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Disabilities: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about disabilities?

Did you know that more than 12.8% of people in the United States of America have a disability (2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report)? Whether mental or physical differences, learning about disabilities can help us have a better understanding of conditions and more empathy for differently-abled people.

Apart from being a great way to learn, these books are also a great way to start conversations with your children about advocacy, inclusion, and kindness.

Top 10 Books About Disabilities

#1
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A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold & illustrated by Charles Santoso
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).
#2
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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.
#3
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I Am Helen Keller
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos and Brad Meltzer
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I thought this was a fantastic biography of the life of Helen Keller--her hardships and accomplishments. There are a lot of fun facts in the story, and it's a little longer of a picture book, but I thought it was engaging and a fun, inspiring read.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
"The story of Helen Keller, who learned to read and write despite being deaf and blind, and became an activist who fought for the rights of disabled people"
#4
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Susan Laughs
Written by Jeanne Willis & illustrated by Tony Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.
#5
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We'll Paint the Octopus Red
Written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen & illustrated by Pam DeVito
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Emma and her father discuss what they will do when the new baby arrives, but they adjust their expectations when he is born with Down syndrome.
#6
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Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
Written by Barbara Esham & illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can't tell that he's making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets. This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgetsis the recipient of: the Academics' Choice Gold Seal Mom's Choice Award Gold Parents' Choice Award "A masterful tale of empowering children...Esham artfully describes the gifts and challenges of children with ADHD." -Dr. Susan Baum, professor emeritus, the College of New Rochelle Praise for the series: "This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children." --Dr. Carol S. Dweck
#7
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A Christmas Carol
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Take a walk with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in Little Master Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit® Colors Primer. See old Jacob Marley shaking silver chains, gold stars shining around the Ghost of Christmas Past, and a red scarf keeping Tiny Tim warm. This bright retelling of a Christmas classic will scare any “bah, humbug” feelings away.
#8
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The Secret Garden
Written by Brooke Jorden & illustrated by David Miles
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Join Mary, Dickon, and Colin on their heartwarming journey of friendship and gardening magic. Filled with interactive wheels and pull-tabs, and lavishly illustrated, The Secret Garden is an unprecedented kid's introduction to Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic novel. Unlike many board books that tackle the classics, Lit for Little Hands tells the actual story in simple, engaging prose. Gorgeous springtime illustrations transport the reader to the gardens and halls of Misselthwaite Manor, while tons of interactive elements invite kids to help Mary discover the secret garden, make friends, and help Colin walk! Fans of the novel will be delighted by the book's attention to detail and clever use of original text and dialogue. And the book's super-sturdy board means everyone can enjoy this tale over . . . and over . . . and over again! The magic of the secret garden will return each time you read!
#9
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Dan and Diesel
Written by Charlotte Hudson & illustrated by Lindsey Gardiner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-5
Dan's dog, Diesel, is a wonder dog. He can do anything. He can ride on trains and planes and in underground tunnels. He can stand next to an enormous smoke-breathing dragon and never flinch an inch. When Dan is with Diesel he can go anywhere. He can go shopping at the market. He can play jazz in the Boogaloo band. He can climb mountains and draw pictures in his head. Together, they can conquer the world! But one day, Diesel is whisked away in a big black van . . . Only when Dan and Diesel are finally re-united does it become apparent that Dan is blind and Diesel is his guide dog.
#10
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My Friend Isabelle
Written by Eliza Woloson & illustrated by Bryan Gough
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A young boy named Charlie describes the activities he shares with his friend Isabelle, a girl with Down Syndrome.
Table of Contents
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Books About Disabilities and Down Syndrome

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We'll Paint the Octopus Red
Written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen & illustrated by Pam DeVito
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Emma and her father discuss what they will do when the new baby arrives, but they adjust their expectations when he is born with Down syndrome.
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My Friend Isabelle
Written by Eliza Woloson & illustrated by Bryan Gough
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A young boy named Charlie describes the activities he shares with his friend Isabelle, a girl with Down Syndrome.
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Kids Like Me... Learn ABCs
Written by Laura Ronay & illustrated by Jon Wayne Kishimoto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4
Introducing the new children's series, KIDS LIKE ME . . . Featuring adorable and diverse children with Down syndrome on every page, and many of their siblings too, these chunky, sturdy books are perfect for youngsters who are ready to start learning skills like their ABCs and colors. KIDS LIKE ME . . . LEARN ABCs includes appealing photos of children with Down syndrome on a crisp white background, surrounded by colorful borders. Each child holds or interacts with an object that represents a letter of the alphabet. Surrounding images also show that letter in sign language, upper and lower case type, and an illustration of the featured object. All children will enjoy this book, but children with Down syndrome will delight in seeing other kids just like them, having fun and learning about their ABCs.
Honorable Mentions
Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist (Fairy Ability Tales) book
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I Can, Can You? book
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The Prince Who Was Just Himself book
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Kids Like Me... Learn Colors book
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  1. Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist (Fairy Ability Tales) - Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist is an enchanting tale about how kindness overcomes callousness and leads to a wondrous reward. This adaptation of the classic Grimms’ tale includes the wicked witch and the poor siblings in search of food, but in this case, five-year-old Hansel is a mischievous, yet courageous, boy with Down syndrome. Young readers will learn that: -Children with Down syndrome are capable and can achieve extraordinary success with determination. -An act of kindness can transform people and the world. -Treating people like family can create a miracle. -People cannot be judged by appearance; a princess or a hero can be hidden within. -Facing a challenge can lead to unimagined rewards.

  2. I Can, Can You? - Toddlers with Down syndrome show all the things they can do, including swim, share, and play ball. On board pages.

  3. The Prince Who Was Just Himself - Lacking the athletic and reading skills of his older brothers, Prince Noah uses love and compassion to save the kingdom from the Black Knight.

  4. Kids Like Me... Learn Colors - Introducing the new children’s series. KIDS LIKE ME . . . Featuring adorable and diverse children with Down syndrome on every page, and many of their siblings too, these chunky, sturdy books are perfect for youngsters who are ready to start learning their colors and ABCs. KIDS LIKE ME . . . LEARN COLORS teaches primary colors, plus orange, green, purple, pink, brown, black, white, silver, gold, gray, and a multi-color rainbow. Every page features a child with Down syndrome wearing a shirt and playing with an object of the same color, photographed against a crisp, white background. Borders contain the word for English and Spanish. After all, it’s never too early to start bilingual education!

Books About Disabilities and Physical Disabilities

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Susan Laughs
Written by Jeanne Willis & illustrated by Tony Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.
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My Friend Suhana
Written by Shaila Abdullah & illustrated by Aanyah Abdullah
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
While volunteering with her mother at a community center, a seven-year-old girl befriends Suhana, also seven, whose cerebral palsy makes it difficult for her to communicate or control her movements. Includes facts about cerebral palsy.
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Out of My Mind
Written by Sharon Draper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.
Honorable Mentions
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus book
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Special People, Special Ways book
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I Will Dance book
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The Sound of Silence book
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  1. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus - Aven Green was born without arms—so when her dad takes a job running a dying western theme park in Arizona, she knows she’ll become the center of unwanted attention at her new school. But she bonds with Connor, a classmate with his own disability to conquer. Then they discover a room at the park that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. Can Aven face her fears, solve a mystery, and help her friend, too?

