16 Best Books About Kids With Disabilities Update 05/2022

For your school library to be effective, it must have materials that reflect a diverse range of student identities, including those related to disabilities. However, it can be a challenge. Negative preconceptions regarding people with disabilities are common in children’s novels. This collection is primarily comprised of #ownvoices books created by disabled authors in order to provide the maximum value to you as a reader. Books in which disabled people recount their own tales were also on our list. As a last step, we scoured the Internet for reviews from disabled readers and parents of disabled children.

Don’t know where to start when it comes to finding and sharing books for kids with disabilities? As children’s book agents, James and Lucy Catchpole taught us a lot. Disabled people who have a lot to say on their blog are fantastic resources for teachers. (James’ personal picture book is included in the gallery below!

Children’s Picture Books About Disabilities

We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire

This piece is a celebration of humanity and a call to action. Students can learn more about issues such as ableism, accessibility, and other issues in the book’s resource section. It’s a great book for kids of all ages.

What Happened to You? by James Catchpole

A group of children starts to ask Joe why he has only one leg as he plays pirates at the playground. While Joe’s playmates learn about empathy and privacy from him, he manages to keep the focus on fun. To discuss courteous answers to (any) differences, this is a must-read book. Check out the author’s website for free lesson plans and the author’s personal motives for writing the book. ”

Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

It’s a wonderful addition to any library of literature about families. A small youngster rides in a wheelchair beside his mom as she goes about her day.

Little Senses series by Samantha Cotterill

These stories, written by an author who has autism, show that neurodiverse kids have a lot in common. Many youngsters can identify with having to deal with being in a noisy environment, adjusting to a new schedule, trying new cuisines, or trying to understand the sentiments of another person.

Can Bears Ski? By Raymond Antrobus

A bear cub’s first encounters with deafness are recounted by a young bear. “Can bears ski?” is one of the questions he’s frequently asked by others. After learning more about how to interact with him, he is delighted to be able (and answer) the inquiry, “Can you hear me?”

Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel

While this book isn’t specifically on disability, it can still help diversify your classroom library’s collection. Maple, a family husky, is frequently asked if she is a wolf, to the point where she begins to doubt her own identity. An illustration shows one of the author’s family members in a power wheelchair.

I Talk Like A River by Jordan Scott

Anecdotes from the author reveal how the river metaphor let him feel less alone in his stuttering. This book would make a great addition to your library of writing mentor materials for the personal tale form.

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best

Zulay is a first-grade blind student. She can already read and write Braille, as well as climb trees and swim, and she has a great group of pals. She’s working hard to master the usage of a cane in time for the school’s Field Day event. There’s something refreshingly non-teaching about the rhythmic language and whimsical visuals by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

Informational Children’s Books About Disabilities

Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw

Author uses his personal experiences to answer frequently asked questions and normalize disabilities for children. A good sense of humor provides for an approachable and lighthearted tone in his writing. To ensure that your students with impairments are comfortable with the book being read aloud in a group, read it first. While Shane is willing to share his personal details, not all disabled people are as open to sharing their personal information.

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

For novels on disability involving service dogs, go no further than this one for your little ones’ enjoyment. This is Jessica Kensky’s story about how her black lab is both a companion and a service dog for an amputee.

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans With Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel

Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, an 8-year-old activist with cerebral palsy, crawled up the Capitol building steps. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 as a result of this Capitol Crawl protest. Readers can learn more about the ADA’s past and future in the resource section.

A Kids Book About Disabilities by Kristine Napper

“Having a disability is one of the many ways to be normal,” says this educator and author with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. How to live and promote this mindset is an excellent topic for discussion with this book.

I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present by Cerrie Burnell

It’s a children’s book about disabilities the author wishes she had as a youngster, according to the author. This is a great website for students to use for research and collaboration.

Middle Grade Children’s Books About Disabilities

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker

To tell the story of thirteen-year-old Natalie, who has her heart set on becoming a Broadway star, this author, the first in her genre to be cast on Broadway, is an excellent choice. Many kids will identify with Natalie’s experiences, such as finding a group of friends, achieving independence, and standing up for herself.

El Deafo: The Superpowered Edition by Cece Bell

It’s time to upgrade to the most recent edition of this classroom library classic! Photos from the author’s personal life and early sketches from the book are included in new back matter. Cece Bell used her “superpower” of deafness as the inspiration for this graphic novel. Kids can benefit from reading the author’s note, which provides a snapshot of life in the Deaf community.

The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit

A detective agency founded by tween siblings Lara and Caroline leads to an investigation into their own family’s dark secrets. Autism manifests itself differently in each of the sisters. For children who have had comparable situations, this is an affirming book written by an autistic author. It’s also a fantastic book for discussing character and relationship development.

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