As a parent raising a disabled child, I appreciate how the Down syndrome community has begun to reshape many of our stereotypes and lessen our fears surrounding disability. This precious community–both parents and individuals with Down syndrome–has shown us the good and the beautiful in differences. Here are some of my favorite books about Down syndrome. You will learn from these stories and be encouraged by the value of differences and disability.
Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
This memoir is about the pregnancy of a Harvard graduate student who chose to keep her baby with Down syndrome. She faced several opinionated academics who not only told her not to keep her baby, but judged her for it. It is very well written. It makes you laugh and it makes you cry.
[At Harvard] the attention goes to appearances: appearing successful, appearing smart, appearing utterly and absolutely unlike a retarded child.”
Why him? Why him? Why him? The hardest lesson I have ever had to learn is that I will never know the meaning of my children’s pain, and that I have neither the capacity nor the right to take it away from them.”
A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker
This is the story of a woman who discovers her daughter has Down syndrome at birth. A highly educated woman begins to understand the ways in which she is vulnerable and dependent, much like her daughter. Before, she though of herself as independent and self-sufficient. This is a story that will make you cry and it will make you incredibly proud.
Can she live a full life without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? I’m pretty sure she can. Can I live a full life without learning to cherish and welcome those in this world who are different from me? I’m pretty sure I can’t.”
The Angel Behind the Rocking Chair by Pamela Vrevedelt
Another memoir about the author’s child with Down syndrome. It read much like a blog–each chapter a different essay about finding hope in dark places. The author had so much to say about grieving and where God is in the midst of our pain. It was peppered with deep loss and abundant with grace and hope. I found this book encouraging on many levels.
None of us enjoy losses. Our world system conditions us to avoid loss at all costs. We don’t like to let go of something we treasure, love, value, or own. When we have to let go, it usually ends up with claw marks all over it.”
Please check these books out. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
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My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!