Books for Kids with Disabilities

Mar 11, 2011
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As a young child, Katherine Schneider, now a clinical psychologist, realized the lack of books about and for people with disabilities. As a result 7 years ago, she created the Schneider Family Book Award. Katherine has a visual impairment and this was her way to thank the people who had helped her throughout her life. The book award is given to books that “embody an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences” and to spotlight well-written children’s books about people with disabilities.

The Schneider Family Book Award is administered by the American Library Association, and is given annually to three books chosen by a committee of librarians. One winning book is chosen for each of three different age categories: young children (birth through age 8), children ages 9 through 13, and teens ages 14 through 18.

Winning authors each receive $5,000 and a framed plaque. Also, the winning books sport a specially designed blue-and-silver sticker showing boys and girls holding hands around a circle representing the world. The sticker includes the words “Schneider Family Book Award” in Braille, as well as in regular printed letters.

2011 Winners & Excerpts:

“The Pirate of Kindergarten” by George Ella Lyon
— Ginny loves reading, but it still can be a frustrating process. If Ginny squints, she can see the letters pretty well. When her kindergarten teacher tells her “Don’t squint,” however, Ginny sees twice the amount of letters, making reading a perpetual challenge.

“After Ever After” by Jordan Sonnenblick
— Jeffrey and his best friend Tad have survived cancer, but it’s left them with emotional and physical scars. Cancer-fighting medicine has scrambled parts of Jeffrey’s brain, making it nearly impossible for him to master math, while Tad must get around in a wheelchair.

“Five Flavors of Dumb” by Antony John
— When a high-school rock band named Dumb accepts 18-year-old Piper’s offer to be the manager, she wonders if she’s done something stupid. After all, the players have some major musical and group-dynamic problems to work through before they can even think about making it big. Even more importantly, as a person with a hearing impairment, Piper can only do so much to help the band improve.

Schneider Family Book Award (American Library Association)

Author: Jenny Carlton