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Diseases: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about diseases?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to diseases. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about diseases.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about diseases, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Llama Llama Time to Share to popular sellers like The Kill Order to some of our favorite hidden gems like Caleb and Kit.

We hope this list of kids books about diseases can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.
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Llama Llama Time to Share
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Does Llama Llama love his toys? Of course! Does Llama Llama love to share them? He's not so sure. But when the new neighbor Nelly Gnu comes to visit, Mama makes it clear: It's time to share. But Llama's not so sure it's time to share all his toys. Maybe just his blocks? It could be fun to make a castle with Nelly ... But wait -- Nelly has Llama's little Fuzzy Llama! Can Llama Llama do it? At first he thinks he can ... and then he really thinks he can't ... until Mama shows him that when he's ready to share, he'll also be ready to have more fun.
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Fever 1793
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where "the plot rages like the epidemic itself" (The New York Times Book Review). During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.
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The Fantastic Body
Written by Howard Bennett
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The Fantastic Body is the ultimate kids' reference guide to the human body! Jam-packed with fun facts, cool diagrams, and gross stories, and written by a successful, practicing pediatrician, this go-to guide will captivate curious readers for hours on end. Kids will take their learning beyond reading the book with DIY projects that demonstrate different bodily functions and tips for making their regular checkups less scary. Through humor, science, and engaging illustrations, this fun and comprehensive reference book is perfect for kids who want to know more about the mysterious stuff going on inside their bodies.
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How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?
Written by Vanessa Bayer & illustrated by Rosie Butcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
You and your friend Bear are an excellent pair. But if your friend gets sick, And can’t do all the things that you two love to do... You may wonder--how do you care for a very sick Bear? When someone dear is dealing with illness, it's difficult to know what to do or say. The actor Vanessa Bayer experienced this firsthand when she was treated for childhood leukemia. In her first children's book, she offers gentle, reassuring advice that people of all ages will appreciate.
Diabetes Doesn't Stop Maddie! book
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Echo's Sister book
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When a Kid Like Me Fights Cancer book
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Cancer Hates Kisses book
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  • Diabetes Doesn't Stop Maddie! - Maddie was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She’s nervous about managing her disease and telling others. But as she goes back to school, plays soccer, and spends time with her friends, she becomes more comfortable and confident talking about her health. A sensitive story that’s a great introduction to understanding diabetes for anyone who has the disease or knows someone who does.

  • Echo's Sister - From critically acclaimed author Paul Mosier, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, comes a stunning story about the beauty of family, the power of community, and ultimately the strength of the human spirit. Twelve-year-old El has planned on making her first week at a new school fantastic. She won’t go by her given name, Laughter. She’ll sit in the back of the classroom where she can make new friends. She won’t even have time to think about all the fun her old friends are having without her. Everything will be great. But when her dad picks her up after school and tells her that her younger sister, Echo, has a life-threatening illness, her world is suddenly turned upside down. And with her parents now pressed for time and money, El feels lost and powerless. Then she befriends Octavius, the only other kid in school who gets what she’s going through. As El begins to adjust to her new life, she soon finds that maybe a little hope and a lot of love can overcome any obstacle.

  • When a Kid Like Me Fights Cancer - When a young boy finds out he has cancer, he learns a lot right away. He learns that cancer is something you fight, and that cancer isn’t anyone’s fault—especially not his. He discovers that many things change with cancer, but some of the most important things stay the same. He also learns that having cancer is easier when everyone around him wants to help him fight.

  • Cancer Hates Kisses - Mothers are superheroes when they’re battling cancer, and this empowering picture book gives them an honest yet spirited way to share the difficult experience with their kids. Author Jessica Reid Sliwerski was diagnosed with breast cancer four months after giving birth to her daughter. And through all the stages of treatment—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, losing her hair—she thought about how hard it would be to talk to your child about cancer while coping with it. She wrote this picture book to give other parents and their children an encouraging tool for having those conversations—a lovingly upbeat book that is also refreshingly authentic and straightforward. With its simple text and heartwarming illustrations, Cancer Hates Kisses is relatable to any type of cancer.