  2. Special People, Special Ways - Rhyming text drescribes the different ways in which people may vary in physical or mental abilities, and the things they have in common.

  3. I Will Dance - This poetic and uplifting picture book illustrated by the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines follows a young girl born with cerebral palsy as she pursues her dream of becoming a dancer. Like many young girls, Eva longs to dance. But unlike many would-be dancers, Eva has cerebral palsy. She doesn’t know what dance looks like for someone who uses a wheelchair. Then Eva learns of a place that has created a class for dancers of all abilities. Her first movements in the studio are tentative, but with the encouragement of her instructor and fellow students, Eva becomes more confident. Eva knows she’s found a place where she belongs. At last her dream of dancing has come true.

  4. The Sound of Silence - Myron Uhlberg was born the hearing son of deaf parents at a time when American Sign Language was not well established and deaf people were often dismissed as being unintelligent. In this young reader adaptation of his acclaimed memoir, Hands of My Father, Uhlberg recalls the daily difficulties and hidden joys of growing up as the intermediary between his parents’ silent world and the world of the hearing.

Books About Disabilities and Health And Daily Living

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I Am Helen Keller
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos and Brad Meltzer
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I thought this was a fantastic biography of the life of Helen Keller--her hardships and accomplishments. There are a lot of fun facts in the story, and it's a little longer of a picture book, but I thought it was engaging and a fun, inspiring read.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
"The story of Helen Keller, who learned to read and write despite being deaf and blind, and became an activist who fought for the rights of disabled people"
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Don't Call Me Special
Written by Pat Thomas & illustrated by Lesley Harker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
This delightful picture book explores questions and concerns about physical disabilities in a simple and reassuring way. Younger children can find out about individual disabilities, special equipment that is available to help the disabled, and how people of all ages can deal with disabilities and live happy and full lives. Titles in this series for younger children explore emotional issues that boys and girls encounter as part of the growing-up process. Books are focused to appeal to kids of preschool through early school age. Written by psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas, A First Look At books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers, and encourage kids to ask questions and confront social and emotional questions that sometimes present problems. Books feature appealing full-color illustrations on every page plus a page of advice to parents and teachers.
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Florence & Leon
Written by Simon Boulerice & illustrated by Delphie Côté-Lacroix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Florence and Leon have never met. Florence is a swimming instructor. She has a small problem with her lungs: it’s as if she’s breathing through a straw. Leon is an insurance salesman. He has a small problem with his eyes: it’s as if he’s seeing the world through a straw. One day Florence and Leon bump into each other, literally, and this mishap turns their lives upside down. Over slushy drinks with proper straws, Florence and Leon find out how their differences make them alike.
Honorable Mentions
Caleb and Kit book
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Little Helpers: Animals on the Job! book
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  1. Caleb and Kit - From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

  2. Little Helpers: Animals on the Job! - In this book of little helpers, join service animals as they go about their important work. From snakes who give a squeeze when it’s time to take medication to Seeing Eye dogs who help their owners cross the street, from llamas who visit children’s hospitals to pigs who provide comfort for the elderly, this gentle introduction celebrates special connections between people and animals. A portion of the proceeds includes a donation to charity.

Books About Disabilities and Empathy

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Through Grandpa's Eyes
Written by Patricia MacLachlan & illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is a bit on the long side, so may be better for kiddos with a longer attention span, but it is a lovely story about a little boy trying to experience the world the way his grandpa does—without sight. The illustrations are soft and soothing, and the messages about empathy and how important the bond between grandparents and grandchildren can be are powerful ones.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
On John's visits to Grandpa's house, his blind grandfather shares with him the special way he sees and moves in the world.
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Fish in a Tree
Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16
“Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher 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. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions. A New York Times Bestseller! * “Unforgettable and uplifting.”—School Library Connection, starred review * “Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review * “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control.” —School Library Journal, starred review
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El Deafo
Written by Cece Bell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her "superpower."
Honorable Mentions
We're All Wonders book
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The Boy with Big, Big Feelings book
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Cedric and the Dragon book
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Mockingbird book
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  1. We're All Wonders - The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection “A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal “A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly “Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

  2. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings - Meet a boy with feelings so big that they glow from his cheeks, spill out of his eyes, and jump up and down on his chest. When a loud truck drives by, he cries. When he hears a joke, he bursts with joy. When his loved ones are having a hard day, he feels their emotions as if they were his own. The 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. Written by debut picture book author Britney Winn Lee and boldly illustrated by Jacob Souva, The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is relatable for any child, but especially for children experiencing anxiety and extreme emotions, or who have been diagnosed with autism or as a Highly Sensitive Person.

  3. Cedric and the Dragon - Prince Cedric is slow to walk, has a tough time with reading and math, and fails miserably at dragon slaying school. But with kindness and bravery, and his love for hugs, Cedric saves the kingdom. This cheerful picture book teaches kids that there are many ways to solve a problem and reinforces the idea that everyone has something special to offer.

  4. Mockingbird - Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

Want to see books about empathy?

Books About Disabilities and Siblings

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My Brother Charlie
Written by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
"Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It's harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe." But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can't do well, there are plenty more things that he's good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows. Actress and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborates with her daughter on this book based on Holly's 10-year-old son, who has autism.
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Ian's Walk
Written by Laurie Lears & illustrated by Karen Ritz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
When her autistic little brother, Ian, wanders off while on a walk to the park, Julie must try to see the world through his eyes in order to find him. Full color.
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Rules
Written & illustrated by Cynthia Lord
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with a young paraplegic.
Honorable Mentions
The War I Finally Won book
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Une Place Pour Edouard book
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My Brother Otto book
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Scarlet  Ibis book
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  1. The War I Finally Won - A New York Times bestseller Like the classic heroines of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables, Ada is a fighter for the ages. Her triumphant World War II journey continues in this sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The War that Saved My Life When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now? World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy? As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?

  2. Une Place Pour Edouard - When Edouard was born everyone was happy. But soon he started to cry, and nobody was happy anymore. Camille, the big sister, doesn’t understand what is happening, and her parents don’t have time to explain to her why Edouard is different…

  3. My Brother Otto - This engaging picture book shows everyday life with little crow siblings when one of them is on the autism spectrum. My Brother Otto is a child-friendly, endearing, and fun picture book for children about the love, acceptance, and understanding a sister, Piper, has for her little brother Otto, who is on the autism spectrum. The book provides explanations for Otto’s differences and quirkiness in an easy-to-understand language, and highlights Otto’s desires for adventure and love—just like his peers. To be more specific, My Brother Otto is a sweet story about a sister and a brother who engage in common, everyday experiences in their own unique way with the idea that kindness and understanding always win! Meg Raby holds a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology with a certification in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and has several years of experience working with children ages 2-17 on the autism spectrum. Meg recently started a booming handle on Instagram, called @bedtime.stories.forevermore, promoting literacy and highlighting only the best in children’s books. This is her first book. Elisa Pallmer studied design at Escuela de Diseño del INBA and English Literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Her focus is on illustrations for children, and she lives in Mexico City.

  4. Scarlet Ibis - Twelve-year-old Scarlet doesn’t have an easy life. She’s never known her dad, her mom suffers from depression, and her younger brother Red has Asperger’s and relies heavily on her to make the world a safe place for him. Scarlet does this by indulging Red’s passion for birds, telling him stories about the day they’ll go to Trinidad and see all the wonderful birds there (especially his beloved Scarlet Ibis), saving her money to take him to the zoo, helping him collect bird feathers, and even caring for a baby pigeon who is nesting outside his window.But things with her mom are getting harder, and after a dangerous accident, Scarlet and Red are taken into foster care and separated. As Scarlet struggles to cope with the sudden changes in her life and her complex feelings towards her mom, the one thing she won’t give up on is finding Red. Nothing is going to get in her way—even if it might destroy the new possibilities offered to her by her foster family.

Books About Disabilities and Animals

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A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold & illustrated by Charles Santoso
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).
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The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Written by Julia Finley Mosca & illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe! The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!
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Hello Goodbye Dog
Written by Maria Gianferrari & illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
For Zara's dog, Moose, nothing is more important than being with her favorite girl. So when Zara has to go to school, WHOOSH, Moose escapes and rushes to her side. Hello, Moose! Unfortunately, dogs aren't allowed at school and Moose has to go back home. Goodbye, Moose. But Moose can't be held back for long. Through a series of escalating escapes, this loyal dog always finds her way back to Zara, and with a little bit of training and one great idea, the two friends find a way to be together all day long.
Honorable Mentions
A Friend Like Iggy book
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Binkle's Time to Fly book
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Polly and Her Duck Costume book
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How to Build a Hug book
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  1. A Friend Like Iggy - Iggy has an important job to do. The true story of Iggy, a special dog who helps kids navigate difficult times. When children disclose abuse, they often navigate an unfamiliar chain of events, sometimes testifying in court. Iggy is a specially trained facilitator dog, and his job is to make each child he meets comfortable with the job they have to do. Iggy eases their path with his gentle, non-judgmental friendship. He can be present for police interviews, counseling sessions, court preparation, and testifying. He helps children aged three to eighteen feel more comfortable and confident. It’s a big job, but not too big for a dog with an even bigger heart.

  2. Binkle's Time to Fly - Binkle cant wait until he turns from caterpillar to butterfly. Hell finally have strong, beautiful wings to take him high into the sky! But when the day comes, something is terribly wrong. Why are Binkles wings so wispy and weak? How will he ever fly like the other butterflies if his wings are nothing like theirs? Yet with some help and creativity, maybe theres more than one way to fly . . . As this charming, gorgeously illustrated story reminds us, life can present us with unwelcome challenges, but inventive alternatives and the support of others can make all the difference.

  3. Polly and Her Duck Costume - Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. The perfect tale to inspire and delight animal lovers, Polly and Her Duck Costume pairs beautiful illustrations with a truly heartwarming tale readers of all ages will adore.

  4. How to Build a Hug - Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine. As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug? Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Disabilities and Self-esteem And Self-reliance

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Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
Written by Barbara Esham & illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can't tell that he's making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets. This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgetsis the recipient of: the Academics' Choice Gold Seal Mom's Choice Award Gold Parents' Choice Award "A masterful tale of empowering children...Esham artfully describes the gifts and challenges of children with ADHD." -Dr. Susan Baum, professor emeritus, the College of New Rochelle Praise for the series: "This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children." --Dr. Carol S. Dweck
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If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi
Written by Barbara Esham & illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! Katie always thought her dad was smart--he is one of the busiest attorneys in town! People are always asking him for advice. She has been a bit confused ever since asking him for help with her weekly spelling list. How can her very smart dad struggle with one of her spelling words? This definitely didn't make sense. The word Mississippi has changed everything... This frank and thoughtful approach to dyslexia is an important exploration of the various ways people learn and that some difficulties do not have to be restrictions on what a person can achieve. "Challenges in reading and spelling are often accompanied by special abilities in areas like complex pattern recognition and spatial reasoning. If You're So Smart How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi? is a fantastic way of bringing this information to the many smart children who find reading and spelling especially difficult--especially to those who are beginning to doubt their own potential." --Drs. Brock (M.D., M.A.) and Fernette (M.D.) Eides, authors of The Mislabeled Child and founders of the Eide Neurolearning Clinic. Praise for the series: "This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children." --Dr. Carol S. Dweck
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Marvin's Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa)
Written by Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen & illustrated by Arief Kriembonga
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11
Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, emotions that sometimes overwhelm him (and others), and a diary to record it all. While Marvin got it together in Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, his lab partner Lyssa's emotional roller coaster is a bit out of control. Can he help her--and win the Science Scare-Fair--before she explodes? In the same humorous spirit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion Using the "monstercam" and "ST4" techniques developed by Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Arizona, Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion teaches kids how to be mindful, observe their surroundings, and take time to think about their actions. Marvin's hilarious doodles and diary entries chronicle his delightful adventures, misadventures, and eventual triumph in a funny, relatable way. It's the series on ADHD that kids will actually want to read! Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion also includes a resource section to help parents and teachers implement Dr. Melmed's methods, plus ST4 badge reminders that kids can remove, color, and place around the house.
Honorable Mentions
I Calm Down: A Book about Working Through Strong Emotions book
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Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus book
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Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Star book
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A Blind Guide to Stinkville book
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  1. I Calm Down: A Book about Working Through Strong Emotions - A little girl works through strong feelings and learns how to calm down. “Sometimes things seem hard, and my feelings are really big.” Strong emotions can be overwhelming for young children, and at times they need help identifying and coping with what they’re feeling. “I want to feel peaceful. I won’t hit or hurt.” Gentle and encouraging, this board book helps toddlers work through strong feelings like anger and worry. Children learn to use deep breaths, mental images, and other simple strategies to calm themselves. With straightforward words and warm illustrations, I Calm Down helps children understand that feelings change and that their own actions can make a difference in how they feel. When their feelings are too big to manage, children can ask for help and comfort from a trusted adult. A section for adults offers tips on talking about the book together, along with activities for helping children learn to calm themselves. Access to a digital download with ideas for helping toddlers feel calm is also provided. Learning About Me & You Series
    Support toddlers and young preschoolers in developing self-awareness and social awareness with these charming board books focused on early social skills. With her straightforward and encouraging style, author Cheri J. Meiners guides little ones to understand how they fit into their world and how other people fit in too. Children learn about belonging, feelings, playing, sharing, helping, and more. Perfect for group or home settings, each book includes tips and information for teachers, parents, and caregivers.

  2. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus - “High School. Two words that struck fear into the heart of every armless middle schooler I knew. Which was me. And like two people online.” The sequel to the critically acclaimed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus follows Aven Green as she confronts yet another challenge: high school. Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school . . . with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

  3. Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Star - How will Eliza make it through the sixth grade? Her ADHD tends to complicate things. . . . Eliza Bing stuck with taekwondo and earned her yellow belt even though her family expected her to quit. She’s tough enough to break boards with her bare hands! Next up: middle school, and hopefully a best friend. The school play turns out to be the perfect opportunity to befriend confident, stage-obsessed Annie. But can their friendship survive the spotlight? The joys and sorrows of middle school come to life in this funny and heartfelt sequel to Eliza Bing Is (NOT) a Big, Fat Quitter, recipient of the Christopher Award and four child-voted state award nominations.

