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Learn More About Down Syndrome

This year’s theme for World Down Syndrome Day is the right to happiness and well-being for people with Down syndrome.

Help create a culture of increased diversity and integration in society, school and work by learning more about what Down Syndrome is, and what everyday life is like for those who live with it:


Down Syndrome Parenting 101
by Natalie Hale

Offers realistic wisdom and support concerning a host of important issues that parents may confront during their child’s lifespan, gleaned from Hale’s personal and professional experiences raising a son, now an adult, and 20 years spent tutoring children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome.



We’ll Paint the Octopus Red
by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

For ages 3-6. Emma and her father discuss what they will do when the new baby arrives, but they adjust their expectations when he is born with Down syndrome, and they realize he can still do everything they planned with their help. Includes a question-and-answer section at the end, written at a child’s level, explaining what Down syndrome is, why some babies have it, and why parents may feel sad when the baby is born.



Life with a Superhero
by Kathryn U. Hulings

When Kathryn Hulings adopted Michael as an infant, she could not have known that he would save her life when she became gravely ill and was left forever physically compromised. Her story delights in how Michael’s life and hers, while both marked by difference and challenge, are forever intertwined in celebration and laughter.



Free as a Bird
by Gina McMurchy-Barber

For older teens and adults. A fictional first-person narrative, set at the real Woodlands School British Columbia, between 1965 and 1996. Following the death of her grandmother, eight-year-old Ruby Jean, who has Down syndrome, is left at an institution for the mentally delayed. Problems abound: locked doors and a lack of privacy confound her, and she is molested by some of the staff; eventually, though, she receives life-skills training, is placed with an elderly couple, and finds employment at a sheltered workshop. After a mix-up leads her to believe she will be returned to Woodlands, she runs away, finding refuge among the homeless.



I Can, Can You?
by Marjorie W. Pitzer

Board book. Come along with these babies and toddlers with Down syndrome as they discover their world and enjoy new experiences.


Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose
by Susan Campbell

Chapter book for middle grades. Pringle, the daughter of a wealthy Scranton coal-mining family, learns that her parents have died in a carriage accident, and she and her brother Gideon are left in the care of cruel relatives. Rather than submit to abuse, and worried that Gideon, who has Down syndrome, will be institutionalized, Pringle and her brother flee to Chicago in hopes of independence and a future opportunity to access her inheritance.



Bloom: A Memoir
by Kelle Hampton

Recounts the author’s first year with her newborn daughter Nella, who has Down syndrome, and her own journey of transformation as she realized that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift.




by Cecilia Galante

Chapter book for middle grades. When Mom accepts a new job in Riverside Heights, 10-year-old Lily must cope with living in a bigger city, missing her best friend, and a bully at her new school. She accepts a part-time job at a neighborhood pet store where she meets Nate, an adult with Down syndrome who helps her to rescue three iguana eggs.



Teaching Children with Down Syndrome About Their Bodies, Boundaries and Sexuality
by Terri Couwenhoven

Drawing on her background as both a sexual educator and mother of a child with Down syndrome, the author blends factual information with practical ideas for teaching children with Down syndrome about their bodies, puberty, and sexuality. She also explains why it’s so important to begin early in the life of a child to deal with issues such as hygiene, emotional and physical boundaries, privacy, and what makes for healthy relationships.



Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic
by Martha Beck

When success-obsessed Martha and John’s unborn son was diagnosed with Down syndrome, everyone warned them that keeping the baby would mean never achieving their carefully crafted goals. Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened, and by the time Adam was born Martha and John were propelled into a world in which they were forced to redefine everything of value to them, put all their faith in miracles, and trust that they could fly without a net.



Dead Ends
by Erin Jade Lange

For older teens and adults. When Dane, a bully, refuses to hit Billy D because he has Down Syndrome, Billy takes that as a sign of friendship and enlists Dane’s help in solving riddles left in an atlas by his missing father, sending the pair on a risky adventure.



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