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Learning Disabilities: Books For Kids

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

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to learning 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 learning disabilities.

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 learning disabilities, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Tacos Anyone? An Autism Story to popular sellers like Counting by 7s to some of our favorite hidden gems like A Boy Called Bat.

We hope this list of kids books about learning 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.

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A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold & illustrated by Charles Santoso
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).
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The Art of Miss Chew
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Trisha knows she wants to be an artist, too. She’s thrilled when her sketches get her into Miss Chew’s special art class at the high school. A substitute teacher tells her she’s wasting time on art when she should be studying – but fortunately, this is one battle that Miss Chew and Trisha are up for! This true story shows just how important a teacher can be in a child’s life – and celebrates the power of art itself.
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The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Written by Julia Finley Mosca & illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe! The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!
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Tacos Anyone? An Autism Story
Written by Marvie Ellis & illustrated by Jenny Loehr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Summary: Michael is a four year old boy with autism. His older brother, Thomas, doesn't understand why Michael behaves the way he does. The therapist teaches Thomas how to play with Michael, making sibling time fun again. This fully color illustrated, bilingual (English and Spanish) children's book is written for young readers, parents, siblings, family members, and professionals who work with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recipient of the 2005 Barbara Jordan Media Award.
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The Fix-It Friends: The Show Must Go On
Written by Nicole C. Kear & illustrated by Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
In the third adventure in Nicole C. Kear's sweet chapter book series, it’s up to the Fix-It Friends to help the star of the school play prepare for opening night. Because reading isn’t always as easy as ABC. It’s a dream come true! Veronica’s playing the Queen of Hearts in the school play. It’s perfect: She gets to be a star and scream her head off! Even better, she makes an amazing new friend. Liv, who’s playing Alice, is a natural—it seems there’s nothing she can’t do! That is, until she reveals to Veronica that reading is really hard for her. To learn her lines, she’s going to need a lot of help. That’s the cue for the Fix-It Friends! With Jude working on sets, Cora on costumes, Ezra on stage lights, and Veronica by her side on stage, Liv is surrounded by just the right crew to help her get ready for opening night. After all, the show must go on! Told in Veronica’s charismatic, enthusiastic, and funny voice, The Show Must Go On is the third book in The Fix-It Friends series, which makes childhood issues accessible for chapter book readers. Includes a toolbox of expert advice on how to approach reading challenges! Don’t miss the other Fix-It Friends adventures: The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear! The Fix-It Friends: Sticks and Stones The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize The Fix-It Friends: Three’s a Crowd An Imprint Book Praise for The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear!: "Fears are scary! But don’t worry: the Fix-It Friends are here with step-by-step help —and humor too.”—Fran Manushkin, author of the Katie Woo series “Full of heart and more than a little spunk” —Kathleen Lane, author of The Best Worst Thing An empowering resource for kids — and they're just plain fun to read.” —Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., Co-Director, Early Childhood Service, NYU Child Study Center “Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more.” —Kirkus Reviews "The humor is spot-on, and the stories pull kids in, teaching without preaching, encouraging children to be active problem-solvers in their own lives." —Dr. Dawn Huebner, Ph. D., child psychologist and creator of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series
Ethan's Story book
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Amadou's Zoo book
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Al Capone Does My Shirts book
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Marvin's Monster Diary book
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  • Ethan's Story - “When Ethan Rice was four years old, he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He decided that he wanted to tell his first grade class that he had autism on his seventh birthday. His parents asked him many questions about what having autism felt like for him and wrote his answers down as a reference for when he told his class. Those answers are now published so more people can understand what it is like to have autism. While each child on the spectrum has unique challenges and strengths, Ethan’s Story; My Life with Autism is Ethan’s own story.”— P. [4] of cover.

  • Amadou's Zoo - Amadou has waited…and waited…and WAITED for his class trip to the zoo. But when they arrive, his teacher would rather talk about rules and facts. So, Amadou eagerly explores the zoo in his own special way―by allowing his imagination to lead. As more and more classmates follow him into his irresistible world of adventure, the sepia-toned zoo fills with vibrant color. Only one question remains―will Amadou’s teacher follow, too? At once an ode to childlike wonder and patient teachers, Amadou’s Zoo encourages the child and adult reader alike to find connections with the world around them. Based on her own observations at the Ménagerie in Paris, Rebecca Walsh has delicately captured the feel of both an old-fashioned zoo and the modern, diverse class trip taking place within it.

