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Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. 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, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. 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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Madeline to popular sellers like Wonder to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

We hope this list of kids books about diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities 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.

Top 10 Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities

A Boy Called Bat book
#1
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).

I Am Helen Keller book
#2
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”

Susan Laughs book
#3
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.

We'll Paint the Octopus Red book
#4
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.

Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets book
#5
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

The Secret Garden book
#6
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!

A Christmas Carol book
#7
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.

Dan and Diesel book
#8
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.

My Friend Isabelle book
#9
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.

Through Grandpa's Eyes book
#10
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.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and...

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Disabilities

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).

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”

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. We'll Paint the Octopus Red - 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.

  2. Mrs. Gorski I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets - 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

  3. The Secret Garden - 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!

  4. A Christmas Carol - 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.

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Multigenerational

The Tide
Written by Clare Helen Walsh & illustrated by Ashling Lindsay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young girl loves her grandpa so much! When they spend the day at the beach, she holds his hand as they go for a walk, and they build sand castles together. But sometimes, it is difficult, because Grandpa has become forgetful. Grandpa’s memories are like the tide, Mommy explains. Sometimes, they are near and full of life. Other times, they are distant and quiet. A story about families, laughter, and how we can help a loved one with dementia live well.

The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book!

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

Grandma
Written & illustrated by Jessica Shepherd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Told in diary form, Oscar relates how his grandmother becomes less able to look after herself and enters a nursing home, with information about dementia to help children discuss their feelings and adjust to the changing relationship.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mayday - In the tradition of Counting By 7s and The Thing About Jellyfish, a heartwarming coming-of-age story about grief, family, friendship, and the importance of finding your voice Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice. Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate (“Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?”). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It’s not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn’t say. Filled with Karen Harrington’s signature heart and humor, Mayday tackles an unforgettable journey of family and friendship.

  2. Newspaper Hats - Georgie visits her Grandpa at the home where he lives, but he doesn’t always remember who she is. He does, however, remember how to make newspaper hats, and together they fold enough for all his friends. Touching moments portray the difficulties and nuances of memory loss from a child’s perspective, and an uplifting ending leaves readers with hope. A poignant and age-appropriate story about a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

  3. Grandma Forgets - When your grandmother can’t remember your name it should be sad, but maybe it is just an opportunity to tell her more often how much you love her. Grandma Forgets is the heart-warming story of a family bound by love as they cope with their grandma’s dementia. Over the years, the little girl has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys. Sometimes Dad is sad because he has to hold onto the memories for both him and his mother now, but fortunately his daughter is only too happy to help him make new memories to share. This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care. She might not remember any of their names but she will always know how much she is loved.

  4. Finding Granny - Every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke. In Finding Granny, that someone is Edie’s beloved grandmother. When Edie comes to the hospital, she is confronted by the physical changes in her grandmother: muddled words, a crooked face, a woman confined to bed. This isn’t the ‘playtime, bedtime, story-time pantomime Granny’ that Edie knows. “That’s not my Granny,” she says, as she waits outside in the corridor during her mother’s visits. But when her mother takes Edie to watch one of Granny’s art therapy sessions, Edie starts to understand that the Granny she loves is still there. Finding Granny is a heart-warming story of changing relationships and the bond between children and grandparents. It’s also a sensitive exploration of coping with illness and disability that will offer children much-needed comfort.

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Illness

Madeline
Written & illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.”

Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years!

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
Written by Gail Carson Levine
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When plague strikes Bamarre, Princess Addie must fulfill an ancient prophecy. Brave and adventurous, Princess Meryl dreams of fighting dragons and protecting the kingdom of Bamarre. Shy and fearful, Princess Addie is content to stay within the safety of the castle walls. The one thing that the sisters share is their unwavering love for each other. The tables are turned, however, when the Gray Death leaves Meryl fatally ill. To save her sister, meek Princess Addie must find the courage to set out on a dangerous quest filled with dragons, unknown magic, and death itself. Time is running out, and the sisters’ lives—and the future of the kingdom of Bamarre—hang in the balance.

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya
Written by Jane Kelley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bob, Not Bob! - Little Louie is stuck in bed with a bad cold. His nose is clogged, his ears are crackling, and his brain feels full. All he wants is his mom to take care of him, but whenever he calls out for her, his stuffed-up nose summons slobbery dog Bob instead! As Louie tries and tries to make himself understood in this funny picturebook, kids will love calling out with him, “Bob, not Bob!”

