We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, and other Down syndrome resources

In this picture book by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, six-year-old Emma is getting used to the idea of having a new baby brother or sister. First she isn’t sure it will be very fun, but then she and her dad think of all sorts of fun things Emma will be able to teach her new sibling, like painting an octopus at the art festival and flying in a plane to see Aunt Wendy.  When baby Isaac is born, Emma’s father explains that her new brother has been “born with something called Down syndrome.”  Emma is sad and starts going back through the list of all the things she wanted to do with her brother.  Her father gently tells her after each one that, in fact, Isaac should be able to do all these things, with her help. When Emma meets Isaac, she whispers in his baby powder scented ear, “I’ll show you how to paint the octopus, Isaac, and I think we’ll paint it red.”  This beautiful story may open communication for children who have a brother or sister with down syndrome.  Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters by Susan Levine is also available at the library and is full of information and advice for children who are a little older, including kids who have an older sibling with Down syndrome.  The library recently received a donation of several books on this topic from the Flint Hills Down Syndrome Family Group and the family of Dalton Goff, including Down Syndrome Parenting 101 and Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome, both shelved in the children’s room “Parents Shelf” section.  My personal favorite resource on the topic is the blog of a former MPL children’s librarian, Courtney Heigele, who writes about her two children with Down syndrome, nicknamed Pudge and Biggie, and the third recent addition to the family, Effie.  Courtney is a down to earth mom with an enormous heart and sense of humor.


Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Parents

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