Today I added another baseball book to the list of reviews of children's books about real or fictional characters with disabilities. Given my childhood hatred of sports,it seems a bit odd to me that I am finding it enjoyable to read and write positive reviews of "sports books." In retrospect, my diagnosis of NLD as an adult explains my complete and total lack of success at sports as a child. I am finding as an adult, who feels successful in many endeavors, I can find a way to approach sports (at least books about sports) from a position of strength. I find myself using this position of strength as a platform to advocate for children with disabilities which are different from mine, children whose success in sports can form the beginnings of the sense of competence that is necessary to live life fully. I am also free to marvel at the resilience of those who cling to a dream of participating in some way in a world that at first may appear to be attractive and yet impossible to reach.
Today I added a review of the best book I've read since finishing "One Step at a Time" a few days ago: The Good Guys of Baseball: Seventeen True Sports Stories by Terry Egan, Stan Friedmann, and Mike Levine. Outdated (as any book published in the 1990's and focusing on current sports must be by now), but still in print and still inspiring. I'd love to read a book similar in content, but published in the past year or two, and focusing on "good guys in sports" who are playing currently.
Today I added a review of one of the most fascinating books (a biography) I have read in a long time,: "One Step at a Time" by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. I have also included "The Last Airlift" by the same author in the review. These are excellent books in their own right, but also offer a wider perspective of disability--from both a historical and an international standpoint. Although I have reviews of historical fiction and fact on the website (for example, "I Thought My Heart Would Rise and Fly)," these all depict events and people in the U.S. These may even be the first titles I am including from Canada and is certainly the first to depict events outside of North America. I would like to locate and read other books that offer an international perspective on disabilities.
I just posted a review of Kids of Kabul by Deborah Ellis on the "Books for Teens and Adults" page. This book is not specifically about disabilities or kids with disabilities--it includes profiles of kids from Kabul who are diverse in many ways--including the fact that some have disabilities and some do not. This book's inclusion was so matter-of-fact and yet so respectful of how central having a disability is to the lives of the children profiled. This title reminded me that creating libraries is more about talking books and ramps--it also means having "inclusive" texts available for all children to read.
The importance of role models for kids with disabilities seems to be one of my pet topics lately. Thinking along those lines, I was toying with the idea of writing some short biographies of famous individuals with disabilities that concerned adults could share with kids. Before I actually started research, however, I realized that the bio project may be unnecessary. In the past two weeks, routine reference work has led me to non-fiction books with biographical information on six individuals with disabilities. Note that NONE of these sources stemmed from reference queries asking for information on disabilities--information on positive role models with disabilities just happened to be included in information on other types of topics, such as sports and art.
I am stunned and delighted by this development. Look for reviews of the books I came across in the near future.
The content on this website mostly comes from my perspective as a youth services librarian with disabilities. The further I travel along life's road, the more entwined these two parts of my identity become. Librarian: I have an MLS from Rutgers University and have working in public libraries for nearly 20 years. The focus on my career has always been youth services. Disabled: I've been disabled more than twice as long as I've been a librarian. My experience started at birth when I was immediately diagnosed with cleft palate. Also present was a non-verbal learning disability (NLD) for short. This was not formally diagnosed until I was 19, leading to years of frustration. My Tourette Syndrome was not present at birth, but surely started young as I don't ever remember living without it. The Tourette was also not diagnosed until adulthood, further compounding my frustration. Coincidentally, I was also diagnosed with IBD (more commonly known as Chron's\Ulcerative Colitis) at the age of 19. That was another easy diagnosis--as with cleft palate, they look and they see it.