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Updated by Stephanie Holland on Oct 21, 2014
Headline for Down syndrome in children's literature
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Down syndrome in children's literature

Here are 100 books that include a character that has Down syndrome, written for children and young adults. Inclusion in the list does not equal recommendation. In some cases they serve as a warning - these books may be in your child's school library!

Will You Be My Friend?: Marianne Marts

Will You Be My Friend? [Marianne Marts] Have you ever found yourself staring at someone in a store or restaurant who may act or look differently? We all have. Will You Be My Friend?

Russ and the Firehouse (Day with Russ): Janet Elizabeth Rickert, Pete McGahan: 9781890627171: Books

Russ, a five-year-old boy with Down syndrome, tags along with his Uncle Jerry, a fireman, during a day of work at a real firehouse. Captured in detail with vivid colour photographs, this story begins as Russ goes 'on duty' for the day. He helps inspect the fire equipment -- the axe, fire hydrant, flashlight, ladders, fire truck -- to make sure that it's all working OK. He also discovers that a very important job at the firehouse is keeping the equipment clean, so Russ and Uncle Jerry start scrubbing and rinsing. Even Sparky the Dalmatian gets a sudsy bath. After they're finished everything in the firehouse is sparkling -- except Russ, who's just a little bit wet.

Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise (Day with Russ): Janet Elizabeth Rickert, Pete McGahan: 9781890627164: B...

Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise offers the opportunity to talk about inclusion and disability awareness with young children who have a classmate, sibling, or friend with special-needs. But whether read just for fun or to introduce a deeper discussion about differences, this book is a delightful story young children can learn from and identify with. Reading age 3 to 7.

Russ and the Almost Perfect Day (Day with Russ): Janet Elizabeth Rickert, Pete McGahan: 9781890627188: Books

Russ is having an excellent day -- his Mom makes his favourite breakfast; he gets ready for school in time to catch the end of his favourite TV show; and he finds a 5-dollar bill on the way to school. It doesn't take long for Russ to decide to keep the money and treat himself and his friend Kevin to ice cream at lunch. Good things keep happening to Russ. He's invited to a birthday party; he rides a scooter during gym; and his science class visits a very cool exhibit of cold-blooded animals. After lunch, Russ and Kevin are standing in line for ice cream when they notice a girl who's crying. She's upset over losing the five dollars she'd brought to buy a special lunch that day. Uh-oh, think Kevin and Russ, could this be the same five dollars they found? And, just when they were about to take their first lick! Young readers will sympathise with Russ's difficult decision. Should he give the girl the money or not? Here's a clue: Russ continues to have an almost perfect day even though it doesn't include ice cream.

Big Brother Dustin: Alden R. Carter, Dan Young, Carol Carter: 9780807507155: Books

A boy with Down Syndrome helps his parents and grandparents get ready for the birth of his baby sister and chooses the perfect name for her.

Where's Chimpy by Berniece Rabe

Text and photographs show Misty, a little girl with Down's syndrome, and her father reviewing her day's activities in their search for her stuffed monkey.

We'll Paint the Octopus Red: Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, Pam Devito: 9781890627065: Books

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Emma isn't happy to learn that she will soon be a big sister. After talking with her father, however, she thinks of "at least a million things my new brother or sister could do with me," and she eagerly awaits her sibling's arrival.

I Like Berries, Do You?: Marjorie W. Pitzer: 9781606131831: Books

This lighthearted board book by the author of I Can, Can You? and My Up & Down & All Around Book features wonderful photographs of young children with Down syndrome enjoying a wide selection of healthful foods, from fruits and veggies to meats and snacks.
Simple, singsong questions--I like broccoli, do you?--invite participation by little ones (ages birth-4) as they anticipate and say the word for the food in each photograph. And when youngsters see kids just like themselves eating nutritious foods with different textures, temperatures, colors, tastes, and smells, they'll want to try them too!

I Like Berries, Do You? encourages a varied diet that can minimize potential sensory or oral-motor issues often associated with Down syndrome. Read it from cover to cover with your child, or tailor it to meet your child's specific dietary needs (GF/CF, non-allergenic).

