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RMU Recommends



Danny’s Song;
by Betty Ann Nadas

This classic picture book tells the story of Danny, an 8 year old boy with a physical disability. The story references some of the challenges that he faces, but focuses on the things he can do. It shows how Danny and his brother and sister are alike. As a native Pittsburgher, I grew up with Betty Ann Nadas, aka Mrs. McFeely, through watching Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. Danny’s Song is part of the series I am, I can, I will. It teaches sensitivity to others. Although it is a classic, it is still available on book and cassette. It is also on the Accelerated Reader list. Check your local library.

Recommended by: Dr. Vicki Donne

Moses Goes to A Concert


Moses Goes to a Concert
by Rene Issac Millman

One of a series (Moses Sees a Play, Moses Goes to the Circus, Moses Goes to School), this book tells the story of a group of students who are deaf/hard of hearing going to a concert. They see and meet a percussionist who is also deaf. The drawings illustrate the events of the day and include signs of key ideas. When writing and illustrating this series, Mr. Millman sought input from teachers at a school for the deaf in NY. As a result, this book portrayed the characters who are deaf from a cultural perspective. I loved that it included a deaf role model as well. It closes with the positive message that with hard work, you can be anything that you want to be! Farrar, Straus, & Giroux 2002

Recommended by: Dr. Vicki Donne



Mama Zooms
by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

The line drawings of this picture book illustrate the adventures a young boy has with his mother in her ‘zooming machine’ or wheelchair. It ends with her tucking him into bed and the boy saying “then mama is just my mama and that’s how I like her best”. I like this picture book because it promotes understanding and acceptance of physical disabilities. Some young children with a disability think that they will not have a disability when they grow up because they have never seen an adult with a disability. This book portrays a mother with a disability as a positive image doing caring, imaginative activities with her son. It is inspired by the author’s sister who uses a wheelchair since being injured in an accident. Scholastic, Inc. 1995

Recommended by: Dr. Vicki Donne



Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper

This fiction book is written in first-person narrative, from Melody’s viewpoint. She is a 5th grade girl with cerebral palsy. Melody is very smart, but unable to show it as she is non-verbal. “Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind” until she is introduced to a voice output device. Through some realistic and heart-warming events, we see Melody struggle with her physical difficulties and typical teen challenges. She shows great strength of character which was developed through strong relationships with her family, neighbor, and teachers. In the end Melody realizes that she is no different than any other middle school student, she faces challenges, wants to fit in, and just wants a friend.  I absolutely love this book - it will have you laughing, crying, and everything in between. It can be unsettling at times, but thoroughly uplifting as Ms. Draper weaves a story about a young girl finding her voice, both literally (through assistive technology) and figuratively (through advocating for herself). This book illustrates the complexities and challenges of physical inclusion and social inclusion. There is a teacher and student study guide at the author’s website, www.sharondraper.com . Also, this book is on the AR list. Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2010

Recommended by: Dr. Vicki Donne



by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck is both a narrative (Ben’s story) and a picture book (Roses’s story). Their stories are set in different time periods but are connected through various events. After Ben’s mother dies, he sets off on an adventure to find his father. During different times in Rose’s life, she searches for members of her family. Both find refuge and answers at a museum. Communication is a major theme in the book presentation, narrative, and story lines.  Ben was born with a hearing loss in one ear, then lost hearing in his other ear due to being hit by lightning (a little far-fetched). Other aspects of the book (communication, schooling, silent movies, technologies, etc.) are culturally sensitive and accurate. The author sought input from the deaf community. The weaving of story themes was beautifully done in pictures and words. The style of the book held your attention throughout. For teaching ideas and a discussion guide, visit the Teaching with Selznick site (be sure to review the essays) Scholastic Press 2011http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/vitural-field-trip-teaching-resources

Recommended by: Dr. Vicki Donne