Disability Digest: 5 Fave Books I'm Reading

One of the advantages of being a blogger is that I get to find out about lots of wonderful books. Some are sent my way to read, review and share with the world, others catch my eye and I buy them to support our close-knit SEN writing community.

This month I have fiction, a personal journey, incredible illustrations, an inclusive calendar, and a jolly useful handbook to tell you about... so here's what's on my desk at the moment.

Disability Digest: 5 fave books I'm reading

It's not too late to get your hands on a copy of this fabulous calendar. Each month features a gorgeous selection of children with additional learning needs in quirky mock-ups of famous paintings, ranging from Warhol to Monet. Each page also introduces a new Makaton sign and symbol  which will help young learners with everyday vocabulary.

Published by Birds Nest Books this latest book from expert Ross is a wonderful companion for any parent hoping to home educate or flexi-school their child and we will be offering a copy next month here on Downs Side Up. Chapters deal with all your pressing questions such as How do I manage time off? Do they end up weird? Will we be isolated? Do we have to follow a curriculum?

Owl Song at Dawn is an important tale of heartbreak and family relationships, or reality and disability. It's beautifully written, with a wisdom that only lived experience can bring. 

I happened to meet the author's family whilst staying at Foxes Hotel and training academy for young people with a learning disability (read my Telegraph Travel review here). Emma's parents and her sister, who has Autism, were enjoying a short break there. 

I later found out that Foxes is in fact the inspiration behind Sea View Lodge that features in Owl Song at Dawn and Emma's sister is the motivation behind the novel, which has been praised for portraying characters with disabilities in a realistic, never tokenistic way.

Henny's illustrations depict the shock of diagnosis

Mum Henny has created this most unique book, honestly illustrating her family's journey. Henny's drawings are filled with love, frustration and humour and portray a 'warts and all' view of life with a child with Down's syndrome, taking us from diagnosis, through heart surgery and beyond. This ground-breaking book had me nodding, frowning and laughing and I think it is suitable for those of us who have processed the early uncertain days and are able to step back and see our lives ina different light. 

"What happens when life doesn't deliver quite what you were expecting?"
Caroline captures the overwhelming and often conflicting thoughts, fears and emotions of many new parents of a baby with a genetic condition, in this spellbindingly beautiful new book. Written in a poetic way, and suitable to read aloud to children, she talks of the way she moved from shock to a place of acceptance and of seeing her beautiful son Seb, who has Down's syndrome, for the unique and valuable individual he is. 

I related so much to what Caroline says and am certain that many new parents will find this book a great comfort indeed.


What are you reading?

So, happy reading to you all. I hope you find something that whets your literary tastebuds amongst the above selection. And don't forget to add your reading suggestions for us below.

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