  2. Circus Mirandus - Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather. The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

  3. Marvin's Monster Diary - Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, and a diary to record it all. His teachers scold him, his parents don’t know what to do with him, and his sister is convinced he was raised by triple-tailed monkeys. In short, Marvin’s life is feeling out of controle until a secret formula changes everything. In the same humorous spirit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks! (And I Win, Big Time). Using the “monstercam” and “ST4” techniques developed by Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Arizona, Marvin’s Monster Diary 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 one book on ADHD that kids will actually want to read! Marvin’s Monster Diary also includes a resource section to help parents and teachers implement Dr. Melmed’s methods, plus ST4 reminders that kids can remove, color, and place around the house.

  4. Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet - When Kitty is happy and healthy, everything is perfect. She jumps around, eats everything in sight and has the energy to keep slobbering puppies in their place. But when she’s sick, all she can do is lie in her bed. Looks like it’s time for this sick kitty to go… to the vet. When Kitty’s family finally manages to get their clawing, angry pet into the doctor’s office, it’s a wild adventure for Kitty who has to get the most dreaded thing of all…a shot. Once administered, Kitty is cast into an ingenious dream within a dream sequence in which she has to make right by puppy or risk being shut out of PussyCat heaven forever. Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet, the 9th installment of the popular Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel is chock full of brilliant supporting characters and of course, the crankiest bad kitty you’ve ever seen.

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Feeling Sick

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut. Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. This title has Common Core connections.

When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

When your elephant has the sniffles, you better make sure he doesn’t sneeze! This charming and hilarious board book highlights the many ways to make an under-the-weather elephant feel better!

Does your elephant have the sniffles? Make sure to take good care of him because you don’t want him to start sneezing. Gather up your tissues and your pillows and make that elephant feel better! But don’t get too close…or you just might end up with the sniffles, too!

Llama Llama Home with Mama
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Llama Llama, morning light. Feeling yucky, just not right. Down to breakfast. Tiny sneeze. Sniffle, snuffle. Tissues, please!

Ah-choo! Uh-oh, Llama Llama’s nose is feeling tickly, his throat is feeling scratchy, and his head is feeling stuffy. Back to bed, no school today for Llama Llama! Instead, he’s home with Mama. By lunchtime, though, he’s beginning to feel a tiny bit better. But now someone else has the sneezes . . . Mama! And who will help her feel better? Why, Llama Llama, of course! Anna Dewdney’s fun-to-read rhymes are sure to help children and their parents get through those under-the-weather days.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Dragons Get Colds Too - For fans of Dragons Love Tacos comes a fresh, funny story that deals with everyone’s least favorite thing: a cold. Is your dragon sleepy? Does he have a runny nose? Does he keep sneezing fire? Unfortunately, it sounds like your dragon has a cold. But luckily, this guide will help anxious dragon owners through the challenges of caring for their sick dragon! Balancing tongue-in-cheek humor through Charles Santoso’s illustrations with gentle reassurance, this story proves that laughter really is the best medicine and will appeal to anyone who has felt under the weather.

  2. How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? - 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.

  3. The Doll Hospital - It’s a quiet morning at the Doll Hospital until… DING-A-LING-A-LING! The emergency bells ring! Here comes a patient who needs Dr. Pegs’s help. Dr. Pegs is about to get to work when… DING-A-LING-A-LING! Here comes another patient! And another! How will Dr. Pegs take care of them all? Looks like the doctor needs some help herself!

  4. The Itchy-Saurus - “I am no Tyrannosaurus. I am an . . . Itchy-saurus!” Can anyone help a dangerous dinosaur in distress? When T Rex gets a terrible itchy red rash, all he can do is scratch, scratch, scratch! Now he’s no longer Tyrannosaurus, he’s ITCHY-SAURUS. He can’t sleep. He can’t eat. And that’s driving him wild and making him mean. The only one who could step in and soothe his skin is Doc Bill the Platypus. But is Bill brave enough to help a big, angry dinosaur?

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Social Themes

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.

Surgery Day
Written by Laura Wolfe and Julie Kaderabek & illustrated by Alycia Pace
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a big day for Tollie McStretch he’s going to the hospital to have surgery for the first time EVER! Tollie’s afraid and unsure about what’s in store for him. Luckily, a whole team of doctors and nurses are there to make sure that his surgery day is a success! Follow along with Tollie and learn how you too can be a surgery expert!

Smile
Written & illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Positively Purple - PB and Jeli are best bear friends. They play ball together every single day, until the day Jeli gets sick. After the doctor prescribes medication, Jeli begins to feel better but to her surprise, the medication turns her fur purple! With the help of her colorful and caring friends, Jeli learns that there is more to who you are than what shows on the outside. And that maybe being positively purple is positively perfect!Positively Purple explores the power of empathy and friendship in building a child’s self-esteem. Self acceptance is a strong theme running through the story, with a clear message that change in your appearance does not change how your friends feel about you.

  2. Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf - A choking wolf is rushed to City Hospital. What on earth did the wolf eat? This zany hospital adventure based on the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale will have young readers devouring the pages and howling for more!

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Diseases

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.

