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Inclusive versions of popular picture books to reach more children who receive social care support

News / Sat 9th Dec 2023 at 01:27pm

INCLUSIVE versions of popular picture books to reach more children who receive social care support

Symbol editions of Essex County Council’s popular We Care, You Share series published for children with communication needs or disabilities.

New inclusive versions of a children’s picture book series for children receiving support from social care have been published by Essex County Council.

Working with Widgit, the council has released symbol versions of its popular We Care, You Share series.

They will offer an inclusive reading experience, utilising visual symbols to convey the stories for children with communication needs or disabilities.

We Care, You Share is a collection of children’s books. Developed with children and young people, the books were written by author James Henry and illustrated by Valeria Valenza.

In the books, friendly characters take young readers on different journeys to explore difficult subjects.

They help children to feel less isolated, encourage them to have honest conversations with adults and educate them to better understand the diversity in families.

The new symbol versions of the books will ensure children with disabilities and their families can benefit from the stories, which relate to subjects like entering care, sibling separation, adoption and social care support.

Councillor Beverley Egan, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Year’s, said: “We want our children’s services to be as inclusive as possible. This is particularly important as we marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Sunday (3 December).

“The new symbol versions of our We Care, You Share series will help empower children with disabilities and their families, ensuring they feel heard and supported.

“They will also serve as valuable educational tools. Teachers, professionals and care givers will be able to use these books to promote learning and inclusivity within their settings, benefitting young people with extra needs across Essex and beyond.

“I am incredibly excited to see that more children will be able to benefit from our much-loved picture books, and look forward to seeing the impact they make with families.”

The symbol versions of the We Care, You Share series will be distributed to children and families over the coming months.

The We Share, You Care books were co-developed with children and young people. James Henry, the children’s television writer, worked closely with the children and young people to explore their experiences and the books have been beautifully illustrated by Valeria Valenza. The five book collection explores the following topics:

Having a social worker (Koala and Panda)
Living with family members who are not parents (Little Robot’s School Play)
Coming into care (A New House for Little Mouse)
Reunification and sibling separation (Looking after Little)
Adoption and living with a new family (Dino and Bun)
To find out more about how the collection is being used by practitioners as a direct work tool and how it is being delivered in Essex schools with curriculum resources, email [email protected].

International Day of Persons with Disabilities took place on Sunday (3 December). The day provides an opportunity to shed light on the challenges faced by people with disabilities and those that care for them, and to foster inclusivity within communities.

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