[Originally posted on April 10, 2012 here]
Meet Annie by Heather J. Scharlau-Hollis
In this short and sweet book aimed at young children, we meet Annie who is just like you and me in all the ways that count to little kids: she likes to play with her toys, she likes to splash around in her swimming pool, and she sometimes gets in trouble. But Annie is also a little bit different – she has Down syndrome. Although the book doesn’t explain what Down syndrome is, it touches on the fact that Annie looks a little bit different and learns a little bit differently, and that everyone is a little bit different in their own way, and those differences make us who we are. My favorite aspect of the book is how the author invites and encourages its audience to identity with Annie by asking a question at the end of each page:
“Sometimes my zipper doesn’t zip right. I ask Dad for help. Do you ever need help?”
“Sometimes I cry when I get scared. Do you ever get scared?”
Encouraging empathy and compassion without resorting to condescension or stereotypes, this is a wonderful book that should have a place on everyone’s bookshelf who is touched by a child with Down syndrome.