The mental illnesses storybook is a picture book that illustrates various physical and mental disorders. The book includes a glossary of terms that provides additional information about each of the disorders outlined in the story. This pedagogical tool is used to captivate readers attention and address fundamental concerns that exist in society. The tool is multimodal as it combines visual images and text that follow a rhyming scheme to convey an important lesson to its listeners. Teachers can incorporate this resource in a literacy, social justice and/or social studies class. While this book addresses many prevalent issues, the book reminds students not to self-diagnose and to seek for help from professionals.
Chapter three of Is Everyone Really Equal? by Sensoy and DiAngelo opens with the following statement: “I was taught to never judge a book by its cover.” While most people may believe themselves to be free of judgements and prejudices towards others, we all have stereotypes and prejudices. We may think we are not judging others that we interact with in society, but we may unconsciously forming opinions based on physical or mental disabilities we observe within others. When our prejudices come to fruition, discrimination may occur, which in turn may disrupt the cohesiveness of a classroom or institution. Discrimination may include such things as avoidance, exclusion, slander, threats, acts of violence, etc.
The pedagogical tool that we have created called “The Alphabetical Book of Celebrating Disorders” addresses the various physical and cognitive disorders that individuals may have. Some of these may be above the surface and easy to recognize, while others may be embedded in deep culture and less visible as a result. The aim of this book is to bring recognition to these various disorders that exist amongst individuals in society, and help us to realize that despite our differences, we are all equals and should unite together through our differences rather than allowing them to separate us.
The way that people view the world is based on the social groups we are a part of the position that they hold within their social group, which is known as the concept as positionality. This multi-dimensional tool we have created helps to deconstruct the concept of positionality and challenge preconceived notions of physical and mental disorders. One of the best ways to take part in critical social justice theory is to submerse ourselves in difference and develop a positive outlook on different groups that we are less familiar with rather than having negative connotations associated with them.
The book was created as an academic tool to equip educators and students with an elevated knowledge of the various disorders that exist throughout society. By addressing societal binaries we hope to promote critical thinking and demolish ideological standards that dictate behaviour. Through this book we hope to celebrate differences and promote self-actualization, understanding and appreciation.