“A Bird Will Soar” and “The Words in my Hands” are among the winners of this year’s Schneider Family Book Awards. (Penguin Random House; Annick Press)
New children’s books about children with autism, visual impairment and other disabilities are recognized alongside high honors like the Newbery and Caldecott Medals.
Three winners and five winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards were announced this week by the American Library Association.
The awards are given to works that “depict emotional, mental or physical disability as part of a full life, not something to be pitied about”. They are awarded annually to authors and illustrators of books targeting young children, middle years and teens.
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In the young children’s category, the winning book is ‘My City Speaks’, which gives the perspective of a young girl with a visual impairment as she and her father learn about their city. The honor books are “A Walk in the Words”, about a boy who has difficulty reading, and “A Sky-Blue Bench”, about a girl with a prosthetic leg.
The Middle Years winner is “A Bird Will Soar,” which uses poetry and science to tell the story of an autistic boy who loves birds and learns to help his family, an injured bird, and himself. Honor books for this age group are ‘Stuntboy, in the Meantime’ about a boy with anxiety and ‘A Kind of Spark’ about an autistic girl who wants a memorial for the witch trials that took place. in his city.
The teenage prize goes to “The Words in my Hands”, which focuses on a teenage girl who is deaf and searches for her identity through art and activism. The book of honor in this category is “A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome”, a memoir about living with a rare disease that causes facial disfigurement.
Winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards each receive $5,000 and a framed plaque.
Separately, the Dolly Gray Prize, which recognizes books for children or young adults that authentically portray autism and developmental disabilities, was also awarded this week by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Division of Council for Exceptional Children’s.
The winner of this award is “Planet Earth is Blue” about a girl who is non-verbal. “Dancing with Daddy,” which centers on a girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, is the picture book winner.