by intern Heather B.
It’s time to make room on the bookshelf for another gem: My Sister, Alicia May gently portrays the familial love shared by a girl and her younger sister, who is “special for many reasons,” among them being that she has Down syndrome.
The 13-page children’s book takes the reader on a “day in the life of”-like saga narrating the blessings and hardships of growing up with a sibling who has Down syndrome. Written in the first person, each page draws a new example that beautifully emphasizes the joys experienced by a proud and patient older sister….
The book also honestly addresses common reactions to children’s special needs, including frustration and embarrassment. One such incident told the story of Alicia May’s first ride on the school bus, and the dilemma the other kids’ teasing caused for her big sister, Rachel. As Aesop would have it, sisterly loyalty prevails, and the reader is genuinely warmed by the example of heroic charity.
Authored by award-winning Nancy Tupper Ling, with stunning, life-like illustrations by Shennen Bersani, My Sister, Alicia May is an absolute “must” for families with young children, especially those with special needs.
Families seeking to adopt special needs children like Alicia May will want to look into the non-profit, organization known as Reece’s Rainbow, which serves to connect children with Down syndrome from around the globe with readily adoptive families in the US.
Although only 4 years old, Reece’s Rainbow has already helped to place more than 175 children from 32 countries around the world, including Mexico, Russia, Ghana, Armenia, Haiti, Liberia, Vietnam and Korea. Every cent given is put directly toward the child, family or fund designated by the donor.
As one adoptive mother said, “the fact that Reece’s Rainbow is helping to secure all of these adoptions of Down syndrome kids conveys to others that these children deserve the right to live just like other children.”
For decades, doctors have recommended that pregnant women 35 and older take an amniocentesis test because their age indicates a greater risk for chromosomal defects. The test, however, carries a slight chance of miscarriage, but has been offered to younger women, who end up giving birth to the majority of Down syndrome babies.
Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a recommendation that doctors offer a new screening procedure to all pregnant women. The test, including a sonogram and two blood tests in the first trimester, would detect the extra 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Approximately 90% of all prenatal detections of this chromosomal abnormality end in abortion.
[Photo and image attributions: nancytupperling.com; reecesrainbow.org]