note states that Kadarusman, like Alba, was born with talipes equinovarus.” –School Library Journal

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
For children in grades 4-7
Library Collection: Print
Hoopla: Audio
OverDrive: eBook
“Terry’s debut novel thoughtfully traces the fragile emotions of two seventh graders: Calliope, a girl painfully self-conscious about having Tourette syndrome, and Jinsong, a popular boy she meets in her new town. Calliope is tired of moving every time her mother ‘breaks up/ with one of her crazy boyfriends.' Having just settled in St. George, Utah, she’s glad to make friends with Jinsong, who lives in her apartment complex. But Jinsong begins distancing himself from Calliope when her uncontrollable impulses become more prominent and she becomes the target of cruel jokes at school…Terry, who has Tourette syndrome herself, offers enormous insight into an often-misunderstood condition, writing in verse for Calliope’s chapters and prose for Jinsong’s. Her poetic explorations of Calliope’s anxiety and Jinsong’s moral struggles are honest and moving.” –Publishers Weekly

Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit
For children in grades 5-8
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive: eBook
“Eleven-year-old Vivian Jane Cohen has autism but she also throws a mean knuckleball and yearns to play baseball. Vivy first learned of the knuckleball three years ago, at an autism event where then–minor league pitcher VJ Capello showed her how to hold the ball the right way, but she mastered it on her own. Now a coach has seen her throwing to her older brother, Nate, and invited her to join his team. Although she initially begins writing to VJ to fulfill a school assignment, little expecting a reply, magically, he begins to write back. This vivid epistolary tale captures Vivy’s growing sense of her own capabilities as she discovers that she can mostly hold her own on a boys’ team, even though she has to deal with cruel bullying from the coach’s obnoxious son…A satisfying baseball story that never minimizes the challenges of autism but celebrates skill, determination, and love for the game.” –Kirkus Reviews

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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