Award Winning Children’s Books about the Disability Experience for 2018

by Cheryl Blinston

In February, the winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, John Newberry Medal, and other book awards were announced at the ALA Midwinter Conference. One award I follow is the Schneider Family Book Award for books that portray the disability experience. There are three categories, including awards for a book for younger children (usually a picture book), an award for a tween novel, and an award for a young adult book, all dealing with the disability experience.

Since our family has three children with special needs, this award is important to me. Finding good literature with characters my children can relate to is a priority. I have started reading the past Schneider Family Book Award winners and have been introduced to some amazing stories, such as When We Collided, As Brave As You, and Rain Reign.

Recently, I tried to prepare for this award by reading a couple of books that met the Schneider Family Book Award criteria. I read The Someday Birds and Hello, Universe.  I had hoped to read the winner before it was announced. Well, I guessed wrong about them being Schneider Family Book Award winners; however, Hello, Universe did win the John Newberry Medal. So can we count that as half right?

The Schneider Family Book Award winners for 2018 are on hold at my library and I’ll be picking them up as soon as they come in. They are as follows:

Schneider Young Children’s Book Award Winner

Silent Days, Silent Dreams written and illustrated by Allen Say

I was able to thumb through this book and it has the most hauntingly beautiful drawings. It is about James Castle, a man who was deaf, mute, and autistic, who never learned sign language or how to read or write. But he drew prolifically and left over 15,000 drawings.

Schneider Middle Grades Book Award Winner

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green

This book won the award for a middle-grade book. It deals with a young girl who is deaf. I’m excited to read it and share it with my children. It also deals with genealogy, which is one of my favorite pastimes.

Schneider Teen Book Award Winner

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

This book is the winner of the teen award. The Schneider Family Award made it a home run and chose a third book about the deaf experience. Julia is not only deaf, she is an artist as well.

About the Author

Cheryl Blinston is the mom of five adopted children, three of whom have special needs including autism, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, and common variable immune deficiency. Cheryl and her husband BJ started a blog to share the journey of parenting multiple children with unique needs. You can find them at

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