Resources to Help Children Understand Limb Loss
Reading encourages children’s imaginations to grow, and opens their world to new people, places and possibilities. Reading books about difficult concepts, such as limb difference, is a safe and familiar way to introduce children to the topic.
These books can help a child with limb difference have greater self-esteem and identify with characters that “look like me” or are “different like me.” Children can find encouragement to talk about their limb difference openly and answer questions from friends. Some books even help explain how to be fitted for a prosthesis. They can also be useful for easing fears that children often have about upcoming medical procedures or recovery for themselves, their friends or an adult in their life.
While each of these books is different, a shared theme is that people with limb loss are still just people and have a lot in common with others.
Some adults with limb loss visit classrooms and libraries for story time to help children learn about living with a disability, and what it is like to be an amputee. This is an opportunity to teach acceptance and to reinforce the old adage that “different is not bad.” Books often get kids talking and asking questions.
Most of the resources below can be purchased online by searching for the title or by ordering from your local bookseller. They may also be borrowed from the National Limb Loss Information Center. We ship to other libraries around the country. Call us to find out more about Interlibrary Loan at 888/AMP-KNOW (267-5669).
Amputeddy Goes Back to School / Jean Boelter and Katie Policani; illustrations by Marta Creswell. [Seattle: WA], Amputeddy Inc, [200-]. Todd goes back to school and learns that life will be OK. From the Amputeddy Web site: “These stories are based on real-life experiences of amputees. They are intended to be fun, to help amputees gain hope and confidence, and to educate the public about the thoughts, feelings, challenges and capabilities of amputees.”
Amputeddy Helps a Friend / Katie Policani and Jean Boelter; illustrations by Marta Creswell. [Seattle: WA], Amputeddy Inc, [200-]. A friend’s father loses an arm while overseas in the army.
Amputeddy Meets Nubby Bear / Katie Policani and Jean Boelter; illustrations by Marta Creswell. [Seattle: WA], Amputeddy Inc, [200-]. Todd shares experiences with a bear who was born with only part of her right arm.
Burgess and Marie Bear. Book 1, Beginnings / Josie Horvath and Mary Hovancsek; illustrated by Jenny Campbell. Cleveland, OH: 3 Women from Cleveland, c2007. ISBN: 978-0-9801593-0-1. The story of Burgess and Marie Bear is a heartwarming and enlightening story about a bear who wears an artificial leg. Burgess Bear is a congenital amputee.
Beginnings / Ben Herosian; illustrated by Melanie Ford Wilson. Winnipeg: Lilyfield and Co., c2003. From the series: Jungleville Tails: The Adventures of Bennett Bengal. ISBN 0-9734024-0-7. This is a story about being different, but realizing that the world we live in is a great place because of those differences. In the world of Jungleville, a small tiger, born without feet, causes great excitement.
The Cherry Blossom Kids and the Three-Legged Dog / written and illustrated by Yvette C. Ross Hebron, Harold H. Hebron. [Hayward, Calif.]: Steveedee; [Lancaster: Gazelle Drake Academic [distributor]], c2006. ISBN: 978-0-9774982-0-8. This is a story about children with disabilities. It tells how they adapt efficiently to their impairment(s), allowing them to function in the world and live productive lives.
Daniel’s Mom / Sandi Guida; illustrations by Fred Schmerling. In this short children’s story, Daniel is telling his class about his mother, who had an amputation due to cancer. She uses crutches but her friend wears a prosthesis. This is only available online:
Different Is Not Bad, Different Is the World: A Book About Disabilities / Sally L. Smith; illustrated by Ben Booz; edited by Jami Leutheuser. Longmont, CO: Sopris West, c1994. ISBN 1-57035-030-2. Summary: The purpose of this book is to help children realize that being “different” is OK; in fact, it makes people more interesting and the world a better place. This book is intended to help children with disabilities feel better about themselves, as well as to help children without disabilities become more accepting of those different from them.
Magic Happens With Horses / Jill Clark. Victoria, BC: Tradford Publishing, c2005. ISBN 1-4120-6493-7. This storybook is told from the perspective of a working therapy horse, who gives unconditional love to promote self-esteem, satisfaction and trust. For children, parents and therapists.
