The new issue of our monthly newsletter, TES Extra for Special Needs (see www.tes.co.ukspecial_needs for details), includes an update on research on how children with disabilities feel about their portrayal (or, more often, absence) in children's books. There are encouraging signs in new books that are coming soon from authors and illustrators who took part in school workshops organised by Booktrust and funded by the Quentin Blake Award to gather children's views.
Joyce Dunbar and Jane Ray have collaborated on Moonbird, a picture book about a child born in a bubble who cannot hear or speak, to be published by Doubleday in July. Pippa Goodhart is working on a picture book for Egmont which includes disability in a story of a child lost in a department store.
Jackie Gay has already published Wist (Tindal Street Press). This story of travels, friendship, sisterhood and relationships also considers the physical and emotional effects of a missing limb. It was published for adults but will appeal to older teenagers. And look out for The Forbidden Room by Sarah Wray (Faber, September 2006). This first-time novel, an exciting mystery for 10-plus readers, also offers disability awareness and romance.
For Alex Strick, who will report on the research in April, the all-time favourite for portrayal of disability in picture books is Michael Foreman's The Seal Surfer (Andersen Press). To keep in touch with the Quentin Blake Award project, email AJStrick@aol.com.