We love personalized books for kids, which always make special gifts for the kid who has everything. Also, what child doesn’t need more books in his or her library? But now we’ve discovered a publisher creating personalized books made just for kids with special needs and conditions, from Down Syndrome to Autism to food allergies and ADHD.
This is simply a fantastic find for so many families and classrooms.
The customizable books from authors Heather McCartney and Kate Ryan of Someone Special Books allow you to choose the appropriate title, then insert details like your child’s name, birthday, friends, or favorite activities, which are all incorporated into the rhyming text. But these books are different, in that they seem ideally targeted for schools and playgroups, especially in preschool or lower grade classrooms.
The result is a series of charming, books that help explain in simple language just what’s going on with a particular child in the class, how to handle it, and above all, why you can still be friends.
I think in part the boos work so well because the authors are teachers and moms themselves; and Heather’s own daughter was born with a rare metabolic condition, so she knows just what questions kids will ask and just how to address them.
For example, the food allergy book helps explain that because Annabeth can’t eat particular foods (you specify which when you create the book) that it’s important not to share snacks with her. The book about a visually challenged child makes suggestions like how you can help guide him through games you play, but don’t leave him alone. And the autism books, for either introverts or extroverts, have pages like:
Kady may repeat a phrase or word.
It might sound silly or even absurd.
Don’t worry about the noises or sounds that are made.
You don’t have to be concerned. You don’t have to be afraid.
I really like that all the books reinforce the message not to be scared or worried about other children’s differences, and that it’s okay to ask questions. In fact, there’s a series of talking points at the end of each book to help open candid discussions. But the best part is the takeaway for kids that in the end, the child is still someone great to get to know, who may have lots of interests just like you.
(Wait, she likes Minecraft too? Cool!)
Also, there’s a not-so subtle closing message about bullying, sticking together, and standing up for what’s right. But then, that’s a message that shouldn’t really be subtle at all.
Having recently torn through the remarkable Wonder by R.J. Palacio — which I think should be required reading for any child or parent — I have such an increased sensitivity to and awareness of differently-abled kids; but especially to what makes them the same, and not different at all.
The Someone Special books are a really lovely way to help create a more accepting world for all kinds of children, whether she’s in a wheelchair, sits in the front row to be able to see the blackboard, or has to keep explaining why she say no to cupcakes during classroom birthdays.
Visit Someone Special Books to find personalized books for kids with special needs for $29.99 each. They’re really a fantastic classroom tool, whether you’re a teacher, a parent, or a school librarian.