Sam's Top Secret Journal: Book One - We Spy: Sean Adelman: 9781468126624: Books

"Sam is a middle school girl living a normal life-- except when she is occasionally bullied for the differences kids perceive in her. Sam has Down Syndrome. But Sam is just like any of her friends... Join Sam as she embarks on her first big adventure in this middle-grade mystery full of fun, suspense...and just the right amount of spying!"--P. 4 of cover.

47 Strings: Tessa's Special Code: Becky Carey, Carrie Stidwell O'Boyle, Bonnie Leick: 9780984924561: Books

An invaluable tool for parents looking to talk about Down syndrome with their children. The book describes, in easy-to-understand language and with sensitivity, some of the challenges baby Tessa's special "code" might bring - while never losing focus on the message that a family's love is the same for everyone. Sterling Lynk, Executive Director, Madison Area Down Syndrome Society (MADSS), Inc. Madison, Wisconsin

Colin Gets a Chance: Brian A. Beale: 9781434399861: Books

Colin Gets a Chance is an inspirational look into a day in the life of a special needs child and how the acts of a child's peers can have such a significant impact. Colin has Down syndrome. Colin Gets a Chance is based on the premise that children with Down syndrome and other special needs have so much to offer society if just given a chance. It's a book about awareness regarding a delicate subject many parents and teachers find challenging to discuss with their children. The story centers around Colin's baseball team and takes place on the day of the biggest game of the year. The bigger story is how Colin's teammates rally behind him to finally give him a chance, which is all Colin's ever wanted since the first day he put on his uniform. Not only is it a chance to play but, for Colin, it's a chance at life. Colin Gets a Chance is based on the author's son, Colin Beale. You'll be cheering for Colin from the time you open the book to the very last word. The best part about Colin Gets a Chance is that every illustration was completed by individuals with Down syndrome, which exemplifies just what these individuals can do if given a chance. This book is sure to open up the lines of communication with your children as they learn more about Down syndrome and how much these individuals are really like them; once they're given a chance.

Where Is Beau?: Suzanne Grinnell, Joshua Peter: 9781598586121: Books

Kara is a sweet little girl with Down's syndrome. She has a lot of friends, but her best friend is her dog, Beau. Kara and Beau love to play games together. Beau is a little mischievous which adds a lot to their fun. Children will delight in reading about the adventures of Kara and Beau as the learn and practice reading basic sight words. SUZANNE GRINNELL lives in her home town of Geneva, IL with her dog Beau. She has been a special education teacher for 6 years and currently works with children with learning disabilities in her private practice. She first wrote "Where is Beau" as a story for one of her students to help teach beginning sight words. She has just completed the second story for the Kara and Beau series and is looking forward to creating other adventures for the series. JOSHUA PETER is an illustration student at Northern Illinois University. He currently resides in DeKalb, IL.

Mighty Max: P.A. Hurley, Nicole Moens, Judy Laird Price: 9789078473084: Books

A story about a 2nd grade student with Down syndrome named Max. A student named Jack teases Max during reading class, which makes Max very sad. When the tides turn in gym class and Jack gets a taste of his own medicine by other classmates, Max helps him up and teaches him a lesson he will never forget.

Freddie's Super Summer

It s Freddie s very first time at summer camp and he s certain he won t enjoy it or make friends. But it isn t long before a boy called Jerry helps him to see otherwise! When a child with Down syndrome joins a mainstream school many children can find it difficult to understand a student that is somewhat different to them. While the story encourages other children to be mindful and patient of the differences that exist between them, the story s main focus to portray the many positive personality traits of a child with Down syndrome and shows how their inspiring and uplifting their contribution to a group can be.

My Friend Noah: Barbara Tarnow: 9781617778223: Books

Zac is startled by the actions of a kid in his first grade class. First Noah shakes his hand, and then he gives Zac a big hug! Zac soon learns that Noah talks a little differently too, and his teacher explains that Noah has Down's syndrome. Join author Barbara Tarnow in My Friend Noah, and learn that even though someone acts and talks differently, they can still be a wonderful friend.

Donovan and the Big Hole A Texas Adventure: Donna Davenport Nancy; Mulvihill: 9780982111154: Books

Shares the adventures of three friends as seen from the unique point of view of a fourteen year old boy named Donovan who happens to have been born with Down syndrome.