  4. A Blind Guide to Stinkville - Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinism—or the blindness that goes with it—was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville. For the first time in her life, Alice feels different—like she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering—she can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show them—and herself—that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time. This is a stirring small-town story that explores many different issues—albinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and more—with a light touch and lots of heart. Beth Vrabel’s characters are complicated and messy, but they come together in a story about the strength of community and friendship. Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Books About Disabilities and Friendship

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The Secret Garden
Written by Brooke Jorden & illustrated by David Miles
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Join Mary, Dickon, and Colin on their heartwarming journey of friendship and gardening magic. Filled with interactive wheels and pull-tabs, and lavishly illustrated, The Secret Garden is an unprecedented kid's introduction to Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic novel. Unlike many board books that tackle the classics, Lit for Little Hands tells the actual story in simple, engaging prose. Gorgeous springtime illustrations transport the reader to the gardens and halls of Misselthwaite Manor, while tons of interactive elements invite kids to help Mary discover the secret garden, make friends, and help Colin walk! Fans of the novel will be delighted by the book's attention to detail and clever use of original text and dialogue. And the book's super-sturdy board means everyone can enjoy this tale over . . . and over . . . and over again! The magic of the secret garden will return each time you read!
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We're Amazing 1, 2, 3! (Sesame Street)
Written by Leslie Kimmelman & illustrated by Mary Beth Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
This story stars Elmo, Abby, and their friend Julia, who has autism. Together, the three pals have a delightful playdate.
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Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll
Written by Jay Miletsky & illustrated by Erin Wozniak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Unlike the other rocks that he plays with, Ricky can't roll because he isn't round. His friends help him to overcome his challenge and find a way for him to play like everyone else.
Honorable Mentions
Just Ask! book
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Rain Reign book
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Let's Pretend We Never Met book
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Ninita's Big World book
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  1. Just Ask! - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique. Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful. In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

  2. Rain Reign - A New York Times Bestseller! Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.

  3. Let's Pretend We Never Met - Mattie Markham is sweet and winning, very real, and a sixth-grade heroine. Add this book to your treasure shelf.” (Natalie Standiford, author of The Secret Tree) “A heartwarming and completely charming story about moving on, growing up, and being yourself.” (Sarah Mlynowski, New York Times bestselling author of the Whatever After series) “A gentle look at the challenges of both fitting in to a new situation and having a friend with special needs.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books) “An accessible chapter book with a clear but gently delivered message.” (Booklist) “I love how this book gets the fragile ecosystem that is middle school. There’s a purity to the voice that feels very real, very Judy Blume. Loved it!” (R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder)

  4. Ninita's Big World - “The heart-tugging true story of how YouTube star Ninita—a deaf, orphaned pygmy marmoset (the smallest type of monkey)—found family, friendship, and a forever home! Illustrated in full color. Ninita is the only known deaf pygmy marmoset in the world, but that doesn’t stop her from making friends and chasing her next adventure! Abandoned by her parents and rescued by the RSCF, this tiny, curious monkey loves exploring her habitat. And when she meets Mr. Big—another pygmy marmoset—she has finally found a friend who likes to eat, climb, and play as much as she does. A YouTube celebrity, Ninita’s videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times! “

Books About Disabilities and Bullying

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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.
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Thank You, Mr. Falker
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age. Patricia Polacco is now one of America's most loved children's book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha's dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we. This inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition, complete with a personal letter to readers from Patricia Polacco herself. Thank You, Mr. Falker will make a beautiful gift for the special child who needs encouragement or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child's life.
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Hooway for Wodney Wat
Written by Helen Lester & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Poor Rodney Rat can't pronounce his R's and the other rodents tease him mercilessly. But when Camilla Capybara joins Rodney's class and announces that she is bigger, meaner, and smarter than any of the other rodents, everyone is afraid. It seems she really is bigger, meaner, and smarter than all of the rest of them. Until our unwitting hero, Wodney Wat, catches Camilla out in a game of Simon Says. Read along with Wodney as he surprises himself and his classmates by single-handedly saving the whole class from the big bad bully. Children will delight as shy Rodney Rat triumphs over all and his tiny voice decides the day, R's or no R's.
Honorable Mentions
Sidetracked book
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A Blind Guide to Normal book
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Pack of Dorks book
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Paperboy book
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  1. Sidetracked - If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. So, he spends most of his time avoiding school bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a crazy-fast runner who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner or anybody else. With a new friend and a new team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time. Is he a good runner? Well, no, he’s terrible. But the funny thing about running is, once you’re in the race, anything can happen.

  2. A Blind Guide to Normal - Richie “Ryder” Raymond has a gift. He can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates. Heading to mainstream, or “normal” school for eighth grade is going to be awesome. After all, what’s not to like? At Addison, Ryder was everyone’s favorite person. He could make anyone laugh, especially his best friend Alice. So long as he can be first to make all of the one-eyed jokes, Ryder is sure he’ll fit in just as quick at Papuaville Middle School, home of the Fighting Guinea Pigs. But Alice warns him fitting in might not be as easy as he thinks. Turns out, Alice was right. In just the first hour of “normal” school, Ryder is attacked by General MacCathur II (aka, Gramps’s cat), causes his bio teacher to pass out cold, makes an enemy out town hero Max, and falls for Jocelyn, the fierce girl next door who happens to be Max’s girlfriend. On top of that, Ryder struggles to hold onto his dignity in the face of students’ pity and Gramps’s non-stop practical jokes. Ryder quickly sees the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help from his stuck-in-the-70s Gramps and encouragement from Alice, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace. This exciting sequel to A Blind Guide to Stinkville weaves humor, recovery and second chances into an unforgettable story, with characters who will hook you from page one.

  3. Pack of Dorks - Lucy knows that kissing Tom Lemmings behind the ball shed will make her a legend. But she doesn’t count on that quick clap of lips propelling her from coolest to lamest fourth grader overnight. Suddenly Lucy finds herself trapped in Dorkdom, where a diamond ring turns your finger green, where the boy you kiss hates you three days later, where your best friend laughs as you cry, where parents seem to stop liking you, and where baby sisters are born different. Now Lucy has a choice: she can be like her former best friend Becky, who would do anything to claim her seat at the cool table in the cafeteria, or Lucy can pull up a chair among the solo eaters—also known as the dorks. Still unsure, Lucy partners with super quiet Sam Righter on a research project about wolves. Lucy connects her own school hierarchy with what she learns about animal pack life—where some wolves pin down weaker ones just because they can, and others risk everything to fight their given place in the pack. Soon Lucy finds her third option: creating a pack of her own, even if it is simply a pack of dorks. Weaving tough issues, including bullying, loyalty, and disability, with a thread of snarky humor, family bonds, and fresh perspective, Pack of Dorks paints characters coming-of-age and coming-to-terms. Beth Vrabel’s stellar debut contemporary middle grade novel is sure to please fans of Jack Gantos, Elizabeth Atkinson, and Judy Blume. Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

  4. Paperboy - When an eleven-year-old boy takes over a friend’s newspaper route in July, 1959, in Memphis, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.

