Sunday, May 31, 2015

Top 5 Books for New Parents...and oldies too.....

I enjoyed putting myself into the shoes of new parents to a baby with Down Syndrome yesterday. I didn't enjoy the fear and pain that I know they must be feeling.... but I passed on details of Shamptons and my facebook page - and then I had a step through time of each - just scanning through each wondering how they might appear to my new parents.

There were so many wonderful memories. Gorgeous kids and happy times. Even some video capturing the twins when they were much littler than now. I hope that they bring hope and reassuranceas well as a dose of reality to anyone who is just coming to terms with a diagnosis.

Then I started to think of the books I'd recommend.... Here's my Top 5:

Three Butterflies
Conny Wenk Schmetterlingszauder

I LOVE this one. My favourite is the three friends painting toenails...It's a simple tale of childhood. Beautiful.

In 2004 not long after the twins were born I discovered the world of blogging. One of my favourite blogs was Rebecca Phong's Always Chaos Around Here. I remember that her blog was a hub from which I could connect with many others who like me were not far along their parenting journeys with their children with DS. I remember when Kathryn Lynard Soper put out the call fro contributions to a book - a collection of our stories. I was tempted but not far enough along this journey or tech savvy enough to sign up for it. Gifts 1 Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives has stories by so many of those bloggy comrades. 

I remember my excitement when my copy arrived. This classic was followed by Gifts 2 also enjoyable and there is currently an Australian version Now I See out. I did offer a contribution to that one but didn't make the cut because they had plenty of entries - a lovely reminder that you are not alone on this journey. I'll try and find my draft contribution - it was about play - and make another post of it if I can.

Those 2 were easy picks.... the next three books for the journey....

Roadmap to Holland by Jennifer Graf Groneberg

Jen's blog was called Pinwheels. She is a talented writer and Roadmap was a lovely story to read. Today there is also Kathryn Lynard Soper's The Year My Son and I were Born, Kelle Hampton's Bloom, Dear Dr Fields (an Australian one) by Pat Daniels and Tuesday's Child by Kathy Evans just to name a few...

I have to Include Greater Expectations by Jan Gothard - it's great. Well researched easy to read and Australian to boot. The medical chapter is the best I have read so if you are getting the bejesus scared out of you with the medicalisation of a diagnosis of Down Syndrome - this chapter is worth checking out.

There are also some good everyday clinical ones such as Understanding Down Syndrome by Cliff Cunningham and Down Syndrome the Facts by Mark Selikowitz. I always have time for a book edited or linked to Siegfried M Peuschel (such as Adults with Down Syndrome) too.

And finally there are a growing number of books written with characters who have DS in them or are actually written by people with DS such as Count Us In written by Jason Kingsley and Mitchell Levitz (both of whom have DS), Nina Rose and the Dancing Prince by Sandra Wise....but because it has a special spot in my journey I have to choose Kim Edwards Memory Keepers Daughter from this group. I pick it for sentimental reasons - yes it has twins in it - one with DS the other 'typical'....the story line if you don't know revolves around the separation of these twins at birth....and the effect that decision (and the secrecy of it) has on all the characters. I especially love the way Edwards portrays and indeed repairs the relationship between the twins when they finally learn about each other and are reunited towards the end of the story. I also like that it is a book that stretches beyond the disability world of Down is much more about the characters, their relationships and the fateful things that shape them/us, the ripple effects and consequences that are the path their/our lives take....a good read, also made into a movie. Not such a far fetched story line either if you recall the high profile case of Baby Gammy.

And then if I was to stretch the list to 6 - there is Fasten Your Seatbelt and The View from Their Shoes - books written for siblings of kids with a disability....

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