Best Children's Books About Disabilities

27 Children's Books About Disabilities

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Through Grandpa's Eyes book
#1
Through Grandpa's Eyes
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray
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.

Full Court Press book
#2
Full Court Press
Written and illustrated by Elena Delle Donne
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood's Revenge book
#3
Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood's Revenge
Written by Susan Vaught
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“An excellent addition to middle grade shelves, with a differently-abled main character that readers will root for.” —School Library Journal “Vaught makes Max the brash, bold star of the book, exchanging stereotypes and sympathy cards for a well-drawn character whose disability is part of who she is but not her complete identity; hopefully Max will roll ahead as the advance guard of a literary cadre.” —BCCB A Parents’ Choice Recommended Book It’s going to take more than a knack for electronics and a supercharged wheelchair for twelve-year-old Max to investigate a haunted mansion in Edgar Award–winning author Susan Vaught’s latest middle grade mystery. Max has always been a whiz with electronics (just take a look at her turbo-charged wheelchair). But when a hacker starts a slanderous Facebook page for her grandpa, Max isn’t sure she has the skills to take him down. The messages grow increasingly sinister, and Max fears that this is more than just a bad joke. Here’s the thing: Max has grown up in the shadow of Thornwood Manor, an abandoned mansion that is rumored to be haunted by its original owner, Hargrove Thornwood. It is said that his ghost may be biding his time until he can exact revenge on the town of Blue Creek. Why? Well, it’s complicated. To call him a jerk would be an understatement. When the hacking escalates, suddenly it looks to Max like this could really be Thornwood’s Revenge. If it is, these messages are just the beginning—and the town could be in danger.

I Am Helen Keller book
#4
I Am Helen Keller
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, Brad Meltzer
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"

Little Helpers: Animals on the Job! book
#5
Little Helpers: Animals on the Job!
Written and illustrated by Michéle Brummer Everett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Worth a Thousand Words book
#6
Worth a Thousand Words
Written by Brigit Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ever since Tillie Green's car accident left her with a severe limp, she's kept herself hidden behind her camera. Through the lens, she watches her family and classmates, spotting the small details and secret glances that tell a much bigger story than what people usually see. Students call her "Lost and Found," because her camera knows when you last had your headphones. Tillie is good at finding things, but she isn't prepared for Jake's request: to find his father. In a matter of days, Tillie goes from silent observer to one half of a detective duo, searching the college-town community for clues to explain Jake's dad's disappearance. When the truth isn't what Jake wants it to be, and taking photographs starts exposing people's secrets, Tillie has to decide what (and who) is truly important to her.

The Alphabet War book
#7
The Alphabet War
Written by Diane Burton Robb and 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.

Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets book
#8
Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets
Written by Barbara Esham and 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

If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi book
#9
If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi
Written by Barbara Esham and 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

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus book
#10
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Written by Dusti Bowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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?

Florence & Leon book
#11
Florence & Leon
Written by Simon Boulerice and 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.

Ninita's Big World book
#12
Ninita's Big World
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"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! "

Medio Pollito book
#13
Medio Pollito
Written by Amanda StJohn and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

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.

Lola and I book
#14
Lola and I
Written by Chiara Valentina Segré and illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Secretly told through the perspective of a seeing-eye dog, Lola and I is a story of a friendship with a rocky start. Lola, the human, was blinded in a car accident. She moves to the city with her seeing-eye dog, Star, and Star describes Lola's pains and struggles as she adjusts to her new condition. Eventually with Star's help, Lola is able to find joy in her day-to-day life and her friendship with Star grows.

Une Place Pour Edouard book
#15
Une Place Pour Edouard
Written by Beatrice Gernot and illustrated by Diana Toledano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

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...

Becoming Eli book
#16
Becoming Eli
Written and illustrated by Dan Ungureanu
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-15

A graphic novelization of the life of Elisabeta Moldovan, a young Romanian woman abandoned as a child and raised in institutions, who today works as a self-advocate and an advocate for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Stephen Hawking book
#17
Stephen Hawking
Written by Isabel Muñoz and illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Known for both his bestselling books and his work on black holes, physicist Stephen Hawking beat the odds and lived with ALS for longer than doctors ever expected. This engrossing biography shows why Hawking is an inspiring example of someone who pursued his dreams in spite of his disability. Follow his path to fame as he formulates his groundbreaking theory, expands our ideas about the universe, and becomes an admired "rock-star scientist."

Wonder book
#18
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.

A Friend Like Iggy book
#19
A Friend Like Iggy
Written by Kathryn Cole and illustrated by Ian Richards
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

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.

The Sound of Silence book
#20
The Sound of Silence
Written by Myron Uhlberg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

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.

Dad and Me in the Morning book
#21
Dad and Me in the Morning
Written by Patricia Lakin and 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.

Caterpillar Summer book
#22
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.

Thank You, Mr. Falker book
#23
Thank You, Mr. Falker
Written and 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.

El Deafo book
#24
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."

Fish in a Tree book
#25
Fish in a Tree
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16

"Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read"--

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.