Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fiction picture books on sensitive issues

A friend has written a picture book manuscript about a child with a kidney disease. She asked my opinion and as part of that, I suggested she read other fiction picture books that involve a sensitive issue including diseases, conditions, or other difficult situations.

But I could think of only two offhand, so I asked some librarian friends to pad my list. Thanks to Betsy Bird, Paula Willey, Kristen Monroe, and Linda Williams, I amassed a selection so good that I didn’t want to keep it to myself. (In some cases, they understandably had not read some of the books they directed me to. And I am sure there are many other titles that belong here. Please add them in the comments.)

Disclaimer: I have not read most of these books. So while I can make no guarantee for individual quality, I can say that if you are also writing a sensitive issue picture book, I’m sure most any of these books would be worth checking out, for one reason or another. (Apologies to the artists but in the interest of time, I’m listing only the authors. Luckily, anywhere else one looks up these books, both names will be there.)

Punk Wig by Lori Ries – cancer
Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola – stroke
My Little Grandmother Often Forgets by Reeve Lindbergh memory loss
The Pirate of Kindergarten – George Ella Lyon – double vision
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete – autism
We'll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen – Down syndrome
The Purple Balloon by Chris Raschka – terminal disease in a child
Trudi & Pia by Ursula Hegi dwarfism
Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy by Scott Menchin – depression
My Buddy by Audrey Osofsky – muscular dystrophy
Dancing with Katya by Dori Chaconas – polio/losing full use of legs
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book – grief over losing loved ones
My Travelin' Eye by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw – strabismus, a condition in which an eye moves irregularly
In Jessie’s Shoes by Beverly Lewis – special needs
I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell – obesity
Catherine's Story by Genevieve Moore – West Syndrome


The Hickory Chair by Lisa Rowe Fraustino
Apt. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats
Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin
The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination by Jimmy Liao


Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg
(the similarly named) Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin
the “Moses” series by Isaac Millman


Zoom! by Robert Munsch
Best Friend on Wheels by Debra Shirley

Also, the American Librarian Association gives an award for books that skillfully address a disability, some of which surely overlap with the list above:

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