Want to see books about bullying?

Books About Disabilities and First Concepts

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A Christmas Carol
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Take a walk with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in Little Master Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit® Colors Primer. See old Jacob Marley shaking silver chains, gold stars shining around the Ghost of Christmas Past, and a red scarf keeping Tiny Tim warm. This bright retelling of a Christmas classic will scare any “bah, humbug” feelings away.
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My Ocean Is Blue
Written by Darren Lebeuf & illustrated by Ashley Barron
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
"This is my ocean," the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, as they pass the whole day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It's both "slimy" and "sandy," "sparkly" and "dull." It has wonderful sounds, as it "splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks." And it contains so many colors, from "rusted orange" to "runaway red," "faded white" to "polished green." Though "mostly it's blue." Nothing the girl experiences escapes her careful observation and appreciation. And at day's end, she can't wait for her next trip to the beach. Author Darren Lebeuf, an award-winning photographer, uses spare text and a rhythmic style to create an evocative read-aloud. The vivid adjectives, both concrete and abstract, will inspire children to try to capture in words what they notice not only at the ocean, but in any natural setting. The bright, richly colored cut-paper collage illustrations by Ashley Barron add a captivating visual texture and depth to the story. The portrayal of a girl with a physical disability enjoying and actively participating in a day at the beach encourages all children to do the same in their own lives, while also offering a character education lesson in adaptability. This book has strong curriculum ties to primary nature units and life science lessons on oceans and the seaside, and it offers a perfect focus for nature-based education and outdoor classrooms.
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The Black Book of Colors
Written by Menena Cottin & illustrated by Rosana Faria
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Living with the use of one's eyes can make imagining blindness difficult, but this innovative title invites readers to imagine living without sight through remarkable illustrations done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers. This extraordinary title gives young readers the ability to experience the world in a new way.
Honorable Mentions
My Travelin' Eye book
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I Like Berries, Do You? book
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  1. My Travelin' Eye - Jenny Sue loves that her “travelin’ eye” lets her see the world in a special way, and so she is not happy when her teacher suggests that her parents take her to an opthamologist to fix the lazy eye.

  2. I Like Berries, Do You? - This light-hearted board book by the author of “I Can, Can You?” and “My Up & Down & All Around Book” features wonderful photographs of young children with Down syndrome enjoying a wide selection of healthful foods, from fruits and vegetables to meats and snacks. Simple, singsong questions — I like broccoli, do you? — invite participation by little ones (aged birth to 4 years) as they anticipate and say the word for the food in each photograph. And when youngsters see children just like themselves eating nutritious foods with different textures, temperatures, colours, tastes, and smells, they will want to try them too! The book encourages a varied diet that can minimise potential sensory or oral-motor issues often associated with Down syndrome. Read it from cover to cover with your child, or tailor it to meet your child’s specific dietary needs (GF/CF, non-allergenic).

Books About Disabilities and Family

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The Alphabet War
Written by Diane Burton Robb & illustrated by Gail Piazza
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
When Adam started kindergarten, the teacher wanted him to learn about letters. But "p" looked like "q," and "b" looked like "d." In first grade, he had to put the letters into words so he could read. That was the beginning of the Alphabet War! This engaging picture book will encourage children with dyslexia that their struggles will get easier over time, and provides a great resources for parents and educators.
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Dad and Me in the Morning
Written by Patricia Lakin & illustrated by Robert G. Steele
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Early one morning, a young boy wakes to the light of his alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aids and clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they brave the cold as they walk down the dirt road that leads to the beach. Lakin's understated story reminds readers that sometimes the best way to communicate doesn't involve words, while Steele's watercolor illustrations show that beauty is never far away.
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Robot on the Loose
Written by Henry Winkler & illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Hank, the star of the bestselling easy-to-read series, is back! This time, he has to learn the nuts and bolts of making a robot–and making a friend! Hank’s school is hosting its first-ever Build-a-Robot competition and Hank is ready to win. There’s just one problem: he completely forgot about the contest! While other kids have been working on their robots for a month, Hank has just two days to create an amazing robot that will wow the judges and win him the trophy. To make matters worse, there might be another problem, too. Hank has no idea how to build a robot! With help from Jaden, a robot expert at his school, Hank and his friends construct their robot, Stanley, just in time. But on the day of the competition, Stanley malfunctions! It will take Hank, Frankie, Ashley, and their new friend Jaden to get it back on track. Forget winning the trophy–Hank has to stop a robot on the loose!
Honorable Mentions
Leah's Voice book
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Al Capone Does My Homework book
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A Plan for Pops book
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Granny Torrelli Makes Soup book
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  1. Leah's Voice - Leah’s Voice is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with special needs such as autism. Children who have a brother or sister with special needs may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends aren’t more understanding. Leah’s Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.

  2. Al Capone Does My Homework - Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn’t the most normal place to grow up, but it’s home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose’s dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it’s a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan’s apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose’s dad too? If Moose can’t figure out what Capone’s note means, it may be too late.

  3. A Plan for Pops - Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will be confined to a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.

  4. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup - Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today. Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

Books About Disabilities and Culture

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The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
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The War That Saved My Life
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
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I See Things Differently
Written & illustrated by Pat Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
"This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it."
Honorable Mentions
A Christmas Carol book
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Medio Pollito book
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The Door in the Wall book
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Wild Blues book
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  1. A Christmas Carol - Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean old man with no friends or family to love him – he’s just so miserable and bitter! One freezing cold Christmas Eve, Marley’s Ghost pays Scrooge a visit and an eerie night-time journey begins. The Christmas spirits are here to show Scrooge the error if his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, will Scrooge learn to love Christmas and the others around him?

  2. Medio Pollito - The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.

  3. The Door in the Wall - Winner of the Newbery Award, this “enthralling and inspiring tale of triumph. . . . make[s] life in England during the Middle Ages come alive” (The New York Times). Ever since he can remember, Robin, child of Sir John de Bureford, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin’s destiny is changed suddenly when he falls ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing a plague, his servants abandon him, and Robin is left alone. A monk named Brother Luke rescues Robin and takes him to the hospice of St. Mark’s, where he is taught woodcarving and patience and strength. Says Brother Luke, “Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it.” Robin learns soon enough what Brother Luke means. When the great castle of Lindsay is in danger, Robin discovers that there is more than one way to serve his king. “A poignant story, full of action, and a strongly painted canvas of the times as well.” —The New Yorker

  4. Wild Blues - The threat of two escaped convicts and a missing friend lead Lizzie on a harrowing journey through the wilds of the Adirondacks in this stunning novel from National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart. Thirteen-year-old Lizzie’s favorite place in the world is her uncle’s cabin. Uncle Davy’s renovated schoolhouse cabin, filled with antiques and on the edge of the Adirondacks, disconnected from the rest of the world, is like something out of a fairy tale. And an escape from reality is exactly what Lizzie needs. Life hasn’t been easy for Lizzie lately. Her father abandoned their family, leaving Lizzie with her oftentimes irresponsible mother. Now, her mom has cancer and being unable to care for Lizzie during her chemotherapy, Mom asks her where she’d like to spend the summer. The answer is simple: Uncle Davy’s cabin. Lizzie loves her uncle’s home for many reasons, but the main one is Matias, Uncle Davy’s neighbor and Lizzie’s best friend. Matias has proportionate dwarfism, but that doesn’t stop him and Lizzie from wandering in the woods. Every day they go to their favorite nook where Matias paints with watercolors and Lizzie writes. Until one day when Matias never arrives. When news breaks about two escaped convicts from the nearby prison, Lizzie fears the worst. And when Uncle Davy goes missing, too, Lizzie knows she’s the only one who knows this area of woods well enough to save them. Armed with her trusted Keppy survival book, Lizzie sets out into the wilds of the Adirondacks, proving just how far she’ll go to save the people she loves.

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Books About Disabilities and Action And Adventure

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Anya and the Nightingale
Written by Sofiya Pasternack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
**The adventure continues in this exciting sequel to _Anya and the Dragon_ in which a dangerous monster lurks beneath the city and only Anya can keep him from taking her friends’ magic—and their lives. Perfect for fans of _The Girl Who Drank the Moon._** It’s been a year since a violent Viking terrorized the small village of Zmeyreka and Anya and her foolish friend Ivan saved a friendly dragon from being sacrificed for his magic. But things still aren’t safe in the kingdom of Kievan Rus’.  After embarking on a journey to bring her papa home from war, Anya discovers a powerful forest creature terrorizing travelers. But she soon learns that he’s not the monster the kingdom should fear. There’s an even greater evil that lurks under the city.    Can Anya stop the monster, save her papa, and find her way home? Or will the secrets of Kiev leave Anya and her friends trapped beneath the city forever?
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Max and the Millions
Written by Ross Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the vein of The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard, this is an imaginative, irresistible, and incredible exploration into what happens when one boy discovers a kingdom of tiny people. The day before summer vacation, Max's closest friend at boarding school disappears, leaving behind his amazing model collection and a handful of sand on his bedroom floor. Like Max, the eccentric janitor Mr. Darrow is a genius at building tiny models. Eight weeks later, Max finds that the sand has magically transformed into a whole desert kingdom--filled with millions of tiny people! Max wears hearing aids, and they allow him to hear the ant-sized people. There's a boy named Luke who's about to become king. But when Max appears, he plunges their world into chaos. Luckily, Luke has two strong allies: Ivy, a fearless girl, and Luke's trusty steed--a flea. While Max and his new friend Sasha fight to protect the Floor from their evil headmaster, Luke must fight to save it from being destroyed by all-out war.
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Nadya Skylung and the Masked Kidnapper
Written by Jeff Seymour & illustrated by Brett Helquist
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Nadya Skylung paid a high price when she defeated the pirates on the cloudship Remora- She lost her leg. But has she lost her nerve too? When Nadya and the rest of the crew of the cloudship Orion reach the port of Far Agondy, they have a lot to do, including a visit to Machinist Gossner's workshop to have a prosthetic made for Nadya. But though the pirates are far away across the Cloud Sea, Nadya and her friends are still not safe. A gang leader called Silvermask is kidnapping skylung and cloudling children in Far Agondy. When Nadya's friend Aaron is abducted, Nayda will stop at nothing to save him and the other missing kids, and put a stop to Silvermask once and for all.
Honorable Mentions
The Christmasaurus book
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Everybody Is Somebody book
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The Big Game book
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The Hotel Between book
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  1. The Christmasaurus - Why settle for a pony or a puppy for Christmas when you could have a dinosaur? A rollicking adventure from singer-songwriter and YouTuber Tom Fletcher. Once upon a time—long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth—an egg rolled away from its mother and landed in the ocean, where it froze solid and stayed peacefully for thousands of years. Then one day Santa and his elves discover the frozen egg, and Santa sits on it to see if it will hatch. But he can’t guess what’s inside. . . . A dinosaur! Meanwhile, a young boy named William Trundle has only ever wished for one thing for Christmas: a dinosaur! So when Santa accidentally gives William the real Christmasaurus instead of a stuffed replica, it’s the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! Until an evil man known as the Hunter decides a dinosaur will be the perfect addition to his collection. A wild and hilarious adventure ensues. An instant Christmas classic!

  2. Everybody Is Somebody - In the final book of this bestselling easy-to-read series, Hank begins a new chapter! When a well-known author of a beloved book series visits Hank’s school, he and his two best friends get the chance to be her guide for the day and introduce her at an assembly. But Hank, embarrassed by his struggles with reading, tries to hide the fact that he’s never actually finished reading the author’s books—or any book, for that matter! So Hank gets creative and makes up his own version of the story. But will everyone be able to tell fact from fiction? This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is an adventure!

  3. The Big Game - New York Times bestselling author and former NFL defensive end Tim Green encourages readers to fight for their dreams in this heartfelt story about a young football star grappling with the stress of living up to his father’s name. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica! Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super Bowl champion father, who recently passed away. Danny promises everyone that, just like his dad, he’ll dominate the big game at the end of the season and earn a spot on the high school varsity team. Then his English teacher catches him cheating on a test. Even though Danny can retake it, he knows there’s no point. He can’t read. And if Danny can’t pass this class, he won’t be eligible to play in the championship game that could unlock his future. While his resentment rises against the only person willing to help him win off the field, the pressure to succeed begins to weigh heavily on Danny’s shoulders. Danny is being tested on every level now, and to pass, he may very well have to choose a different path from his father’s.

  4. The Hotel Between - A magical hotel, a mysterious tree, and a cryptic story about their missing father leads twins Cam and Cass on a worldly adventure in this enchanting debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Wildwood. Twins Cam and Cass have never known their parents. They’ve been told their mother died, and Cass is certain their father abandoned them. Cam isn’t so sure. He wants to prove her wrong; he must. Cam’s wish is soon granted in the form of a glistening, golden sign with elaborate flourishes that reads: The Hotel Between. With doors that open to countries all over the world, magical trollies, charmed corridors that can be altered on a whim, stone elephants that turn to life, sweets made from rocks; everything is possible in The Hotel. Cam has a hunch his father is somehow connected to this magical place, and may even be lost within its hidden halls. Every journey has its risks, and The Hotel Between is full of dangerous secrets. If Cam’s not careful, his stay may be over before his vacation has even started.

Books About Disabilities and Autism

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Tacos Anyone? An Autism Story
Written by Marvie Ellis & illustrated by Jenny Loehr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Summary: Michael is a four year old boy with autism. His older brother, Thomas, doesn't understand why Michael behaves the way he does. The therapist teaches Thomas how to play with Michael, making sibling time fun again. This fully color illustrated, bilingual (English and Spanish) children's book is written for young readers, parents, siblings, family members, and professionals who work with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recipient of the 2005 Barbara Jordan Media Award.
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Ethan's Story
Written by Ethan Rice and Melissa Ringsted & illustrated by Crystal Ord
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
"When Ethan Rice was four years old, he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He decided that he wanted to tell his first grade class that he had autism on his seventh birthday. His parents asked him many questions about what having autism felt like for him and wrote his answers down as a reference for when he told his class. Those answers are now published so more people can understand what it is like to have autism. While each child on the spectrum has unique challenges and strengths, Ethan's Story; My Life with Autism is Ethan's own story."-- P. [4] of cover.
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Al Capone Does My Shirts
Written & illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister Natalie. A Newbery Honor Book & ALA Notable Book. Reprint. Jr Lib Guild & Children's BOMC.
Honorable Mentions
My Friend with Autism book
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Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome book
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Everybody is Different book
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Counting by 7s book
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  1. My Friend with Autism - Children describe what makes their autistic friend different but also explain the activities at which he excels, in a book with coloring pages and resources for parents and educators on a CD-ROM.

