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Six Great Kid's Books to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day, and people all over the world are coming together to raise awareness for Down Syndrome. 

Down Syndrome has long been a difficult and even taboo subject, but initiatives like World Down Syndrome Day hope to bring light to the area, highlighting the real struggles but also the  happiness that comes from embracing Down Syndrome in our culture.

The events today hope to raise awareness to help increase funding into medical research and providing support for people with Down Syndrome. But on a wider level they also hope to be a catalyst for a change in attitudes. Many parents of children with Down Syndrome say that when they received the diagnosis, it was delivered with an apology, and as something to be avoided. However, more and more parents are coming forward to share their stories of caring for children with Down Syndrome, to show that they, their children, and their wider families have wonderfully rewarding and joyful lives.

This year has seen a big movement under the banner of #wouldntchangeathing which encapsulates this joyful approach Down Syndrome. 

Wouldn't Change a Thing: 50 Mums | 50 Kids | 1 Extra Chromosome

Having a child with Down Syndrome has always been both full of struggle and joy, but now more than ever, with medical and lifestyle support, we have an opportunity to cherish and embrace those born with the syndrome.

Here are six great books for children to help them understand Down Syndrome and what it means to have it. These books hope to help children interact with, and understand anyone they might meet with Down Syndrome. Some of the books are specifically aimed at siblings, while others look at classmates and friends, or even just a general look at the many different types of people there are in the world. These books are fun and upbeat, encouraging children to accept others, and themselves.

We'll Paint the Octopus Red

As six-year-old Emma anticipates the birth of her new baby brother or sister, she vividly imagines all of the things they can do together. Emma feels ready to be a big sister! Then when the baby is born, her dad tells her that it's a boy and he has something called Down syndrome. Finally she asks, "If Isaac has this Down thing, then what can't he do?". Her dad thinks about it, then tells her that as long as they are patient with him, and help him when he needs it, there probably isn't anything Isaac can't do. In this touching story, Emma helps her father as much as he helps her to realise that Isaac is the baby they dreamed of. The book concludes with a set of commonly asked questions about Down syndrome with answers for children and how it might affect their sibling and family. For ages 3-7.

My Friend Isabelle

Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They both like to draw, dance, read, and play at the park. They both like to eat Cheerios. They both cry if their feelings are hurt. And, like most friends, they are also different from each other. Isabelle has Down syndrome. Charlie doesn't. Written by Isabelle's mother, this charming tale encourages readers to think about what makes a friendship special. My Friend Isabelle also opens the door for young children to talk about differences and the world around them. It's a wonderful story to read at bedtime or to share at school. Lively full color illustrations dovetail beautifully with the text to bring the simple story to life.

Be You Tiful Love, Sofia

"Poof! Then magic happened, from light inside my heart. They loved me and I learned, I am capable, kind and smart!" How do we inspire our children to know all the ways they can shine in this world, simply by being who they are? Be You Tiful, Sofia is the true story of Sofia Sanchez, a little girl with Down syndrome. Talking to you heart to heart, Sofia takes you on her personal journey of dreaming big and never giving up. Gorgeous full colour pictures illustrate her path from Eastern European Orphan to All American Girl. Sofia shows us every emotion, from sadness to happiness, loneliness to belonging, feeling fear to being brave. Most of all, she proves that being yourself is the best magic power of all. 

This Is Ella

Ella is a happy, fun-loving girl who is just starting school. She knows all of her letters, helps take care of her little sister, and enjoys riding her blue bike. Sometimes she has to practice sitting still. Ella loves to play and is a good friend.

Ella has Down syndrome. Though she might look a bit different and have trouble saying some words, she is more the same than different, and she wants to be accepted and included just like any other child.

In a simple, welcoming way, This is Ella teaches children about Down syndrome, inclusion, and friendship. The story is followed by information about Down syndrome, including helpful facts and explanations. This is Ella offers a perfect starting point for a conversation with children about difference in general, Down syndrome in particular, and the concepts of inclusion and friendship....

In My World

Mika is a nine-year-old girl that sees the world differently than anyone else. Even though she is going through what every girl may one-day face, fighting with her best friend and feeling like an outcast, she is not like every other girl. Her mother, Ava and brother, Javi stand by her side while Mika struggles endlessly to feel normal, when instead she must embrace her uniqueness.

Gabriella Llano and Tiziana Vazquez are fifteen–year-old cousins that live in Coral Gables, Florida with their families. They attend a local high school and have been involved with the Down Syndrome Association since its inception in 2006. This is their first novel.

You're All Kinds of Wonderful

Part of growing up is discovering--and embracing--what makes us unique. From different abilities to different personalities, we are all wonderfully made with our own bells and whistles. Once again, New York Times-bestselling author and artist Nancy Tillman takes a universal truth and makes it accessible for readers young and old. This is a wonderfully earnest and humorous book that celebrates humanity's many differences.

We're not all the same. Thank goodness we're not.

Life would be boring, and I mean... a lot 

And so, when we're born, we're supplied at the start 

with our own bells and whistles to set us apart.

 Think of your bells as the things you do best

things tucked away in your own treasure chest.

Image courtesy of Global Down Syndrome Foundation.


Editorial content writer at Bookwitty. Lives up to her name by having a housemate called Watson, but is still working on the violin-playing and crime-solving.


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