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Special People, Special Ways Hardcover – March 1, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-Maguire's attempt to generate sympathy and understanding for physically and mentally challenged individuals fails. In stilted verse, the author details various disabilities and emphasizes that "special" people need love and acceptance, too. The wording and rhymes in the text are often awkward: "Creams flow from small tubes/To soothe where it aches,/And many seek cures/For jitters and shakes." By portraying children with every imaginable handicap or infirmity including blindness, deafness, myopia, paralysis, and obesity, Bailey has diminished the effectiveness of the message. The chubby cartoon characters with oversized heads and plastered-on smiles are irritating rather than endearing. While the message is a worthy one, the delivery is unsuccessful on every level.
Esther C. Ball, Carver Elementary School, Newport News, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Special People, Special Ways presents a positive image of persons with disabilities. It shares the message that even though each of us may have something different about us, we share many commonalties. Coupled with the colorful illustrations, the book conveys the message that although painful at times, being different can also be glorious. -- Gerald J. Hime, Past President, Council for Exceptional Children
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I originally purchased this book when our daughter was first diagnosed with her muscle disease at age 2. 6 years later this book still connects to our hearts! She is in a wheelchair, has a service dog & we are in no way offended by the term "special needs". I want to teach all my children to "be helpful to all, as you would a good friend, since the hurts that we feel are not easy to mend." I truly believe this book has helped our friend's children understand our daughter's needs better.
My daughter has often identified with the page of a boy in the hospital room with a scared face that says "creams flow from small tubes to soothe where it aches, and many seek cures for jitters & shakes".
And my other daughter is able to understand her big sister a little better with the page that says "there are those who are fed or helped to get dressed. But everyone's proud, having given their best" (she now helps her sister put her shoes on, gets her water, etc).
But my absolute favorite thing about this book is that it helps my daughter with special needs be PROUD of who she is "All people shine, as jewels in a chest. Born with our gifts, each person is blessed" (we usually then talk about all our gifts we each have).
If you're on the fence with purchasing this book, I will leave you with one last poem from the book
"We help when we can, should someone need aid; giving and taking bring wonder in trade.
Share a joke or a dream. Make someone feel good. We need laughter, hugs, and to be understood."
As a teacher, I would definitely use this book in my classroom to introduce young children to people with disabilities, due to its simplicity, I feel that children would be able to easily understand that some children are "special" and may need to do things differently. Whether or not I had a student in my classroom with a disability, I would still read this book to my young students to introduce diversity to them and help them understand that everyone is different and special, whether you have a disability or not. I feel that this book would help children to feel more comfortable around classmates and other children with disabilities.