Using Children’s Literature to Cultivate Compassion for People with Differences

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Anna Stewart


children, literature, disabilities


A review of 20 children’s picture books and novels featuring characters with disabilities.  Through examining the literature, parents, teachers and students can learn about disabilities in a safe, informative and engaging way. Understanding is the first step to cultivating compassion for people with differences, thereby fostering tolerance and social change.
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Picture Books:

My Friend Isabelle
Eliza Woloson
Bryan Gough, illustrator
Woodbine House, 2003

Different Just Like Me
Lori Mitchell
Talewinds, 1999

Don’t Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability
Pat Thomas
Lesley Harker, illustrator
Barron’s, 2002

Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism
Laurie Lears
Illustrated by Karen Ritz
Albert Whitman & Company, 1998

Moses Goes to a Concert
Isaac Millman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998

Thank You, Mr. Falker
Patricia Polacco
Philomel Books, 1998

The Face at the Window
Regina Hanson
Illustrated by Linda Saport
Houghton Mifflin, 1997

The Seeing Stick
Jane Yolen
Remy Charlip and Demetra Maraslis, illustrators
Thomas Y. Crowell, 1977

Chapter Books:

Stuck in Neutral
Terry Truman
HarperCollins, 2000

Sees Behind Trees
Michael Dorris
Hyperion Books for Children, 1996

Joey Pigza Loses Control (2002)
Jack Gantos
Also Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (2000) and What Would Joey Do? (2004)
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World’s Best Underachiever, Niagara Falls or Does It?, I Got a D in Salami, Day of the Iguana, The Zippity Zinger
Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Read by Henry Winkler
Grosset &Dunlap

My Sister Annie
Bill Dodds
Caroline House, 1993

Eddie Enough!
Written by Debbie Zimmett
Illustrated by Charlotte Murray Fremaux
Woodbine House, 2001

The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn’t Hear
Susan Shreve
Tambourine Books, 1991

Crazy Lady!
Jane Leslie Conly
A Laura Geringer Book, 1993

Tiger’s Fall
Molly Bang
Henry Holt and Company, 2001

A Corner of the Universe
Ann M. Martin
Scholastic Press, 2002

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon
Doubleday, 2003

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
Sharon Creech
Illustrator, Chris Raschka
Joanne Colter Books, 2003

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