[DiverseKidLit] Portrayal of Differently Abled People in Picturebooks in “Max the Champion” and “The Printer”

Myra here.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

Exciting News!

Becker’s School Supplies has offered a fabulous prize for participating in our upcoming #diversekidlit Twitter chat on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm ET. One winner will receive all four of these wonderful diverse picture books: If Kids Ran the World; Golden Domes, Silver Lanterns; I’m New Here; and Same, Same But Different. These would make a wonderful addition to your home, classroom, or library.

You can find all the details about our upcoming chat, including a list of questions that we will be discussing, by clicking here. We hope to “see” you on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm ET – and good luck!

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, April 15th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme & Chat

Our theme for the current month is Favorites. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • April 15th continues the celebration of the one-year anniversary of #diversekidlit! Our theme with be Favorites. Share your top diverse books or authors or topics.
  • Join us on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm Eastern Time for a Twitter chat about Diverse Children’s Books! In honor of one-year of the #diversekidlit linkup, we’ll be discussing issues and challenges facing diverse books, as well as sharing our favorites. We hope you’ll join us!
  • Future hops will take place on May 6th and 20th. Leave your ideas for a theme in the comments.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Gayle’s wonderful list of books for Planting Seeds. Harvesting Change. Making Choices. These three books emphasize the central theme of caring for our environment as a means of both action and activism. A great tie-in to doing some of your own planting too!

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These two picturebooks portray differently-abled children and adults: from hearing impaired adults to children in a wheelchair or suffering from asthma. I feel that these may be good starting points for discussion among young children.


fullsizerender-9Max The Champion

Written by: Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick Illustrated by: Ros Asquith
Published by: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2013
ISBN: 1847803881 (ISBN13: 9781847803887)Borrowed through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me. 

This is a fast-paced, brimming-with-life picturebook that depicts this young boy named Max who is very deeply into sports that he dreams, imagines, thinks about it at every single moment. Initially, I couldn’t figure out what made him different, until I read the Author’s Note and saw that at a certain page he was wearing an ear piece, indicating that he is hearing impaired.

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He also had other friends who did not allow their physical disability to get in the way of their involvement in classroom activities or in sports.

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Rather than the disability being the central theme in the story, it is really more Max’s imaginative nature, the energy that he brings into each day, and the warm friendship that Max shared with the people around him that stood out the most for me.

The Printerfullsizerender-2

Written by: Myron Uhlberg Illustrated by: Henri Sorensen
Published by: Peachtree Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1561452211 (ISBN13: 9781561452217)Borrowed through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me.  

This book is inspired by the author’s father who was hearing impaired and who also worked as a Printer in the composing room of The New York Daily News.

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My father was a printer. He wore a printer’s four-cornered newspaper hat. Every day after work, he brought home the next day’s paper. After reading it, he always folded a page into a small hat and gently placed it on my head.

I would not take off my newspaper hat until bedtime.

The son in the story also talked about how his father sometimes felt sad about the way he was treated by co-workers who are able to hear. But, he didn’t mind too much, as he did not lack for friends, most of whom are hearing-impaired and also worked as printers. When a fire started to break out in their workplace, it was the boy’s father who saw it and found a way to warn the others, and convey the message to them somehow, thereby saving quite a number of people in the process.

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The Author’s Note indicated that this job was apparently perceived as ideal for hearing-impaired individuals at the time:

My father and many others were taught to be printers. This was viewed as the ideal trade for the deaf since printing was a very noisy business.

A lot of this may also have to do with misconceptions about what it means to be hearing impaired. What stayed with me as I read this picturebook was the pride that the son obviously felt for his father, perceiving him as a quiet, unsung hero, who was courageous enough to warn the very same people who never perceived him as an ‘equal’ because of his disability. It is indeed a beautiful tribute to the author’s father and the many unsung heroes who often go unnoticed in our midst.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for April

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

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4 Comments on [DiverseKidLit] Portrayal of Differently Abled People in Picturebooks in “Max the Champion” and “The Printer”

  1. Great post on diversity.

    Like

  2. Books that include difference as a subtle part of the story instead of treating it more like an “issue” are more effective at normalizing the circumstance being included and depict that differently-abled people can do most things that everyone one else can.

    Like

  3. Such great books! Hearing impairments are rarely depicted in children’s books, and I love the sensitivity with which Max’s disability is shown – it’s not a big deal, it doesn’t hold him back, it’s just a part of who he is!

    Like

  4. Drangonfly // April 5, 2017 at 12:18 am // Reply

    i’m in such a diverse phase right now that I just want to hug this meme! Thanks for hosting the link up. My link is in!

    Like

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