3 Fantastic Books and 3 Fantastic Shows to Watch with Children this Month
Today’s authors are writing for a broadening array of young readers, breaching topics and conversations that many parents may hesitate to initiate. We’ve perused our online libraries and found 3 must-reads for special ed students and their families. Here are our picks:
I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont
An excellent read for children of all abilities, I Like Myself teaches kids about the importance of self-love. The story’s protagonist acknowledges her own physical imperfections, but repeats a fun, rhyming mantra of self-confidence. Beaumont’s heroine identifies her own positive attributes and touts them with pride. She encourages readers to embrace their flaws and accept themselves as they are.
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Kevin Henkes tells the story of a little mouse named Wemberly who struggles with a number of daily phobias, both rational and absurd: “spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator.” One day, Wemberly is faced with her most daunting prospect yet… the first day of school! After navigating through her anxiety, Wemberly meets kids with similar fears and learns to share her experiences. Eventually, she has so much fun at school that she forgets to worry at all. We love this book because it teaches an important lesson about mental health. Wemberly encourages kids to face their fears despite discomfort and anxiety.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete & Ryan Elizabeth Peete
This book is written from the perspective of Charlie’s twin sister, Callie. Although Charlie and Callie have a lot of things in common, they share one key difference: Charlie is autistic and Callie is not. Throughout the story, Callie explains that her autistic twin is just like any other boy: one with his own set of challenges and strengths. We love this book because it was written by actress and autism advocate Holly Robinson Peete. She and her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, modeled the story after Holly’s other 10-year-old son, who is autistic. My Brother Charlie speaks from the heart and is an excellent read for any family.
With multiple streaming services to choose from, often in addition to YouTube Kids and cable networks, parents may feel overwhelmed when trying to pick the right shows for their special-needs children. The Solterra Academy team has compiled a list of our top 3 shows with our unique student population in mind:
True and the Rainbow Kingdom
Set in a colorful, whimsical world called the Rainbow Kingdom, True is an 8-year-old girl who harnesses the power of a mystical Wishing Tree to solve problems. The animation is colorful and lively, and will keep kids of any age entertained. We love this show because it incorporates calm, creative thinking. When True visits the Wishing Tree, she and her friends take a deep breath to calmly express their troubles. Once they have sorted through the facts of the situation, the Wishing Tree gives True little helpers, or “wishes,” to help in her mission. We appreciate the writers’ emphasis on anxiety prevention and empathy.
Paprika is a show about Stan and Olivia, two little twin tigers who embark on vibrant, silly adventures with their neighborhood friends. Stan uses a wheelchair, but he navigates the world in much the same way as his twin sister (although all of the show’s environments are wheelchair-accessible). Stan is the more athletic of the two twins, and although both have their different interests, they use empathy to create fun experiences together. One particular episode, The Space Shuttle, addresses Stan’s phobia of space. While Olivia is excited to take off in her new make-believe spaceship, Stan prefers to stay at mission control. Olivia realizes that respecting her twin’s boundaries will make everyone happy.
Produced by a studio in Northern Ireland, Pablo explores the rich inner world of a nonverbal autistic boy. Although he communicates differently than the adults around him, Pablo’s team of imaginary friends all possess similarly unique attributes: one of his friends is a bird who flaps her wings. Llama only communicates through repeating the words of others, while Mouse is very sensitive to loud noises or crowded spaces. By drawing his inner world on paper, Pablo conveys his real-world problems to his mother, who is quick to help. We love this show because it is animated and sound-edited specifically for autistic children, maintaining an even volume and keeping flashy, stressful scenes to a minimum.