We are excited to share some amazing children's books that feature characters with Down syndrome! We know how important it is for children to see themselves and their peers represented in the books they read. That's why we've put together a list of inclusive books that celebrate diversity and promote acceptance and understanding of individuals with Down syndrome.
As a business that employs adults with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, we are committed to promoting inclusivity in all aspects of our work, including in the books we recommend. We hope this list will be helpful for parents, caregivers, and educators looking to add diverse and inclusive literature to their children's bookshelves.
Or, keep reading for our 7 top book recs!
(1) Different: A Great Thing to Be!
by Heather Avis
This children's book celebrates diversity and teaches children the importance of embracing differences. Through colorful illustrations and easy-to-understand language, Avis shares the story of her family, including the star of the book, Macy, who has Down syndrome.
She shows young readers that everyone is unique and special in their own way, and that these differences should be celebrated rather than feared or excluded. The book encourages children to be kind, compassionate, and accepting towards those who may be different from them, and to recognize the value that diversity brings to our world. Ultimately, Different, A Great Thing to Be promotes a message of inclusivity and belonging for all children!
(2) Best Buddies
by Lynn Plourde
Best Buddies is another heartwarming children's book- this one tells the story of a young boy with Down syndrome and his loyal dog who has been his best friend since birth. When the boy starts school for the first time, the pair have to learn how to be apart (and they come up with a creative plan!).
Through its touching storyline and beautiful illustrations, Best Buddies shows children the true meaning of friendship and the power of unconditional love, inspiring them to see beyond physical differences and embrace the uniqueness of every individual. It also serves as a great guide to helping prepare young readers for their own first day of school.
(3) Sam's Top Secret Journal
by Dr. Sean Adelman
Perfect for middle-school readers, this chapter book is the first in a series, all featuring a main character with Down syndrome.
The series follows the adventures of a young girl named Sam who is an aspiring detective and writer. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from her diary, and then follows her as she goes to school and interacts with her peers.
Throughout the book, Sam demonstrates her intelligence, resourcefulness, and determination as she faces challenges and solves puzzles. Along the way, she learns important lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and the value of keeping an open mind.
With its engaging storyline and relatable characters, Sam's Top Secret Journal is a fun and educational book for young readers. The series encourages children to explore their own interests and to use their imaginations to solve problems and make a difference in the world around them.
(4) A Storm of Strawberries
by Jo Cotterill
A Storm of Strawberries is a chapter book about family, friendship, and forgiveness. The story revolves around Darby, a young girl with Down syndrome who lives with her grandfather on a strawberry farm. Darby's grandfather is struggling with memory loss, and the farm is in danger of being sold to a developer.
To save the farm, Darby comes up with the idea of hosting a strawberry festival to raise money. She enlists the help of her friends and the community, but things don't go as smoothly as planned. A storm hits on the day of the festival, and the farm is flooded. However, Darby and her friends don't give up, and they manage to save the day with their quick thinking and hard work.
This is a touching and engaging story that teaches valuable lessons about perseverance, forgiveness, and the power of community. It's a perfect book for children aged 8-12 who enjoy stories about family and friendship.
(5) Hannah's Down Syndrome Superpowers
by Lori Yarborough
This short picture book celebrates the unique abilities and talents of children with Down Syndrome. The book follows the story of Hannah, a young girl with Down Syndrome who discovers her own special abilities.
The story begins with Hannah's birth, and her parents' initial worries about raising a child with special needs. However, as Hannah grows up, her parents realize that she is a gift and that she has her own special talents that make her unique. Hannah's special abilities include singing beautifully, dancing gracefully, and making people laugh with her jokes.
The book also explores some of the challenges that Hannah faces as a child with Down Syndrome. However, her parents always remind her that she has Down Syndrome superpowers and that she is loved just the way she is. Overall, this is an inspiring and uplifting book that promotes diversity, inclusion, and celebrates the unique talents and abilities of children with Down Syndrome. It's a great book for children aged 4-8 who want to learn more about acceptance and diversity.
(6) Rosie Loves Jack
by Mel Darbon
Rosie Loves Jack is a young adult novel that tells the story of Rosie, a sixteen-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who falls in love with Jack, a boy in her class. The story follows Rosie as she navigates the challenges of young love and adolescence while dealing with the stereotypes and stigmas associated with having Down Syndrome.
The novel is written in first-person perspective, allowing readers to connect with Rosie's thoughts and emotions as she experiences the ups and downs of her first relationship. The story begins with Rosie's family moving to Brighton, England, where she attends a new school and meets Jack. Rosie quickly develops feelings for Jack, but she is unsure if he feels the same way.
This is a touching and thought-provoking novel that challenges readers to rethink their perceptions of people with disabilities. It's a perfect book for young adults who enjoy romance and coming-of-age stories and want to learn more about the experiences of people with Down Syndrome.
(7) Daisy Woodworm Changes the World
by Melissa Hart
Daisy is a young student with a brother with Down syndrome named Sorrel. When her teacher assigns a project focused on changing the world, she unites with her prior enemy (also the most popular boy in class) to help her brother pursue his dream of starting a fashion YouTube Channel.
However, when Sorrel's online presence is discovered by Daisy's parents, they are devastated by the hateful comments from a cyberbully. To regain her family's trust and help Sorrel achieve his dream, Daisy must find her own unique and powerful voice and overcome her fear of public speaking.
Through Daisy's journey, the book addresses important themes such as cyberbullying, family dynamics, and the power of speaking up for oneself and others. With relatable characters, a heartwarming storyline, and valuable life lessons, Daisy Woodworm Changes the World is a great read for middle-grade readers who are navigating the challenges of growing up and finding their own voice.
(8) This is Ella
by Krista Ewart
This is Ella is a children's picture book written by Krista Ewart. The book is a celebration of diversity and encourages children to embrace their unique qualities and talents.
The story follows Ella, a young girl who loves to explore and learn new things. Ella is different from some of the other children in her class, but she embraces her differences and uses them to express herself in creative ways. She has a passion for music and loves to sing, dance and play instruments.
As Ella goes through her day, the reader is introduced to her diverse group of friends and family members, each with their own unique interests and abilities. The book celebrates the beauty of individuality and promotes the idea that we are all special and have something unique to offer.
Through simple, colorful illustrations and relatable storytelling, this book encourages children to be proud of who they are and to appreciate the differences in others. The book sends a positive message of inclusion and diversity, making it a valuable addition to any child's bookshelf.
(9) Getting Ready for School with Tyler
by Jenna Reisert
Join Tyler as he uses a picture chart to help him independently get ready for school. This book for young readers (approx. 4-8) promotes diversity, while also helping children prepare for their own school journeys. Questions are sprinkled in throughout to facilitate conversation, and the picture chart on each page helps readers learn how to use one.
This book is also available for purchase in our shop and comes with a companion printable and pictures to make your own picture chart/ visual schedule!
Have other recommendations? We'd love to hear about them. Either way, come find us over on instagram (@our.world.designs) where we share our products and behind the scenes content focused on promoting inclusion. Or, browse our website to learn more about our mission and our employees.
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