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August 10, 2016
Today is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Across the world, events and observations are focused on changing attitudes about disability and giving disabled people opportunities to shape society. To contribute from our little corner of the world, we’d like to shine a light on the Schneider Family Book Award.
Given annually in three categories—young children, middle-grade readers, and teens—this award honors books that artistically and accurately express the disability experience. Because we love stories that reflect the wide range of children’s experiences, we offer several winners of this prestigious prize, including:
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
This convention-shattering book jumps back and forth in time to tell the story of two children, both deaf, who undertake personal quests that lead them to New York City and into one another’s lives. Author Brian Selznick captures the experience of deafness by telling half the story through pictures alone.
My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha Abeel
Samantha has always been a gifted student, but unbeknownst to her classmates or teachers, she is unable to tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change. Finally, at age 13, Samantha is diagnosed with a learning disability called dyscalculia. In this memoir, she tells the story of developing strategies for coping with her disability—and of finding a way to shine through her writing.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
This Newbery Honor Book explores the way one person’s disability can change the lives of others. Catherine’s family has been shaped by the needs of her autistic brother, David. But it’s Catherine’s friendship with Jason, a nonverbal wheelchair-bound boy, that helps her begin to understand what it’s like to navigate the world with a different set of tools.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
After her parents use part of her college fund to pay for cochlear implants for her baby sister—leaving her the only deaf member of the family—Piper starts managing a rock band to earn some cash. This book is full of heart, insight, and great characters. Piper in particular is appealing, complex, and never defined only by her deafness—exactly the kind of aware and edgy teen readers will relate to.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo, a 17-year-old with an Asperger-like condition, is pushed out of his comfort zone into the “real world” when he takes a summer job at his father’s law firm. There, he struggles to navigate new friendships, ethical quandaries, and difficult questions of identity. This philosophical, moving novel reminds readers of the ways disability and ability often go hand in hand.
Author Bio: Morgan Walker does online title presentation for Scholastic Reading Club.
December 3, 2013