Meet Annie: Heather J. Scharlau- Hollis: 9781604621488: Books

Meet Annie is an adorable book written by Heather J. Scharlau-Hollis, who has a daughter with Down syndrome. Annie has Down syndrome and she describes all the way she is "just like you." This is an easy read book for kids and gets the message across that, "We need to understand that we are all different and those differences make us who we are."

Each page shows Annie doing or feeling something, and then has a question for the reader - I like how that engages the reader to think about things too. For instance one page says, "I love to play with my toys just like you. I like my balls and baby dolls best. What is your favorite toy?"

A Day With Makana: Kaylene K. Sheldon: 9780977349524: Books

A Day with Makana follows the daily activities of Makana, a young boy with Down Syndrome. In the story, children are encouraged to celebrate diverse learners and other children with special needs. It demonstrates that despite his impairment, Makana goes to school, learns, plays, and has fun like any other child.

My Name is Colin: . . . and this is who I am: Brian A. Beale: 9781452032986: Books

Colin is a kid born with Down syndrome. He is not the Down syndrome kid. In My Name is Colin...and this is who I am, author, Brian A. Beale writes about the all-important topic of people-first language and the significant impact our words have on others. He shows us that people with disabilities are so much more than just their diagnoses. They are people first and foremost and by simply being more aware and choosing to use people-first language, we can all become more sensitive and respectful to individuals with disabilities and their families. As a follow-up to his first children's book, Colin Gets a Chance, Brian A. Beale again raises up his son, Colin, as he continues his mission to promote and honor individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities. This time, he's chosen a subject of extreme importance to individuals with disabilities and those closest to them. People-first language is a new way of thinking that leads to a new way of talking about people with disabilities. It's such an easy, yet powerful, tool we can all use to show respect for everyone with a disability, recognizing all the wonderful things they can do. My Name is Colin...and this is who I am will get you thinking differently when referring to individuals with special needs. It provides a unique approach to parents and teachers in opening-up the lines of communication with their children regarding people-first language. As with Colin Gets a Chance, all the illustrations in My Name is Colin...and this is who I am were done by individuals with Down syndrome, truly exemplifying what they can do if just given a chance. Every inspiring illustration is a testament to the fact that these kids are so much more alike than different. They are so much more than their disability.

My brother fights Pirates....well kind of.: Missy Vaughn, Earl Musick, Jason Batt: 9781481932554: Books

My Brother Fights Pirates (Well...Kind Of) will be a great conversation starter for you and your family, opening the door to a broader discussion of the wonderful qualities that people with Down syndrome bring to a family.




Sebastian is told by his brother that if he spots 100 planes his wish will come true. Planes very rarely fly over Seb's house, so he sets off on an adventurous journey to the city, where he meets Jack, a city boy who helps him. Sebastian has Down's Syndrome, and a dream that comes true.

Being Billy PM Plus Chapter B Sapphire Set B

Billy, who has Down's Syndrome, has always been close to his older brother Andrew. But things change when Andrew goes to high school and does not want to spend as much time with Billy. Billy decides to find something he can do on his own, and wins the lead role in their school play. His success in the play leads to a role in a TV show and a reconciliation with Andrew.

Me, Hailey! (Turtle Books): Sheri Plucker: 9780944727508: Books

Me, Hailey! is a children's picturebook about Hailey, a girl with Down syndrome who can't wait to begin the adventure that is kindergarten. Her vibrant personality, infectious friendship, and kindness toward others bring her new friends. It is a wonderful and educational first day - the only problem is Hailey keeps losing her glasses! A heartwarming read-aloud book, ideal for teaching sympathy, tolerance, and value of a positive attitude to children.

A Special Day For Lucas: Kathie Mowrer Fields, Sheri Mowrer Lawrence: 9780979100802: Books

A Special Day For Lucas tells the story of Kathie Fields' grandson, Lucas Fields, who was born with Down syndrome in 1996. Lucas and his parents have faced many challenges, but he always loved being in the water and swimming. With the love of his family guiding and nurturing him, he transformed his passion for swimming into his greatest challenge yet. . . competing in the 2005 Special Olympics. The book is beautifully illustrated by Sheri Lawrence, the niece of the author. Sheri used actual photos from Luke's birth to 2005 when he first competed in the Special Olympics swimming in Hamilton Co. in Cincinnati. Lucas is Fields' son's first born. He and his parents, Jeff and Chris Fields, appeared in the 1996 video "Like Any Child" that was produced by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio.