Two very different items arrived in the library this week. Praying with Lior(film by Ilana Tractman, First Run Features, US, 87 min, 2007) is a documentry about a 13-year old Jewish boy, Lior, preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. Down syndrome is very much at the centre of this film as it examines what Lior understands about spiritual matters and also looks at his love and talent for davening (praying). the film covers all aspects of Lior's life--schooling (at an Orthodox Jewish day school), family relationships, especially sibling, and his views on life and his future. I would say this film is probably a must-see for everyone in the Jewish community but also interesting to anyone for its depiction of the life of a teenage boy with Down syndrome. See also http://www.prayingwithlior.com/ Site includes reviews and a study guide.
The other arrival, Victoria Goes to Brazil (by Maria de Fatima Campos, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, UK, 2009) is a picture book that tells another story of Victoria, a young girl with Down syndrome (seen in an earlier book, Victoria's Day - about her life at pre-school). She travels to Brazil to visit her mother's birthplace and family. Down syndrome is never mentioned except as a small note at the back of the book. It is a beautiful book about Brazil and meeting family. It would be great in school or public libraries (as well as for children with Down syndrome) as it portrays a person with Down syndrome doing just what any other child would do. Victoria's mother (the author) is a photographer and has a website that includes more about Victoria as well as a story, Victoria and Me, done for the Down's Syndrome Association in the UK about Victoria's first three years and about Down syndrome.
Despite the different focuses, both resources ultimately show people with Down syndrome doing the same things as other people and leading fulfilling lives.
If you want to borrow these or any other resources, email us.
(Note: Our copy of Praying for Lior is copyrighted for home use only--not for public showings.)