My parents are cleaning out the attic of their house, and I got an e-mail with this blast-from-the past: Mister Rogers medical books!
I still remember these books well. And that’s kind of sad. I think I took “working through past medical procedures” a bit too intently… we also found my favorite doctor’s kit. I donated a bunch of toys and dolls and books, but these I’m keeping.
I’m keeping them as much for what they represent than for anything else. These books represent my experiences growing up with doctors and hospitals and operations and casts and appointments followed by yet more appointments. They represent me trying to make sense of that reality, and the resources that were available to me do that. They represent the efforts of those around me to prepare and educate me about these experiences (apparently not only did I go on a “surgery tour” at the age of three, I actually asked questions of whoever was leading it. Precocious much?)
Certainly education about the impact of early childhood medical intervention has improved, and I’m sure there are more sophisticated preparation materials available to children and their parents now – but finding these books makes me grateful that at least something was available during my childhood.
This series was certainly well-read and well-loved.
Of course I was excited last week when the Schneider Family Book Awards which “honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences” were announced at ALA Midwinter.
I’ve only read the middle-grade winner – Rain Reign by Ann M Martin (Babysitter’s Club author, in case you lived under a rock or had no elementary-school aged children in the 90s), but thought the story of a girl with autism learning to love and let go when she encounters a lost dog was wonderful. I’ve requested and ordered the other two for my library system.
What really made me (literally) squee, however, was that Cece Bell’s El Deafo was a Newberry Honor book. This funny and touching graphic novel explores what it is like to grow up wearing hearing aids and attending a mainstream school. I am so, so happy for this book that it was recognized.
I am especially happy, however, that it was recognized separate from the Schneider category – because while it is important to recognize marginalized groups and create recognition for works exploring them, the ultimate goal is to de-marginalize them and not have to limit “disability literature” to one category. It is great that the nominating committee saw fit to see beyond genre boundaries and pre-conceptions in this case.
I highly recommend reading through these books and the others that have won in past years.
Jacob’s Eye Patch
by Beth Kobliner Shaw, Jacob Shaw, Jules Feiffer (Illustrations)
Being different can be hard.
This funny, spirited story—written by bestselling author of Get a Financial Life Beth Kobliner Shaw with her son Jacob, and illustrated by award-winning picture book artist Jules Feiffer—encourages young readers to embrace the thing that makes them unique…Jacob is in a hurry—a really big hurry—to get to the store to buy a special toy. There’s only one left, and if he doesn’t get to it soon, he’ll never forgive his mom and dad for making him late. Strangers often stop Jacob’s parents on the street to ask about him. See, Jacob is unusual: He has an eye patch. Jacob knows people like to ask questions, but do they have to ask right now?
Luckily, Jacob gets to the store in time, and he meets a new friend who has something different, too. In the end, Jacob’s journey makes him more aware of other people’s feelings. Jacob’s Eye Patch is the go-to book for talking about differences that kids can enjoy and parents can turn to for guidance.
Everyone has something different! What’s your something? Share your child’s story at JacobsEyePatch.com. –Goodreads
This book was just published, and I can’t wait to read it!
My review is coming soon.
Hopefully I can add it to my list of valuable books on differences. I’ve read numerous books on all kinds of disabilities, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one on eye patches yet. As a long-time eye patch wearer, I would have been positively obsessed with such a book as a child!