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.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Mini Sweets - 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Doctors And Nurses

Echo's Sister
Written by Paul Mosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight
Written by Michelle Lord & illustrated by Alleanna Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

The inspiring story of Dr. Patricia Bath, a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who pioneered laser surgery—and gave her patients the gift of sight.

Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a career option for most women—especially African-American women. This empowering biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to save and restore sight to the blind, and her decision to “choose miracles” when everyone else had given up hope. Along the way, she cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tractor Mac Tune-Up - Tractor Mac is hard at work in the field one day when his engine starts to make a funny noise. It doesn’t sound good, and it doesn’t feel very good, either. Tractor Mac is scared that he has to take a trip to Dr. Lou at the tractor hospital, but with the help of his animal friends and some other machines who have stopped in for a tune-up, he learns that going to the doctor doesn’t have to be scary at all.

  2. Papillon Goes to the Vet - Papillon, the kitty so fluffy he floats, is back! Only this time, he’s grounded. Literally. Weighed down after swallowing a toy and beset with hiccups, Papillon is miserable! Miss Tilly takes him to the vet, but will he ever float again?

  3. Urgency Emergency! Itsy Bitsy Spider - A spider arrives at City Hospital with some strange head injuries. How did this happen? And does it have anything to do with all the water rushing down the water spout? Early readers have never been such fun! With bright color illustrations on every page, minimal easy-to-read text and a brilliantly fast-paced plot, this animal hospital adventure story will have young readers devouring the pages.

  4. Urgency Emergency! Baaad Sheep - Three sheep arrive at City Hospital with upset tummies. Have they had too much fun and soda pop at Old MacDonald’s farm? The gas inside their bellies is building up quickly! Can Doctor Glenda and Nurse Percy save the day once again? With brightly colored illustrations on every page, minimal easy-to-read text, and a brilliantly fast-paced plot, this animal hospital adventure based on the Little Bo Peep and Old MacDonald nursery rhymes will have young readers gulping up the pages!

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Feelings And Emotions

Diabetes Doesn't Stop Maddie!
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh & illustrated by Maria Luisa Di Gravio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Pedro's Big Break
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When Pedro breaks his arm racing his bike he has to cope with the frustration of wearing a cast for a whole month—but with the help of his friends he discovers that there are still fun things to do.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Eppie the Elephant (Who Was Allergic to Peanuts) - Go on a school-time adventure with Eppie, the elephant who is allergic to peanuts! It’s the first day of school for Eppie the elephant, and she’s a bit nervous about one thing: that her new classmates won’t understand her allergy to nuts. Like many kids today, this fun-loving elephant can’t partake in peanuts, pecans, or pistachios and has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie makes fast friends with Allie the alligator and Pearl the squirrel, but when Eppie’s allergy is explained at lunch, will her friends still stand by her side? Readers of all ages will relate to this heartwarming, lyrical story of understanding and acceptance.

  2. Cyclone - 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.

Books About Diseases, Illnesses, Injuries, And Disabilities and Friendship

I Broke My Trunk!
Written & illustrated by Mo Willems
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.

Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.

Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In I Broke My Trunk! Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?

When a Kid Like Me Fights Cancer
Written by Catherine Stier & illustrated by Angel Chang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“My secret life is filled with psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, chain-rattlin ghosts, and a one-eyed cat. But they’re nothing compared to my real-life stalker: a sixth-grade girl named Kandi Kain. The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a terrifically funny and poignant story about a boy finding the courage to get to know the real characters all around him and to let them know him.”—

Honorable Mentions
  1. Florence & Leon - 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.

  2. Kasey & Ivy - 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.

  3. The Princess and the Peanut Allergy - Regina has a huge, princess-themed, peanut-filled cake planned for her birthday party—that is until she learns that her best friend Paula has a severe peanut allergy. In this introduction to food allergies, Regina learns how dangerous an allergic reaction can be, and how she can best help a friend stay safe. With dimensional and bright illustrations, this book perfectly depicts the importance of respecting a friend’s needs.

  4. Nanny Paws - Nanny Paws looks after Ally and Mae the only way she knows how—as a dog would. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her girls. She feeds them a hearty breakfast (cookies are best), picks up their toys (teddy bears fit nicely in freshly dug holes), and even walks them to school (running them there is fun too). But one Tuesday, Ally and Mae come home sick, and it’s up to Nanny Paws to take care of them…in her own special way.

Epilogue

9 books that are just too good to leave off of our diseases, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities list.
  1. My Friend Suhana - 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.

  2. If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi - 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

  3. Don't Call Me Special - 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.

  4. Kids Like Me... Learn ABCs - 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.

  1. Out of My Mind - 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.

  2. 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?

  3. Fish in a Tree - “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

  4. Ian's Walk - 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.

  1. My Brother Charlie - “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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