new collection of books brings awareness to developmental disabilities
Children’s books dealing with developmental disabilities are not new, but the Harold B. Lee Library has a new collection that will provide greater access to these kinds of books.
A collection of children’s and juvenile books that include individuals with developmental disabilities is available in the HBLL, thanks to the work of BYU staff and individuals involved with the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award.
Tina Dyches, of BYU’s Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education, is the chair of the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award. The award honors authors and illustrators of books for children, adolescents and young adults that accurately and authentically portray individuals with developmental disabilities.
Dyches said the way individuals with developmental disabilities are portrayed in literature has really evolved and improved over the years.
“Authors are giving much more depth to characters with developmental disabilities than in the past,” Dyches said. “Instead of authors just including a kid with autism to make a story interesting, they include a kid who has wants and needs and desires and passions and interests like any other kid, and he just happens to have autism.”
Dyches said she uses books found through the Dolly Gray Award in her classes, but wanted a broader population to have access to them. Using a monetary stipend from the Alice Louise Reynolds Women-in-Scholarship award she received last year, Dyches said she decided to purchase books that the Dolly Gray Award has recognized and donate them to begin a special collection at BYU.
Rachel Wadham, education and juvenile literature librarian, said she has been involved with the process of acquiring the books within the award to be available through the BYU catalogue.
“I am very pleased with it,” Wadham said. “I think it will add a great depth to our collection.”
Wadham said the collection will eventually have every book that has been nominated for the Dolly Gray Award and will have more than 300 books. They will be available to BYU students as well as libraries with access to interlibrary loan.