Disability & the Newbery

Review: The War that Saved My Life

Once again, a book featuring a protagonist with a disability received a Newbery Honor! This year I was especially excited both because I had reviewed the book for the Disability in Kidlit blog, and because it featured a girl with a clubfoot – one of my medical conditions!

Books were a powerful connection tool for me as a young girl with a bunch of medical stuff going on, in the pre-Internet, pre-support group world. I devoured anything remotely related to disability, hospitals, surgery, all that fun stuff. I’m so happy that these books are being written and getting traction from audiences and librarians. Need to find and read the other Schneider award winners now!

Childhood “Favorites”: Medical Edition

 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.