  2. Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome - When Sam, a young boy who has trouble making friends at school, wanders away from home to the fair alone, his parents take him to the doctor where he is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

  3. Everybody is Different - A book specifically designed to answer various questions that brothers and sisters of young people with autism may have, including “What is autism?”, “Is there a cure?,” and “Why does my brother or sister not look at me?”

  4. Counting by 7s - Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.

Books About Disabilities and Family Life

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Caterpillar Summer
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a "meltdown", Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.
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Meena Meets Her Match
Written by Karla Manternach & illustrated by Rayner Alencar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Graduates of the Ramona Quimby series will adore Meena Zee as she navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and personal secrets in this charming middle grade debut. Meena’s life is full of color. She wears vibrant clothes, eats every shade of the rainbow, and plucks eye-catching trash from the neighborhood recycling bins. But when Meena’s best friend, Sofía, stops playing with her at recess and she experiences an unexpected and scary incident at breakfast, nothing can fight off the gray. That’s when Meena comes up with a plan to create the BEST and most COLORFUL Valentine’s Day Box in the class. With the help of her cousin, Eli, and her stuffed zebra, Raymond, Meena discovers that the best way to break through the blah is to let her true colors shine.
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Bat and the End of Everything
Written by Elana K. Arnold & illustrated by Charles Santoso
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
The third book in the funny and joyful series Katherine Applegate has called “tender and important,” by National Book Award finalist Elana K. Arnold. Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat) has been the caretaker for Thor, the best skunk kit in the world...but the last day of third grade is quickly approaching, and Thor is almost ready to be released into the wild. The end of school also means that Bat has to say good-bye to his favorite teacher, and he worries about the summer care of Babycakes, their adorable class pet. Not only that, but his best friend is leaving for a long vacation in Canada. Summer promises good things, too, like working with his mom at the vet clinic and hanging out with his sister, Janie. But Bat can’t help but feel that everything is coming to an end. National Book Award finalist Elana K. Arnold returns with the third story starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.
Honorable Mentions
The Space We're in book
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House of Robots: Robot Revolution book
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After the Worst Thing Happens book
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The Chalk Rainbow book
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  1. The Space We're in - Ten-year-old Frank has trouble navigating his relationship with his younger brother Max who is autistic. Frank loves soccer, codes, riding his bike, and playing with his friends. His brother Max is five. Max only eats foods that are beige or white, hates baths, and if he has to wear a t-shirt that isn’t gray with yellow stripes he melts down down down. Frank longs for the brother he was promised by his parents before Max was born—someone who was supposed to be his biggest fan, so he could be the best brother in the world. Instead, Frank has trouble navigating Max’s behavior and their relationship. But when tragedy strikes, Frank finds a way to try and repair their fractured family and in doing so learns to love Max for who he is. In her debut novel, Katya Balen uses her knowledge of autism and experience working with autistic people to create an intriguing and intense yet always respectful family story. For readers of Counting by 7s and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

  2. House of Robots: Robot Revolution - Robots on strike! Sammy’s underappreciated mechanical helpers are causing chaos in book 3 of the bestselling House of Robots series. After a few early glitches in their relationship, Sammy and his “bro-bot” E are now fast friends. In fact, E is such a valued member of the family that the other electronic occupants of the House of Robots are feeling sorely unappreciated. And when Sammy’s inventor mom becomes distracted by a top-secret project, the robots soon begin to fall into disrepair. Cue a robot revolt, with the droids wreaking harmless havoc in the house! Armed with pranks like glue in the shampoo bottles and flying toast missiles, the robots demand to be cared for. It’s up to Sammy and his disabled sister Maddie to keep the peace until his mom reveals her secret project…and why it was worth the wait.

  3. After the Worst Thing Happens - Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident, 12-year-old Army Morand channels her grief to help someone in need. Army Morand feels like her life has been blown to bits when the worst thing imaginable happens—her beloved dog dies. It was an accident, but it was also Army’s fault. She can’t seem to stop hiding from everything and everybody including her best friend JennaLouise. But then Army sees Madison, the little girl who moved in across the way, climbing a tree and walking down the street unsupervised. Her family is not neglectful, just overwhelmed. Army finds herself overcome with the need to help Madison’s family to make sure another worst thing doesn’t happen—which becomes even more challenging when a big storm threatens her town. After the Worst Thing Happens is a bittersweet story about a girl surprised by the force of a growing need inside her to reach out and lend a hand while trying to escape the swirling sadness of her own sudden loss. In the end, it is about finding love and hope and friendship in very surprising places.

  4. The Chalk Rainbow - The Chalk Rainbow explores difference and diversity through a family living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s also a story of unconditional love, of trust and of learning to look at the world through the eyes of others. The story is told by Zane’s older sister in a way that young children can easily relate to. The ending is uplifting as all members of the family learn to look at things differently and find a way to move forward together.

Books About Disabilities and Self-esteem

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The Junkyard Wonders
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Inspired by a teacher who believes each of them is a genius, a class of special-needs students invents something that could convince the whole school they are justifiably proud to be "Junkyard Wonders."
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As Brave As You
Written & illustrated by Jason Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Kirkus Award Finalist Schneider Family Book Award Winner Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award. Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans). How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all. Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?
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I Am Not a Label
Written by Cerrie Burnell & illustrated by Lauren Mark Baldo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-12
**In this stylishly illustrated biography anthology, meet 30 artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities, from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences, and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.** These short biographies tell the stories of **people who have faced unique challenges that have not stopped them** from becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and makers. Each person is a leading figure in their field, be it sports, science, math, art, breakdancing, or the world of pop. **Challenge your preconceptions of disability and mental health** with the eye-opening stories of these remarkable people: Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Kirchoff, Henri Matisse, Eliza Suggs, Helen Keller, Frida Kahlo, John Nash, Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, Stevie Wonder, Nabil Shaban, Terry Fox, Peter Dinklage, Wanda Diaz Merced, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, Dr Victor Pineda, Farida Bedwei, Stella Young, Lady Gaga, Arunima Sinha, Naoki Higashida, Isabella Spingmuhl Tejada, Aaron Philip, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Redouan Ait Chitt, Jonas Jacobsson, Trischa Zorn, Ade Adepitan, and Nick Jonas.
Honorable Mentions
Hello, Universe book
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Super Dorks (Pack of Dorks) book
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Love and First Sight book
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  1. Hello, Universe - Winner of the Newbery Medal “A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships. Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms. The acclaimed and award-winning author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia. “Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal

  2. Super Dorks (Pack of Dorks) - Lucy is ready to be a superhero! Lucy loves her best friends—her pack of dorks. But this year, everyone in the pack has become a hero . . . except for her! Sam rescues twin toddlers about to get hit by a car. April helps bring about the downfall of a ring of bicycle thieves. Sheldon and Amanda launch a campaign to protect turtle eggs laid on the school playground. Even Lucy’s new teacher asks the class about their bravest moments. But Lucy’s not brave—she doesn’t even like to go to the basement by herself! So Lucy decides she’s going to do something heroic. She’ll be a super dork! This might be her chance to find her awesome. Unfortunately, all her attempts to help save the day seem to go awry, and usually end up making the situation much worse. Is ordinary dorkdom her destiny—or can Lucy ever find a way to be a hero?

