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American Library Association Recognizes Books for Their Portrayal of the Disability Experience

The American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of the 2020 Schneider Family Book Awards, which honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, written by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López and published by Philomel Books An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, won the award for young children. Sonia and her friends invite readers that if they are “curious about other kids, just ask.” Accompanied by colorful and joyful illustrations, the narrative shows us that our differences are what make us stronger. With each kids’ unique contribution, their garden grows.

A Friend for Henry, a story about friendship told from the perspective of a boy with autism by Jenn Bailey, published by Chronicle Book LLC was awarded the young children honor title.

Song for a Whale, written by Lynne Kelly and published by Delacorte Press, An Imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC won the award for middle grade title.  Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, go on an unbelievable quest to find Blue 55, a whale who cannot communicate with other whales. Iris writes a song and uses her skills with radios to create a device to play the song to signal to him that he is not alone.

In Each Tiny Spark, by Pablo Cartaya, the middle grade honor title, is about Emilia, who has ADHD and is also facing discrimination at school and trying to reconnect with her father, a military veteran who has PTSD.

The teen award winner is Cursed, story of a girl with juvenile arthritis written by Karol Ruth Silverstein and published by Charlesbridge.

The Silence Between Us, a story about a deaf teen adjusting to high school, was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award teen honor title. The Silence Between Us was written by Alison Gervais and published by Blink.

Read the press release from the American Library Association.  Also see the article “Children’s Books Win Awards For Disability Storylines” in Disability Scoop.


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