Here’s a curated list of books about children with disabilities for your classroom library.
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I created a curated list of books about children with disabilities to provide inspiration for your classroom library. Some of the books focus on certain topics or disabilities, while others highlight diversity and tolerance. Starting off with the right teaching materials is something we can do to ensure we are prepared for teaching special education.
Why Kids Need Book Characters They Can Relate To
It’s important to provide students with diverse reading materials. Children want to “see themselves” in the stories they read. They need to be able to relate to the characters in order to better connect with the story. When children can personally relate to a character, it provides a sense of belonging and familiarity.
Students should have access to books that portray characters they can relate to. This applies to race, culture, sexual orientation, medical diagnoses, etc. For this reason, I keep my eye out for books that feature different types of backgrounds.
Why Kids Need Book Characters They CANNOT Relate To
While it is important for children to see book characters they can relate to, it’s also important for them to see characters that are not like them. Children should also be exposed to characters they cannot relate to. They need to understand that not everyone is like them and that’s okay.Building a classroom library is so much more than picking out books. It's a hidden opportunity to celebrate differences and encourage tolerance.Click To Tweet
Books About Children with Disabilities
I broke my book recommendations into 7 groups to make the list easier to navigate. Other than being grouped into categories, they’re in no particular order. Here are the categories for my recommended books about children with disabilities:
- Understanding Differences
- Learning Disabilities
- Physical Disabilities
- Social Skills
- More Children’s Books About Disabilities
Books About Children with Disabilities: Understanding Differences
Many iconic figures have overcome obstacles to become great leaders in their industries.
Wonder tells the tale of a community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance when they meet a little boy with a facial difference.
There are many great reasons for being friends with those who are different us. It’s okay to be different.
Jack and George go to an inclusive summer camp and encounter new friends with a wide range of different abilities.
Roxy the Raccoon works with his friends to make the forest an inclusive place for everyone, including those with a disability.
Celebrate diversity by appreciating the variety of abilities people have.
Special People, Special Ways conveys the message that even there is something different about each of us, we have many things in common.
Leo is late in learning to read, write, draw, and speak. His mother knows her son will do all those things, and more, when he’s ready.
Ricky the rock can’t roll with his friends because he’s flat on one side.
Different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.
Though she lives with the daily challenges of disability, Grace Anna is a typical kid with big dreams.
Through her kindness and devotion, Leah’s sister teaches the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.
Children will enjoy the fun rhymes and illustrations that assure them that they’re wonderful as they are.
Monica is a feisty girl who isn’t afraid to be who she is. Read how Monica expresses herself and deals with students who laugh at her differences.
Books About Children with Disabilities: Autism
This is the true story of Temple Grandin and how she went from a nonverbal child who struggled in school to become one of the most respected leaders in the autism community. Click here to read my full review of this book.
Nathan, explains his “autism spectrum superpowers” and how they affect him.
Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates because of his “autism stripe.”
This comprehensive resource helps kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) to understand their condition.
This story talks presents autism from the honest perspective of a child’s point of view.
A young boy celebrates his autism heroes who have made great achievements in history.
A teen living faces many struggles while trying to have fun with her friends and having to deal with the stigma attached to her autistic brother.
This story encourages children to appreciate the positive contribution that an autistic child can make to the group.
The Asperkids’ (Secret) Rule Book of Social Rules is a guide to hidden social rules that can be awfully confusing.
Zak describes his life with autism to help readers gain a better understanding of his behaviors and learn about patience and understanding.
Tully and Me is about differences and understanding where children with autism can be accepted by their friends.
When Same is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, teamwork-based support helps his life become a little easier.
Books About Children with Disabilities: Learning Disabilities
Adam struggles to learn about letters but must learn how to overcomes the alphabet war.
Knees looks like a regular chapter book but is written at a lower reading level for less advanced readers. It describes a child’s life with dyslexia.
Mr. Falker who encourages Trisha her to overcome her reading disability, dyslexia.
Tom doubts himself and feels inadequate in class until a school competition helps him to find his special talent.
Max has CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) and struggles to learn, understand language and socialize with other kids. Will Max be able to overcome his disability and succeed in life?
During his first day in flight school, Hank discovers that he has no sense of direction and gets lost on every mission. His teacher shows him how he can compensate for his learning disability and still succeed.
A little girl knows the alphabet but struggles to read. Her teacher explains that she has dyslexia, and helps her to find ways to read and write correctly.
Ally has dyslexia and hides her disability from the class by creating disruptive distractions. Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of.
Amy tells all about her Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). She explains how every child with APD is affected in unique ways, and how to get help if you have APD.
Kids reveal their personal tips and tactics for honing the creative benefits of dyslexia, enabling them to thrive in school and beyond.
