DADD Book Award Promotes Understanding, Acceptance of Developmental Disabilities

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with developmental disabilities.

DollyGrayThe award, a collaborative work by members of CEC’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) and the Special Needs Project , a distributor of books related to disability issues, is named for the late Dolly Sharpe Gray, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Gray, who was a lover of books, especially enjoyed stories -- though not many were available in her time -- depicting characters with whom she could identify.  The awards were created by her family to encourage writers to include characters with disabilities in their stories so that future generations of readers could share in the acceptance and understanding that results from literature that tells us about the lives of others, including individuals with disabilities.

“Dolly would be pleased,” said Dolly’s father Hod Gray, about the books selected every two years to receive the awards.  “She would be reading them. Dolly would be thrilled for this award to be named in her honor. She would think the idea of it especially cool, because she knew what sharing is all about.”

Every even year, an award is presented to an author and illustrator (if appropriate) of a children's picture book, an intermediate, and/or a young adult book that includes appropriate portrayals of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award aims to: 

  • Increase the general public’s recognition of the positive societal contributions of individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Provide greater understanding and acceptance of teachers and school-aged peers of students with developmental disabilities.
  • Encourage authors and illustrators to publish quality literature that include characters with developmental disabilities.

The 2014 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award winners are:

Remember Dippy
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Remember Dippy, by Shirley Reva Vernick
Between helpings of mouthwatering shortcake, mysterious ferret disappearances, and a romance that misfires, thirteen-year-old Johnny discovers an unexpected, improbable friendship. Read more and buy it now.

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Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks
Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He's been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear. Read more and buy it now.

Learn more about the Dolly Gray Awards, including more on past award recipients.

Learn more about the CEC’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD).

Learn more about the Special Needs Project.