Written By: Terri-Lynn Langdon
As a child with a visible disability growing up it was really rare for me to find media and written content about children with a disability. As a mother to a toddler, I am now finding it challenging to find content that addresses parents and caregivers with disabilities. Often when me and my little girl go somewhere together, I am the only wheelchair-using parent. Representation matters. It mattered for me as a child. I needed to see disabled children being and succeeding in the world and it matters now. I want my child and others to know that parenting with a disability is a valid way of being.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any children’s books telling the stories of parents with intellectual disabilities I was able to find a comprehensive book that I would like to share with friends, academics and fellow parents. This book is:
- Parents with Intellectual Disabilities: Past Present and Futures (2010) by Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Rannveig Traustadottir, David McConnell, Hanna Bjorg Sigurjonsdott.
- Link to more information: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9780470660393
In my career, I have had the opportunity to work alongside parents with intellectual disabilities. Families lead by parents with intellectual disabilities and/or multiple disabilities continue to be at the margins and are rarely represented as a result. To these families, I see you, I think of you often, and I will always put my energies into creating a better future for all of us to live in.
Here is a list of 10 Children’s Books featuring disabled parents and caregivers with all types of disabilities and in a variety of family constitutions and backgrounds. I enjoyed making this list and I hope that you can enjoy these books with the children in your life.
Momma Zooms (1995), by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
A boy’s wonderful mama takes him zooming everywhere with her, because her wheelchair is a zooming machine.
We Can Go Anywhere: My Adventures on Daddy’s Chair (2016), Glen Dick and Linda McManus (Illustrator)
In this beautiful example of a child’s innocence we are taught that a little imagination can take us a long way. What the rest of the world sees as a limitation becomes a great source of adventure and freedom.
My Dad is Different (2012), By Wendy Desmet
This book is written by a child’s mother to help her son understand his father’s physical disability.
The Colour Thief: A Families Story of Depression (2015), By Andrew Fusek Peters and Dolly Peters
This picture book tells a family’s story with depression from the perspective of the children and their parents.
Sad Days, Glad Days (2015), By Dewitt Hamilton and Illustrated by Glen Owens
Amanda Martha’s mother suffers from depression and, although the girl’s father explains that it is not her job to make her mother happy, Amanda Martha thinks that a playful cat will help.
Dad has a Wheelchair (2015), Ken Jasch and Dufalla Anita (Illustrator)
Along the way Julia explains why a person might have a disability and what it’s like having a dad with a disability. But the most important thing you will learn is that people with disabilities, such as Julia’s dad, are just like you and me.
Days with Dad (2017), By Nari Hong, 2017
Days With Dad is a heartwarming story of love and appreciation between a young girl and her dad, who uses a wheelchair.
Lucy’s Picture (2015), by Nicola Moon
Lucy wants to craft a picture for her grandfather who is blind. Since he can’t see she makes the picture tactile so that he can feel through the magic of it.
Hands and Hearts (2014), By Donna Joe Napoli and Amy Bates (Illustrator)
A mother and daughter play for the day and end up at a beech. They sign throughout their day adventure.
Mommy Sayyang (2019), by Rosana Sullivan
Aleeya lives in a Malaysian village with hwe Mommy and they do everything together. In Aleeya’s dreams, they dance among enormous hibiscus flowers. Aleeya asks her Mommy if she will always be by her side. Mommy assures her that she will, Insh’Allah. But one day, Mommy becomes sick. With a hibiscus flower in hand, Aleeya goes to Mommy’s bedside to bring her love and hope.