The Making of My Special Hand: Madison’s Story / Jamee Riggio Heelan; illustrations by Nicola Simmonds. 1st ed. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers, c1998. ISBN 1-56145-186-X. This illustrated book tells the story of Madison, a little girl, in a first-person narrative. It explains the processes of getting a prosthesis from a child’s point of view. Even though the pictured child is very young, the book can be used up to pre-school age children (2-5 years).
Molly the Pony: A True Story / Pam Kaster. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c2008. ISBN 978-0-8071-3320-0. True story of a pony, rescued from a hurricane, who was fitted with an artificial limb after losing a leg as the result of a dog bite.
My Brand New Leg / Sharon Rae North. Lithonia, GA: Northstar Entertainment Group, LLC, 2003. ISBN 0-9741544-0-7. A young amputee girl with a prosthetic leg meets a new friend. She shows her new friend activities such as running, riding a bike and hiking, which she can do with a prosthesis.
New Equipment / Ben Herosian; illustrated by Melanie Ford Wilson. Winnipeg: Lilyfield and Co., c2005. From the series: Jungleville Tails: The Adventures of Bennett Bengal. ISBN 0-9734024-0-7. From the Web site: “Two years have passed since that very special day when John and Jane Bengal were blessed with their very own Cub, Bennett. Since that eventful day at Grand Stork Station, Bennett has indeed proved to be a very special Tiger Cub. However, another question quickly arises within Jungleville … How does a Tiger Cub without any feet, learn how to walk?! Bennett, John and Jane learn that all a Tiger Cub needs to walk is some ‘New Equipment.’”
That’s My Hope / by Lil Ingram & Marlene Lee; illustrated by Karen Despot. Boyds, Md.: Early Light Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-9799179-0-5. This is the story of a young girl and her father, who suffers a traumatic injury from war and becomes an amputee.
The Tree With No Limbs / by Christine Marie Johnson. Mustang, Okla.: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, c2008. ISBN: 978-1-60462-730-5. A tree finds he still has a gift inside to share with others regardless of his lost limbs. This book lets the reader know that, if disabled, one can still find meaning and purpose in life and use that gift to bless others.
What’s the Matter With Henry: The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat / Cathy Conheim and BJ Gallagher. 3rd ed. La Jolla, Calif.: Breakthrough Press, c2006. ISBN: 0-9679576-2-1. The tale of Henry, a cat who needed an amputation to save his life, and his adoptive family.
The following Web sites have limb loss-related coloring pages to download:
Burgess Bear. Download pages of Burgess Bear with his prosthetic leg, playing sports, reading, and stretching without his prosthesis.
Creative Solutions for Amputees. Download and print “Tara Bakes a Cake for Bella’s Birthday” and “Adventures of Amy and Her Dog Pipi.” These cool heroines have upper-extremity limb difference.
People with Disabilities Themed Coloring Pages. Print coloring pages with prosthesis wearers running, skiing and others participating in wheelchair sports.
Helping Children Cope With an Adult’s Limb Loss
“What Happened to Your Leg, Grandma?” / Chistina DiMartino. Knoxville, TN: Amputee Coalition, 2003. Article from inMotion, November / December 2003. Summary: This article looks at how to talk to a child when a grandparent or other loved one needs to have an amputation or has had an amputation.
“When a Parent Loses a Limb: Helping Children Cope” / Pat Isenberg. Knoxville, TN: Amputee Coalition, 2001. Article from inMotion, May / June 2001. A list of tips on how to help a child to adjust to a parent with limb loss.
LLEAP: Limb Loss Education & Awareness Program / Amputee Coalition. Knoxville, TN: Amputee Coalition, 2002. LLEAP is a curriculum that was created for able-bodied students in the third, fourth and fifth grades. LLEAP addresses a key problem: the social stigma of children with disabilities, particularly those with a limb difference. The curriculum is based upon a simple premise: Children can be taught to recognize and appreciate differences in themselves and others. Building upon this appreciation for differences, children will begin to ask questions and develop a personal awareness of their attitudes toward differences. These experiences, hopefully, will encourage children to explore disability issues and their role in promoting acceptance of other people.
Disclaimer: The following information is provided and owned by the Amputation Coalition of America and was previously published on the website http://www.amputee-coalition.org or the Coalitions Newsletter, inMotion.