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ERIC Number: EJ866737
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
Inclusion on the Bookshelf
Jackson, Camille
Teaching Tolerance, n36 p54-57 Fall 2009
Three decades have passed since federal law mandated inclusion--ending, officially at least, a system that segregated students with disabilities from the rest of the student population. The publishing world has yet to catch up. In children's books, characters with disabilities often inhabit their own separate world, where disability is the only story, and people are either heroes, victims or sidekicks. Finding books that are disability-positive may take some digging, but it is worth the effort. Truly inclusive books serve to dispel stereotypes, prevent bullying and support students who are labeled "disabled." A book with a positive message can welcome students who are hyper-aware of their difference--and foster a discussion that will set the record straight. Canadian elementary school teacher Tracy Beck advises that when choosing books for younger children, teachers should pay close attention to illustrations, to make sure the images don't reinforce stereotypes. Teachers should choose books that depict children with disabilities as empowered with "no negative value judgments implied," according to the educators at the University of Kansas Circle of Inclusion Project. The illustrations and text should offer genuine insights into another person, these experts say. The lives of children with disabilities are adventurous, funny, romantic and active. There are many books available that contain characters with disabilities, but few that truly embrace social inclusion. The real story is so much more compelling than the stereotypes: if teachers dig deep and ask the right questions, they can find books that bring the real story to their students.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A