Children and families of color who are impacted by disabilities can find themselves and their stories represented in picture books on the shelves of their libraries. In addition, their teachers, school leaders, school counselors, caregivers, and friends also benefit from the perspective that these picture books provide. The purpose of this list is to identify and promote picture books about disabilities that both physically and culturally represent the identities and experiences of people of color.
Our work draws upon the Council for Exceptional Children's categories for disabilities (2017). However, in some instances, more progressive categories are standard in the School of Education community; thus, we replaced outdated terminology. The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2016) estimates that there are approximately 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities attending public schools across the United States.
In collaboration with Arnell Hammond, this collection list was supported by a Carnegie Whitney Grant from the American Library Association. We offer this collection list to our learners and researchers in IU’s School of Education and beyond. We were inspired by Moeller & Becnel’s (2018) holistic approach to determine which books featured people of color. Their approach includes drawing upon text and visual features, such as linguistic choices and skin color. While the approach limits the titles we curated, our desire for children and their families to visually and culturally identify with characters was at the center of our curation process.
While this list offers diverse representation, strength of content and illustrations vary. These books represent publications from 2004-2020.