Ep. 39: Inclusive Children’s Books w/ Macy Gilson, Megan DeJarnett, and Jessica Parham

 

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Summary

Inclusion: What does it mean to you? If you’re in the same parenting corner I am, it probably means a whole lot. What would we give to create a more inclusive and loving world for our children?

There are many ways of doing that, and one of the most effective ways is in children’s literature. So many foundations for our lives were laid as little children peering at books read to us by our parents.

In this episode, authors Macy Gilson, Jessica Parham, and Megan DeJarnett share their inspiration behind their inclusive children’s books. We talk about the importance of inclusion and love, and how we can bring these conversations outside of our hidden world of disability and special needs as we gift others in our communities these books and others like them.

 

 

 

 
My Thoughts

Inclusion: What does it mean to you? If you’re in the same parenting corner I am, it probably means a whole lot. What would we give to create a more inclusive and loving world for our children?

There are many ways of doing that, and one of the most effective ways is in children’s literature. So much of the foundation of our lives were laid as we were little children peering at books read to us by our parents.

In this episode, authors Macy Gilson, Jessica Parham, and Megan DeJarnett share their inspiration behind their inclusive children’s books. We talk about the importance of inclusion and love, and how we can bring these conversations outside of our hidden world of disability and special needs.

Originally as I dreamt up this episode, I pictured it staying within our hidden world. The idea of the episode being primarily for others who don’t think twice about creating a more disability-inclusive world hadn’t occurred to me. But as I recorded with Macy Gilson, author of Kindness is Golden, she brought up the need to get this message outside of our bubble.

The truth of that hit me and helped me shift the focus of the episode altogether.

These books need to find their ways into homes all over the country and all over the world. They need to fill libraries and encourage families to have the conversations that illicit inclusion of all people and not fear their differences but embrace them.

With this novel and yet obvious idea introduced to me, I gifted the adorable and inclusive book When Charley Met Emma to two of my nephews for our Christmas book gift-exchange.

I felt a little nervous that they would turn up their noses at a book like that and wish they instead had a dinosaur book or a book about space.

Well, they didn’t publicly reject them, nor did they seem very excited, but I still felt thrill at knowing those books are now circulating in their homes, a help for their parents to chat about differences and similarities and kindness.

I’m totally on board now to make these beautiful books my go-to for gifting. And I hope you are, too!

Another awesome way to get these important messages into homes outside our bubble is through public libraries. Most libraries have purchase requests available on their websites where you can fill out information on a book you want them to carry.

I did this myself in preparation for this episode for each of the books talked about, and it was so fun. I love to envision these books finding their ways into homes all over our city and making the world a bit better one book at a time.

Our home library is also growing with these titles. It’s important to me that my own little brood be well-versed in inclusion and they have already proved to be great at fostering these conversations.

And it’s also important for Kimball to see himself in the books we read with him.

Because of the rareness of several of his birth defects, he’s not necessarily seeing kids with the same devices and differences he has, but he’s seeing characters beyond the cookie-cutter versions that are predominant throughout children’s books.

The other night, I was reading a said cookie-cutter board book by Leslie Patricelli with Kimball. He pointed at his ears and said, “Hearing aids!” Well, there were clearly no hearing aids or any other difference going on with this character, and I felt a pang. I felt a drive to invite even more books into our home for him to relate with. In the meantime, it’s nothing a little ink can’t fix.

So yes, inclusive children’s books are where it’s at.

They need to fill libraries.

They need to fill homes.

They are key in creating a more inclusive and loving world, and that happens one home, one story, and one conversation at a time.

 

 

 

 

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