With so much very valuable and highly accessible information literally available at our fingertips, are books still relevant? They certainly are, and we are seeing the emergence of both new and established titles as e-books able to be read on a number of devices, providing ever greater access and choice.
Again, it difficult to choose just three books from the very broad canon currently available, but these represent new ways of talking to and about people with Down syndrome ... and two of them have a distinctly Australian voice.
- Greater Expectations: living with Down syndrome in the 21st century, by Jan Gothard (Freemantle Press, 2011) is a rich narrative of the lives of families, with a particularly Australian flavour, told with the sensitivity of an oral historian who is also a parent, and includes the voices of people with Down syndrome themselves. Our review was published in Voice, March 2011 to coincide with it's publication.
- Anne Kelleher recognised that there are very few books written both about and adults with Down syndrome who we know are interested in adult stories, but whose reading skills might limit their access to other adult fiction. She has embarked on a planned series of five stories about a cast of characters inspired by her brother David. The two published so far, in print and for Kindle, are How David Met Sarah and When David was Surprised. Anne's blog gives links for purchasing, and to reviews.
- Peter Rix's novel Water under Water (Random House Australia, 2011) grew put of his experience as the father of a young woman with Down syndrome, and the opportunity that he had as a writer to give people with intellectual disabilities a voice in fiction. It has enjoyed wide publicity in the general media, including a long, well illustrated interview in the Australian Women's Weekly in June 2011 (available in full via the AWW iPad app). Fiona Place reviewed Water under Water for Voice in the September 2011 issue.