DREAM ensures books by, for, and about people with disabilities are widely available. Stories addressing growing up with a disability, describing victories of the movement, and social opportunities are themes in the collection.
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All the Way to the Top
By Annette Bay Pimentel | eBook
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, Jennifer Keelan grew up battling-and overcoming-the limitations others set for her. But after discovering the world of disability rights activism, she knew she had to use her voice to change things. At eight years old, she participated in the Capitol Crawl. The deeply affecting image of Jennifer crawling up the steps of Capitol Hill went viral and helped pressure Congress into passing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Awesomely Emma: A Charley and Emma Story
I love being me, because me is an awesome thing to be! Emma has limb differences, but different isn’t bad, sad, or strange. It’s just different! But when some accessibility problems get in the way at the local art museum, it ruins the fun of a class trip…and then Emma’s friend Charley makes things even worse! In the middle of a really bad day, Emma has to call upon her sense of inner awesome to stand up for herself and teach everyone a lesson about the transformative power of feeling awesome in your own skin.
Bodies Are Cool
By Tyler Feder | eBook
Highlighting the various skin tones, body shapes, abilities, and hair types is just the beginning in this truly inclusive book. With its joyful illustrations and encouraging poetic refrain, it will instill body acceptance and confidence in the youngest of readers.
I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes, and Activists from Past and Present
Meet 34 trailblazing role models with disabilities from around the world and throughout history, whose incredible lives and careers demonstrate that living with a disability or a chronic illness is not a definition, but just one part of what makes these amazing athletes, activists, thinkers and artists so unique.
I Will Dance
By Nancy Bo Flood | eBook
Eva longs to dance. But unlike many would-be dancers, Eva has cerebral palsy. She doesn’t know what dance looks like for someone who uses a wheelchair. Then Eva learns of a place that has created a class for dancers of all abilities. Her first movements in the studio are tentative, but with the encouragement of her instructor and fellow students, Eva becomes more confident. Eva found a place where everyone truly belongs and at last her dream of dancing has come true. This story is based on the inclusive programs of the Young Dance company in St. Paul, MN. (Young Dance – Transforming Lives Through Movement).
Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful. Here, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges and the differences that makes each of us unique.
Looking Out For Sarah
By Glenna Lang | hoopla eBook
In this story of friendship, loyalty, and trust, spend a day in the life of Sarah and her guide dog, Perry. Perry explains how he helps Sarah go shopping, to the post office, and take the train to school. Sarah, a blind musician and teacher, entertains the children she teaches and tells them about the time she and Perry walked from Boston to New York to show the world what a blind person can accomplish with the help of a guide dog.
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay
By Cari Best
Zulay is blind. She and her three best friends are all in the same first grade class and study the same things. When their teacher asks her students what activity they want to do on Field Day, Zulay surprises everyone when she says she wants to run a race. With the help of a special aide and the support of her friends, Zulay does just that.
Out Into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge | eBook
Kate, who has Down syndrome, visits her grandparents on her own for the first time at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate — but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart, and feisty character moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.
Rescue and Jessica
Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog, but when he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. Based on a real-life partnership, the authors share endnote information about service dogs, including their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.
When Charley Met Emma
When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair, he doesn’t know how to react at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn’t bad, sad, or strange–different is just different! This wonderful book will help kids think about disability, kindness, and how to behave when they meet someone who is different from them.
You Are Enough
By Margaret O’Hair and Sofia Sanchez | eBook
It can be hard to be different-whether because of how you look, where you live, or what you can or can’t do. But wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same? Being different is what makes you YOU. This inclusive and empowering picture book, written by Sofia Sanchez, a young model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds readers how important it is to embrace your differences, be confident, and be proud of who you are. This book also includes a brief bio of Sofia and her journey so far, as well as additional information about Down syndrome and how we can all be more accepting, more inclusive, and more kind.
Classrooms will participate in a Reading Challenge, using the highly recommended children’s books provided. During the second half of the school year, the participating classrooms will receive disability education and each classroom teacher will receive a teacher toolkit with extension activities and calls to action. The goal of the DREAM school program is to continue fostering inclusion and normalizing disability.
- Fairfield Elementary (Maumee)
- Holloway Elementary (Springfield)
- Lake Erie West ESC
- Perrysburg Schools
- Swanton Elementary
- Toledo Public Schools
- Washington Local Schools
- Waterville Primary (Anthony Wayne)
- Westside Montessori
- Whiteford Elementary (Sylvania)
- Whitehouse Primary (Anthony Wayne)
“Representation matters. My children need to see themselves in pop culture, but just as importantly, so do their peers. I want my kids to go to school in a place where it is more than just ok to stick out. That our differences are celebrated and that our abilities are nurtured, no matter what they are. I want a world where potential and success are not measured by your test scores, but by a fulfilling life bursting with choices.”
– Heidi Bollin, Parent
“The DREAM books opened dialogue between my students that otherwise may never have taken place. They developed an increased awareness of children with disabilities, as well as how to include them and make them feel like they belong and are welcome. The variety of books helped them understand a wide span of disabilities, develop empathy, and taught them in a way that fostered acceptance. The DREAM books became some of my students’ favorite read aloud this year!”
– Kristi Kalo, 2nd Grade Teacher
“As a mother of a child with a disability, it brings me great joy that not only are schools implementing a truly inclusive educational environment for all children but parents of children with all abilities are demanding it. Diversity without disability is not true diversity. Children need to be in community with individuals of all abilities. We need to provide our children with the opportunity to see differences in a positive light and provide them with the language and understanding of true diversity. I am thankful for the DREAM program for providing beautiful stories featuring individuals with disabilities in leading roles showing our children that we are all more alike than different.”
– Helena Boyer, Parent
“Every kid deserves to see themselves in the books they read. The DREAM project not only makes that possible, but also empowers teachers to help all their students learn more about disability, kindness, and inclusion.”