Books About Children with Disabilities: ADHD
This book gives kids with ADHD strategies for taking care of oneself, modifying behavior, and dealing with doctors, counselors, and medication.
Charlie feels like he has a whirling, twirling motor running inside him all the time and sometimes he just can’t settle. When his mom wants to talk to him, he figures he’s in trouble…but she has a surprise for him instead!
All Dogs Have ADHD uses images and ideas from the canine world to explore a variety of traits that will be instantly recognisable to those who are familiar with ADHD.
Through his imaginary journal, Tom shares his daily life with readers, helping them to better understand and cope with ADHD.
Thriving with ADHD helps kids with ADHD develop skills to manage their symptoms, while providing a powerful message of encouragement.
Braden’s poor decision-making like ill- timed jokes in class forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control.
Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, and a diary to record it all.
Books About Children with Disabilities: Physical Disabilities
Shane tackles many of the mundane and quirky questions that he’s often asked about living with spinal muscular atrophy. He shows readers that he’s just as approachable, friendly, and funny as anyone else.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was proposed to Congress, Jennifer climbed the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them.
Mimi is the new girl at school. She has a physical disabilities and uses a walker. Her classmates are curious and ask questions about their new friend.
Teach diversity and tolerance to young readers, and help them understand and appreciate those children who have health differences.
Yes I Can! follows Carolyn on a typical day at home, at school, and even on a field trip! She can do almost everything the other kids can, even if sometimes she has to do it a little differently.
Ben uses a wheelchair but shows he is just like any other child. Ben shows us that ALL kids can play and dream.
Charley doesn’t know how to react to Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn’t bad, sad, or strange.
Children’s Books About Children with Disabilities: Social Skills
Social Skills: Activities for Kids offers strategies to help kids understand body language clues, making friends, and conversation rules, and other social skills.
This book aims to make students’ lives easier and more successful by outlining specific ways to interact with others on a daily basis.
Growing Friendships is touted as a social development primer that gives kids the answers they need to make and keep friends.
Speak Up provides 21 concrete strategies children can use to express themselves, build relationships, end arguments and fights, halt bullying, and beat unhappy feelings.
This book includes simple tips to navigate everyday social situations that can be challenging or awkward for kids.
While reading through the alphabet, kids learn how to identify emotions through facial expressions, body language, and in social contexts.
This boy tries to cope by stuffing down his feelings, but with a little help and artistic inspiration, the boy realizes his feelings are something to be celebrated.
This book helps children improve their social skills so they can better enjoy the benefits of friendship. It covers everything from breaking the ice to developing friendships to overcoming problems.
Children’s Books About Children with Disabilities: Behavior and Self- Regulation
Kids with Behavior Challenges is a guide with tips and examples to help kids navigate frustrating daily situations.
What Should Danny Do? is an interactive book that empowers kids with the understanding that their choices will shape their days, and ultimately their lives into what they will be.
The Anger Management Workbook for Kids includes fun, interactive activities to help kids handle powerful emotions for a lifetime of healthy behavioral choices.
What Should Darla Do? is written in a “Choose Your Own Story” format, your kids can help Darla through her day by making choices for her!
I’m Not Bad, I’m Just Mad contains fun activities will help kids talk about their feelings and learn to control them.
What if everybody broke the rules? The world would be a mess. But what if everybody obeyed the rules so that the world would become a better place?
This book will inspire kids to discuss their feelings, show positive behaviors, and practice calm down strategies.
More Books About Children with Disabilities
Harriet has Cerebral Palsy and is nonverbal. She learns how to make new friends while navigating personal issues with her family at home.
This book describes why some people are deaf and what life is like without the ability to hear.
ACC Kids Like Me helps children ACC understand their condition and feel more accepted and special.
Two children discover that they are good at different things. They realize that they can help each other overcome their challenges and accomplish more together.
This is the story of a little boy whose brother who was born with Cerebral Palsy.
This book teaches children about rare chromosome abnormalities and what makes the people who have them special.
This book talks about why some people are blind and what daily life is like for someone who can’t see.
This story is about a little girl who uses ASL to communicate and goes on a field trip with her class.
Hannah explains her Down Syndrome Superpowers and how she’s more like other kids than different.
The Black Book of Colors uses illustrations with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery to allow children to imagine living without sight.
Do you know any other books about children with disabilities? What would you add to the list? Comment below with your book suggestions and I’ll add them in!
Other posts from Exceptional Thinkers that you may like:
- How to Differentiate Instruction
- Differentiate Instruction Like a Pro
- How Many Skills Can You Teach in 5 Minutes a Day?
- Understanding Sensory Issues in Kids
- How to Make a Lemon Volcano
- Master Small Group Instruction (with Free Differentiation Tools)
Keep teaching. Keep learning.
~Christy from Exceptional Thinkers