  3. Love and First Sight - A stunning debut novel about the nature of love, trust, and new perspectives from memoirist and YouTuber Josh Sundquist—now in paperback! As blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter starts to find his footing at a new school, he develops a crush on a quiet girl named Cecily. Then, an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that will give Will eyesight for the first time. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon learns that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Books About Disabilities and School

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A Friend for Henry
Written by Jenn Bailey & illustrated by Mika Song
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship.
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All My Stripes
Written by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer & illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his "autism stripe," he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more.
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A Whole New Ballgame
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court. With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.
Honorable Mentions
Looking After Louis book
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Snow Lane book
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  1. Looking After Louis - When a new boy with autism joins their classroom, the children try to understand his world and to include him in theirs.

  2. Snow Lane - Fifth grader Annie is just like every other girl in her small suburban town. Except she’s starting to realize that she isn’t. Annie is the youngest of nine children. Instead of being condemned to the bottom of the pecking order, she wants to carve out place for herself in the world. But it’s hard to find your destiny when the only thing you’re good at is being cheerful. Annie is learning that it’s difficult to be Annie, period, and not just because her clothes are worn-out hand-me-downs, and she suffers from a crippling case of dyslexia, but also because there are secrets in her life no one in her family is willing to face. In Snow Lane, Josie Angelini presents a story about a resilient girl who, in spite of many hardships, can still find light in the darkest of places.

Books About Disabilities and Sports And Recreation

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Rookie of the Year
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Combining fast-paced action for young readers and fresh, humorous takes on school issues for teachers, this installment in the Rip and Red series is an illustrated chapter book that both audiences will love. Just when they think they've got the hang of things, Rip and Red find that fifth grade continues to challenge them in head-spinning ways. Tiki, a new girl whose Egyptian dad is an animal-rights activist, has just joined their class. She's charismatic, funny—and she's got game! Rip has his world turned upside down as Tiki proves to be tough competition on the Clifton United basketball team and leads a rebellion against the lousy new food service in the school cafeteria. Red—a kid on the autism spectrum—is struggling with the upheavals as well. But as these two funky and funny best friends discover, sometimes radical change is the right move, on the court and off. Phil Bildner and Tim Probert return to the Rip and Red series that started with A Whole New Ballgame in a sequel that is just as fun and entertaining as the first book, Rookie of the Year.
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Most Valuable Players
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
With their fifth grade graduation only weeks away, Rip, Red, and the rest of their classmates must decide if boycotting a test is worth forfeiting their graduation gala and the opportunity to play with Hoops Machine, a Harlem Globetrotters-like team.
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Tournament of Champions
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The third book in a fun, illustrated middle-grade series about friendship, school, and basketball. It's spring of their fifth-grade year and Rip and Red have a thrilling opportunity to participate in a weekend basketball tournament with a few other members of Clifton United. While the tournament is only a short bus ride away, both boys will travel outside their comfort zones. Ultra-competitive Rip must play on a team with kids he doesn't like. But he faces an even bigger hurdle when someone from his past returns, someone he hasn't seen in years, someone who just may derail the entire weekend. As for Red, because of his autism spectrum disorder, he's never traveled anywhere without his mother. Will he muster the courage to take the trip? Fortunately for both boys, also on the team is an unlikely addition, a source of inspiration who helps everyone discover the true meaning of the word champion. Tournament of Champions by Phil Bildner, with illustrations by Tim Probert, is a fun, fast-paced, and diverse middle grade novel perfect for reluctant readers and sports fans. Read all of the Rip and Red series: A Whole New Ballgame Rookie of the Year Tournament of Champions Most Valuable Players Praise for Rookie of the Year: “This fast, fun read featuring characters who love books as much as basketball will appeal to sports fans and nonathletes alike.” —School Library Journal “A diverse cast of characters highlights this good-natured, high-spirited slice of life.” —Kirkus Reviews Praise for A Whole New Ballgame: “The book depicts the evolution of a group of fifth graders who learn a lot, grow a lot, and help one another . . . The charming and diverse characters [are] pure fun with a lot of heart.” —School Library Journal “If the students are inspiring, so is [their teacher] Mr. Acevedo, who risks his job to do such radical things as reading aloud and encouraging free reading. (He's supposed to be preparing the kids to take tests!) Probert's cartoonish illustrations lend energy and personality to the likable cast of characters.” —Kirkus Reviews “This warm slice-of-life novel from Bildner engages and entertains . . . Probert's energetic illustrations match the positive exuberance of the story.” —Publishers Weekly “With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.” —Children's Book Council
Honorable Mentions
Full Court Press book
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The William Hoy Story book
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Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench! book
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Team Players book
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  1. Full Court Press - From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the second novel in a brand-new middle-grade series with as much heart as there is game.

  2. The William Hoy Story - All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires’ calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William “Dummy” Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!

  3. Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench! - In this winning addition to the easy-to-read bestselling series, Hank has to hustle to prove he can be his basketball team’s secret weapon! For two years running, Hank’s school has beaten their arch rivals at the annual second grade basketball game. When his friends try out, Hank is determined to play, too. There’s just one problem: Hank is terrible at basketball. Luckily Dr. Dunk (AKA Hank’s dad) and Hank’s friends have his back. With a little help, Hank just might be what the team needs to win their first three-peat in PS 87 history! This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is a slam dunk! From the Trade Paperback edition.

  4. Team Players - Cassie must learn that you can’t “fix” someone else after a girl with Aspergers joins her softball team in the fourth and final book of the Home Team series from New York Times bestselling author and sports-writing legend Mike Lupica. Cassie Bennett is great at being in charge. She always knows what to do to lead her teams to victory, keep her many groups of friends together, or fix any problem that comes her way. So when Sarah Milligan, an autistic girl with unreal softball skills, joins Cassie’s team, Cassie’s sure she can help her fit in with the team. But before long it’s obvious that being around so many people is really hard for Sarah, and the more Cassie tries to reach out and involve her, the more Sarah pushes her away, sometimes literally. It doesn’t help that Cassie’s teammates aren’t as interested in helping Sarah as they are in making sure they make it to the new softball All-Star Tournament that’ll be televised just like the Little League World Series. Soon no one besides Cassie seems to even want Sarah on the team anymore, and the harder Cassie tries to bring everyone together, the worse things seem to get. Cassie Bennett never backs down from a challenge, but can she realize that maybe the challenge isn’t fixing a problem in someone else, but in herself? Or will her stubbornness lead her to lose more than just softball games?

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