Adapted Books for Teens With Disabilities

Adapted books are texts that have been modified to make them more accessible for people with different abilities. Making books more physically accessible could mean using fluffers, which are foam stickers or Velcro squares added to the corners of stiff pages to make them easier to grab and turn. Any book can be adapted with these fluffers, but its important to make sure the books that are modified can also be independently read by patrons. Turning regular texts into adapted books will not only round out your librarys collection, but it can also be a great makerspace project!

There are several quality resources online for ready-made adapted books. The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College has a great database and is constantly adding new books, as well as taking submissions! The books are available as Powerpoint slides, so they could be shown on a big screen during a program, but are also downloadable as PDFs that can be printed, bound, and added to the librarys collection. Most books that have already been adapted are picture books, but there are quite a few for different age levels. Middle grade novels like Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary and the Al Capone books by Gennifer Choldenko have been adapted. There are also some higher level books like Beowulf, or A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens.

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Serving Teens with Disabilities

On Saturday, June 25, I will be hosting a YALSA-sponsored program during the ALA Annual Conference about serving teens with disabilities. I am looking for a few good presenters who are interested in joining me and sharing their stories with the greater, teen-serving library community about how they are currently serving young people with disabilities in their public or school libraries with special programs, adapted services, or initiatives developed specifically to help foster a community of inclusion. If you are already planning to attend ALA Annual in New Orleans and are interested in possibly being a part of this workshop (see description below), please email me as soon as possible. In addition to including your name, title, and contact information in the email, please send me a brief description about how you are working with teens with disabilities. Continue reading

YA Lit Symposium: Some Post-Conference Reflections

There’ve been some great summaries of sessions at the 2010 YA Lit Symposium here, and I’ve written in detail about all of the sessions I attended on my own blog, but now that I’ve had some time to process everything I heard and talked about over the weekend and what I’ve read about the symposium since then, I thought I’d share some of my overall impressions from the entire conference here to continue the discussion.

One of of the themes I saw come up across multiple sessions was that reading allows us to vicariously experience things that are not part of our own lived experience, so reading books about people who are different from us helps educate us, allows us to test our values, and de-Others people like the character. In “Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup: YA Lit and Disability Diversity: How Far Have We Come?” the presenters mentioned that for a lot of teens, reading a book about a person with disabilities may be their first experience with disability. Making sure that portrayal is balanced rather than stereotypical and that the character’s disability isn’t the primary problem in the story gives teens a more accurate portrayal of what people with disabilities can be like–that is, that people with disabilities are people, too. Continue reading

YA Literature Symposium — Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup

The YA Literature Symposium is quickly approaching! Have you registered yet? The list of programs with times is now available.

The featured program this week/today is:

Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup: Young Adult Literature and Disability Diversity: How Far Have We Come?

Today’s teens are likely to have friends and classmates with disabilities. Young adult literature increasingly reflects the diverse identities found among today’s teens, and scaffolds the social beliefs they hold about people with disabilities, by including positive portrayals of characters with disabilities. Session participants will critically examine how changing social beliefs about disability are reflected in historical through contemporary fiction and nonfiction YA lit and explore methods to promote acceptance of diversity through the genre. Participants will be able to apply this knowledge when selecting and teaching YA lit. Speakers are Dr. Heather Garrison, Dr. Katherine Schneider, and author Terry Trueman.

The interview with Drs. Heather Garrison and Katherine Schneider is available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.