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Mini Sweets
Written by Helen Perelman & illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Join the Candy Fairies for one last delicious adventure in this final book of the Candy Fairies series. The latest sugartastic story brings a new baby to the Candy Kingdom. Princess Mini is Princess Lolli and Prince Scoop’s new baby, and Berry the Fruit Fairy is the lucky one who’s been watching over her. But the littlest candy fairy has cocoa fever, an illness that wrecks havoc on Sugar Valley! Can Berry figure out a way to save the royal day?
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Halfway Normal
Written & illustrated by Barbara Dee
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
Twelve-year-old cancer survivor Norah struggles to fit in at middle school after two years of treatment, but she finds her voice with the help of new friend Griffin, who shares her love of mythology.
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The Fever Code
Written by James Dashner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17
Once there was a world’s end. The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled. Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man. Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy. The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze. Now there are secrets. There are lies. And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen. This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down. All will be revealed.
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Bubble
Written & illustrated by Stewart Foster
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-10
Wonder meets Mark Haddon in the poignant and uplifting debut novel about superheroes, super-nurses, and the beauty you can find in hope. Eleven-year-old Joe has never had a life outside of the hospital, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his bubble. Then a new nurse offers Joe the possibility of going outside. But Joe doesn’t know if the nurse is serious—or whether he could survive the adventure. Bubble is the touching story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustration, and looks—with superhero-style bravery, curiosity, and hope—to a future without limits.
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Cyclone
Written & illustrated by Doreen Cronin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
Nora’s whole world plummets faster than the Cyclone roller coaster when her cousin Riley falls into a coma that Nora thinks is her fault in this warm, big-hearted debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Doreen Cronin. Riding the Cyclone, the world famous Coney Island rollercoaster, was supposed to be the highlight of Nora’s summer. But right after they disembark, Nora’s cousin Riley falls to the ground…and doesn’t get up. Nora had begged and dragged Riley onto the ride, and no matter what the doctors say, that she had a heart condition, that it could have happened at any time, Nora knows it was her fault. Then, as Riley comes out of her coma, she’s not really Riley at all. The cousin who used to be loud and funny and unafraid now can’t talk, let alone go to the bathroom by herself. Now she’s only 10% Riley. Nora, guilt eating her up on the inside worse than a Coney Island hotdog, thinks she knows how to help. How to get 100% Riley back. But what Nora doesn’t realize is that the guilt will only get worse as that percentage rises.
The Hotel Between book
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That's What Dinosaurs Do book
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The Queen’s Secret book
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The Great Googlini book
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  • 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.

  • That's What Dinosaurs Do - From The Bad Seed and The Good Egg creators, Jory John and Pete Oswald, comes a story about a dinosaur who loves to ROAR. William the dinosaur likes to roar. At the park?“ROAR.” At the bus stop?“ROAR!” At the farm? You bet. ROARRR! William never lets the chance to roar pass him by, even if others find it rather bothersome. That’s until William gets a sore throat and the doctor warns him not to roar for a WHOLE week. But can this overexcited, boisterous, giant lizard not do what dinosaurs are meant to do?! In his humorous and insightful style, Jory John creates an epic story about unapologetically and happily being yourself, no matter the cost. Another side-splitting combination of John’s brilliant text and Pete Oswald’s expressive and lively illustrations, That’s What Dinosaurs Do is a read-aloud that young readers will roar for again and again.

