Mark speaks with Susan Clow, president of In The Picture, an organization devoted to “Putting disabled children In The Picture“, about disablism, the organization’s 10 guiding principles and the benefits and challenges of creating books which can be enjoyed by all children.
“So many children’s books are about unconditional love: GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU is the best known example. But what about the children who need that reassurance more than most – but are simply not there, not visible, not even in the picture? This initiative is to make sure that they are there – not necessarily as the star of the show – but incidentally, as part of the human tapestry. Twenty years ago ethnic minorities were similarly disregarded. That is unthinkable now.”
“I’m deaf myself and so is my son, so this is of particular concern to me. In 1985 I wrote a novel called MUNDO AND THE WEATHER CHILD. about the imaginary companion of a deaf child. It was runner up for the Guardian award but is long out of print. More recently I produced MOONBIRD , a picture book with Jane Ray.”
“I would like to offer some quotes from the letters I have received from deaf children:”
“Because this is my first time I have read a fairly tale about a hero who is deaf, I am thrilled to bits. I don’t feel left out. It sounds like we are equally important.” Catherine Grimley.
“We are deaf and we only know of two books with deaf heroes. It would be nice to have lots of books.” Nadeem Islam
“When I read a book with a deaf hero, I feel important as other people.” Pierre Francis.