In honor of February being Jewish Disability Awareness month, we are presenting the selections for this year's JDAM Reads, a selection of books that celebrate and explore life with disabilites. This year, the JDAM Reads Program recommends two adult reading books (Life, Animated and A Life Not With Standing), one book for older children (Wonder) and one book for younger children (Stork's Landing). Click here for a flyer to post at your location.
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, by Ron Suskind
Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter Ron Suskind writes of how his non-verbal autistic son Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies and turned them into a language to express love, loss, kinship. Acclaimed by parents of autistic children and adult autistics for "getting it right" and for demonstrating that listening to your autistic child can lead to positive results.
A Life Not With Standing, by Chava Willig Levy
As an eyewitness to — and survivor of — the polio saga and its ensuing hospitalizations, surgeries, and segregation, Chava Willig Levy writes to shatter stereotypes and affirm the rights of people with disabilities to manage their own lives and not be victimized by a prejudiced society.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
This novel tells the story of August Pullman and his journey from the sheltered world of home-schooling to the rougher world of middle school. Chromosomal abnormalities and illness have given him an appearance that shocks people, a reality that confronts him constantly. But his confidence and perseverance bring rewards.
Stork’s Landing, by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Israel has one of the largest populations of migrating birds — and in this story, one of them gets stuck in a net in the fish ponds on Maya’s kibbutz and can no longer fly. Maya names the stork who is hurt “Yaffa” and she and her dad figure out a way to first save Yaffa and then to make the accommodations that Yaffa needs to be part of a stork family. Maya embodies the value of kindness as she learns how to help this beautiful creature find a place in her community.
There is a PJ Library curriculum for this book; you can find it here.