Please welcome Jo Meserve Mach, Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier and Mary Birdsell with their list of Books Making the World Better Through Inclusion.
Books Making the World Better Through Inclusion
1. Emanuel’s Dream by Lauri Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls
I love true stories and this true story of Emmanual Ofos Yeboah is so inspiring! Because his mother believes he can teach himself how to gain the skills he does just that. The fact he is missing part of one leg doesn’t limit him. Emmanuels quote at the end of the book says it all: “In this world, we are not perfect. We can only do our best.” [picture book, ages 4 and up]
2. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
This is a fun story that takes place at school. It portrays inclusion in a wonderful way. Zulay becomes just another child participating in Field Day. At first she seems different because she is blind but then she is like every other child competing at school. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. Max the Champion by Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick, illustrated by Ros Asquith
I like this story because it’s about following your passion. Max loves sports and he and other children with all types of abilities enjoy playing together. The fact that Max has a hearing aid doesn’t interfere with his inclusion in the sports he loves. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
4. Rainbow Joe and Me by Maria Diaz Storm
This story digs deeper into understanding how our world can be interpreted when you have different abilities. Joe is blind but he has the gift of creating music. This story honors how people with different abilities have so much to offer our world. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
5. Kami and the Yaks by Andrea Stenn Stryer and Bert Dodson
This story demonstrates how there are children all over the world with disabilities. I like the natural setting of Kami with his family doing what they typically do as a family. They care for zaks. His deafness does not limit his ability to have his role in helping his family. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
6. My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Wolson
This is a delightful story about being friends. Friends enjoy each being together. They appreciate their similarities and differences. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This is an incredible story about a boy who often thinks differently. His ‘disability’ isn’t identified. He may have autism or Asperger’s, but that doesn’t matter. It is just fun to follow his thinking and discover a wonderful story. [young adult, ages 14 and up]
8. Claire Wants a Boxing Name by Jo Meserve Mach and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier, illustrated by Mary Birdsell
This is a super fun story of Claire learning to box from Vivian who is blind. It’s interesting to learn about boxing. Also, it’s extra special because Claire not only learns to box she also learns to attend better. This is a gift that will help her in school. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Jo Meserve Mach, author, spent 36 years as an Occupational Therapist. She is very passionate about sharing the stories of children with special needs. Jo embraces the joy that individuals with disabilities bring to our communities through their unique gifts.
Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier, author, worked professionally in Early Childhood and Special Education programming for 25 years. She has a PhD in Special Education and is currently working at the Kansas State Department of Education. Vera is passionate about the inclusion of each and every child in settings where they would be if they did not have a disability.
Learn more at their website.