  • The Queen’s Secret - Bestselling author Jessica Day George continues her heartfelt fantasy series about a girl who can communicate with horses and a kingdom on the brink of collapse. Anthea knows the truth about horses. They’re not carriers of deadly disease like everyone in their kingdom thinks; they’re majestic creatures who share their thoughts and feelings with her through The Way. Anthea has convinced the king of this, but at a cost—he demands that horses and riders with The Way do his bidding. But when a deadly plague breaks out, the people believe that horses are the cause. As more fall ill, it’s up to Anthea and her friends to transport medicine, all while keeping out of reach from Anthea’s wicked mother. And when Anthea discovers a secret that could change the kingdom forever, she must risk everything to reveal the truth before it’s too late. Continuing the sweeping storytelling of The Rose Legacy, bestselling author Jessica Day George delights readers—especially horse lovers—once again.

  • The Great Googlini - Filip, the ten-year-old son of Croatian immigrants, lives in a boring suburb of the big city,where he passes his time either at school or in his cozy kitchen, googling everything from dinosaurs to the Hubble Space Telescope. When his favorite uncle gets sick, Filip turns to Google for answers. Instead he receives a visit from the Great Googlini, a tiny woman in Converse sneakers who swirls out of the computer vents. She’s not really a genie, she explains: “I’m more of an archivist.” Her visit is a little bit of magic that lets Filip see the magic all around him. Ultimately about the things we can know and the things we can’t, this is a smart, touching, funny chapter book about growing up, braving tough times and looking for answers.

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Kasey & Ivy
Written & illustrated by Alison Hughes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Through twenty-six letters to her friend Nina, twelve-year-old Kasey chronicles the often humorous observations and impressions of her unexpected, month-long stay in a geriatric ward for the treatment of a rare but treatable bone disease (“osteo-something-something-itis”). Kasey tries to make her life less dull by wearing her own nightgowns, surrounding herself with her favorite stuffies and developing an unusual exercise routine. Hospital food, insomnia and the germy communal bath are enduring sources of dread, but some new (and unexpected) friends make her life bearable.
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Fuzzy Mud
Written & illustrated by Louis Sachar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
"Two middle-grade kids take a shortcut home from school and discover what looks like fuzzy mud but is actually a substance with the potential to wreak havoc on the entire world"--
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A Day with Parkinson's
Written by A. Hultquist & illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Ever since Grandpa got Parkinson's, Noah has noticed he hasn't been the same. He doesn't have as much energy as he used to, and sometimes when he's excited or happy, he can't smile. Noah worries that Parkinson's is his fault, but Grandpa assures him it's not—and it won't stop him from having fun at the beach!
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Itch!
Written by Anita Sanchez & illustrated by Gilbert Ford
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Everybody gets itchy, and every kid will love this title that scratches the itch to know more and about the history, anatomy, botany, biology behind it. Perfect for fans of Grossology books looking for something more substantive and dynamic. You can feel it coming on--that terrible, tortuous ITCH. As irritating as an itch is, it is also your body's way of sending you a message you can't miss, like you've brushed up against poison ivy or lice have taken up residence in your hair. None of which you'd know without that telltale itch! And there are so many things that make us itch--from fungus to fleas, mosquitoes to nettles, poison ivy to tarantulas! Combining history, anatomy, laugh-out-loud illustrations, and even tips to avoid--and soothe--the itch, Anita Sanchez and Gilbert Ford take readers on an intriguing (and sometimes disgusting) look into what makes you scratch.
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The Kill Order
Written & illustrated by James Dashner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17
Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth, killing most of the population. Mark and Trina were there when it happened. They survived. But now a virus is spreading. A virus that fills humans with murderous rage. They’re convinced that there’s a way to save those who are left—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some you’re worth more dead than alive.
A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! book
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Wild Blues book
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  • A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! - It’s my birthday. . . I can’t wait! Time for us to celebrate! House is ready, Set for fun. Cake’s the last thing, then we’re done. Can’t use flour, Can’t use wheat. . .That’s got gluten! What’s to eat? With bright and charming illustrations and sweet text, A Gluten-Free Birthday for Me! is a celebration of being gluten-free!

  • 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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