Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Looking at Differences 2.21.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I've rescheduled this post about 5 times because of other books and topics that came up.  Timely, since now I can say one of the books is a Sibert Honor Award winning book!

This topic is near and dear to my heart.  Being the parent of a child who has a physical disability opens your awareness to the topic in ways you never thought of before.  What I find so interesting is when I talk to my daughter about how she wants to be seen, how she wants to be treated, how she identifies, it's not always the answer I expect to receive. 

Not So Different by Shane Burcaw
Not So Different:
What You REALLY Want to Ask About Having a Disability
written by Shane Burcaw
photographs by Matt Carr
published by Roaring Brook Press

Shane was born with spinal muscular atrophy.  As a result, he looks different.  As he states in his book, his head is larger than the rest of his body.  His body is small because his muscles are slowly deteriorating as a result of SMA.  He uses a mechanical wheelchair to move and must rely on chest straps to keep him from leaning over and falling.  No doubt, this leads to a lot of stares and a lot of questions.  This book gives answers to many common questions people have.

Books like this are so important because as I've witnessed first hand with my daughter, once you answer questions, kids move past the differences they see and see the person inside.  For kids, that usually means they just move on to the playing part of life!

An important book to share with readers today.  This is a book that should not only be in libraries, it should be read aloud to every young reader.

Congratulations for being awarded the 2018 Sibert Honor Award!

What's the Difference? by Doyin Richards
What's the Difference?
Being Different is Amazing
by Doyin Richards
published by Feiwel and Friends

This is an interesting book.  At the beginning of the book there is a message from the author.  One statement stood out to me, "In order to make the world a better place, we need to educate our children about how beautiful diversity truly is."  I've been reading about the word "diversity" and I've been thinking about what it means.  I've been having conversations with others about this topic and I keep changing my own ideas and understanding as a result.

On the one hand, this book celebrates our differences and has a message about embracing them.  It talks about how our differences make us wonderful and looking at what is on the inside is just as important.

On the other hand, I don't know if the message of "what's the difference if your classmate has light skin and yours is a little darker?" is the right way to look at things.  I'd like to have some more conversations about this book and see how I would use it.

One of my favorite lines in the book is, "It's the same with your friends.  Listen to their stories."

Bottom line, I think when sharing this book with young readers, it carries a message that makes sense in their little world. 


  1. I have "Not So Different" on hold at the library, am actually glad it is getting out there and read! My niece has Cerebral Palsy & it would have been wonderful to have had books like these when she was growing up. I would say she'd love people to know her story, and then to move on. Not everyone does. Thanks for your ideas about it, Michele, and for the other one, too.

  2. Hi Michele, I really want to read "Not So Different". "What's the Difference" is a new one for me. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I was surprised I hadn't read the Burcaw book. I just checked my library and discovered it's because they haven't purchased it yet! I'm glad to get to request they purchase this one.

  4. I love that these books can be uses to spark conversations and that they're also good reads.

  5. Michele, these kinds of books are so important! Often kids are hearing nothing at home about differences, or they need great books to give them a different view (from what they're hearing at home) of differences. I have a poetry collection related to physical differences and disabilities--it's been acquired but not yet paired with an illustrator nor scheduled for publication. I can't wait for it to publish--someday!--so I can have a book out that contributes to this conversation. Thanks for sharing these:>)