Down's syndrome awareness

Sky Song

Around 750 babies in the UK every year are born with Down's syndrome. This equates to one in every thousand.

21 March is World Down Syndrome Day. Led by Down Syndrome International, but linking up with national charities across the world, there will be activities and events taking place to raise awareness and support.

In the UK, the Down's Syndrome Association also coordinate a full awareness week. This year’s theme celebrates the many different ways people with Down’s syndrome make a difference to their communities. You can read and share amazing stories and follow it all on Twitter (#LeaveNoOneBehind, #LotsOfSocks and #WorldDownSyndromeDay are all hashtags being used).

Read these for why there's a need for characters with Down’s syndrome in children’s books:

Finally, here’s a list of children's and young teen books that feature characters who have Down's syndrome. The following includes UK titles where characters with Down's syndrome either appear as protagonists or are simply included naturally in the images.

  • Sky Song

    Author: Abi Elphinstone
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Abi Elphinstone's magical adventure is full of close calls, fantastical creatures and deliciously evil villains to savour in a tale that already feels like a children's classic.

  • A Storm of Strawberries

    Author: Jo Cotterill
    Publisher: Piccadilly Press
    Interest age: 10-13
    Reading age: 10+

    Twelve-year-old Darby is excited – it is the weekend of the family's chocolate hunt. However, beloved sister Kaydee has suddenly brought home a friend for the weekend. Plus her parents (who run the family's strawberry farm) seem distracted, increasingly preoccupied with news that a major storm is brewing. Does no one realise how important the event is to Dar…

  • Victoria's Day

    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 5+

    A photographic diary documenting a day in the life of a four year old girl.

  • Making Friends!

    Author: Jess Stockham
    Publisher: Child's Play
    Interest age: 0+
    Reading age: 4+

    This book is full of great animal pictures and lift-the-flap pages. It’s a friendly and colourful way to encourage children to enjoy sharing and have fun.

  • Max the Champion

    Author: Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick Illustrator: Ros Asquith
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 5+

    This inclusive book is about a boy who loves sport, his friends, and school - and has a vivid imagination

  • Big Ben

    Author: Rachel Anderson Illustrator: Jane Ray
    Publisher: Barn Owl Books
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 10

    Matthew wants to write about his older brother Ben who has Down syndrome for a school project on individuals who the students admire.

  • Dead Ends

    Author: Erin Lange
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    Dane Washington is the quick-tempered local bully, Billy D his new neighbour who has Down Syndrome.

  • Wind

    Author: Carol Thompson
    Publisher: Child's Play International Ltd
    Interest age: 0-3
    Reading age: 2+

    Sumptuous illustrations celebrate children's responses to the weather, in this series of board books. This title features a child with a hearing aid and a child with Down Syndrome.

  • Sun

    Author: Carol Thompson
    Publisher: Child’s Play International
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 4+

    It’s the perfect day to slap on the sunscreen and sunhats and explore the great outdoors. Sumptuous illustrations celebrate children's responses to the weather, in this series of board books.

  • Rosie Loves Jack

    Author: Mel Darbon
    Publisher: Usborne Books
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 12+

    Sixteen-year-old Rosie (who has Down’s syndrome) is devastated when circumstances separate her from boyfriend Jack (who has some brain injury-related anger management issues). An absorbing read with a powerful and convincing affection at its centre.