Bookstores are one of my favorite places...they're quiet, they have that lovely "book smell," visual interest abounds, and best of all, they are ripe with the possibility of a reader's next adventure. On a recent visit to a bookstore in Petaluma, California, a new book in the children's section practically leapt into my hands. a kids book about DISABILITY by Kristine Napper caught my eye immediately and I knew I wouldn't be leaving the store without it.
Over the years we have had many experiences when it comes to talking about Olivia's disability. In the early days, kids being the honest and outspoken little humans that they are, the biggest questions were, "What are those things on your legs?" "Why do you walk like that?" and "How did you hurt your legs?" These simple questions required only simple answers. In fact, the simplest answer was usually the best, "Olivia has something called Cerebral Palsy that makes it hard for her to walk. It doesn't hurt and she still loves to play."
Later, kids wanted to know more. Sometimes the questions were appropriate and sometimes they were hurtful. But the hardest questions were often the ones that weren't asked at all. Classmates and strangers alike often looked at Olivia with curiosity but didn't know how to talk to her about her disability. To Olivia (and to me, as well), I think the "stares" were difficult to deal with. I never thought they were mean-spirited or ill-intended, but I also didn't know how to react to them. Most likely this was because WE were uncomfortable talking about her disability too! It was hard to know what to say, how much information people wanted, and how to navigate everyone's discomfort. This book addresses that issue perfectly and I highly recommend it for both children and adults.
About this book:
A clear explanation of what disabilities are and how to navigate conversations about them.
Sometimes people act like having a disability means you’re from another planet, even though over a billion people in the world have disabilities. So how do you talk about disability? How do you talk to people with disabilities? This book helps kids and grownups approach disability as a normal part of the human experience.
This is one conversation that’s never too early to start, and this book was written to be an introduction for kids on the topic.