  • Al Capone Does My Shirts - A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister Natalie. A Newbery Honor Book & ALA Notable Book. Reprint. Jr Lib Guild & Children’s BOMC.

  • 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.

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Fish in a Tree
Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16
“Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions. A New York Times Bestseller! * “Unforgettable and uplifting.”—School Library Connection, starred review * “Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review * “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control.” —School Library Journal, starred review
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All My Stripes
Written by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer & illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his "autism stripe," he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more.
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My Friend with Autism
Written by Beverly Bishop & illustrated by Craig Bishop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9
Children describe what makes their autistic friend different but also explain the activities at which he excels, in a book with coloring pages and resources for parents and educators on a CD-ROM.
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Ian's Walk
Written by Laurie Lears & illustrated by Karen Ritz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
When her autistic little brother, Ian, wanders off while on a walk to the park, Julie must try to see the world through his eyes in order to find him. Full color.
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My Brother Charlie
Written by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
"Charlie has autism. His brain works in a special way. It's harder for him to make friends. Or show his true feelings. Or stay safe." But as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can't do well, there are plenty more things that he's good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows. Actress and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborates with her daughter on this book based on Holly's 10-year-old son, who has autism.
Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome book
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Everybody is Different book
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Mockingbird book
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Sidetracked book
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  • Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome - When Sam, a young boy who has trouble making friends at school, wanders away from home to the fair alone, his parents take him to the doctor where he is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

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

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

  • Sidetracked - If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. So, he spends most of his time avoiding school bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a crazy-fast runner who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner or anybody else. With a new friend and a new team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time. Is he a good runner? Well, no, he’s terrible. But the funny thing about running is, once you’re in the race, anything can happen.

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Counting by 7s
Written & illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.
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Leah's Voice
Written & illustrated by Lori Demonia
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Leah's Voice is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with special needs such as autism. Children who have a brother or sister with special needs may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends aren't more understanding. Leah's Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.
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A Whole New Ballgame
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court. With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.
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Different Like Me
Written by Jennifer Elder & illustrated by Marc Thomas and Jennifer Elder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Profiles twenty famous individuals who may have been autistic, including Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Dian Fossey, and Glen Gould.
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I See Things Differently
Written & illustrated by Pat Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
"This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it."
A Friend Like Simon book
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The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee book
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Noah Chases the Wind book
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The Vicar of Nibbleswicke book
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  • A Friend Like Simon - “When a new boy joins Matthew’s school, he’s just not sure if he wants a friend like Simon. But a school trip to the funfair soon helps to change his mind”—Page 4 of cover.

  • The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee - Candice Phee isn’t a typical twelve-year-old girl. She has more than her fair share of quirks, but she also has the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to make sure everyone around her is happy—which is no easy feat when dealing with a pet fish with an identity crisis, a friend who believes he came from another dimension, an age-old family feud, and a sick mom. But she is on a mission. Her methods might be unique, but Candice will do whatever it takes to restore order to her world and make sure everyone is absolutely, categorically happy again.

  • Noah Chases the Wind - A magical adventure that celebrates the wonderful inquisitiveness of all children

  • The Vicar of Nibbleswicke - The Reverend Lee is suffering from a rare and acutely embarrassing condition: Back-to-Front Dyslexia. It affects only his speech, and he doesn’t realize he’s doing it, but the parishioners of Nibbleswicke are shocked and confused by his seemingly outrageous comments. At last a cure is found and the mild-mannered vicar can resume normal service. Or at least as normal as is possible for a man who must walk backwards to be sure of talking forwards!

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Snow Lane
Written by Josie Angelini
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Fifth grader Annie is just like every other girl in her small suburban town. Except she's starting to realize that she isn't. Annie is the youngest of nine children. Instead of being condemned to the bottom of the pecking order, she wants to carve out place for herself in the world. But it’s hard to find your destiny when the only thing you’re good at is being cheerful. Annie is learning that it’s difficult to be Annie, period, and not just because her clothes are worn-out hand-me-downs, and she suffers from a crippling case of dyslexia, but also because there are secrets in her life no one in her family is willing to face. In Snow Lane, Josie Angelini presents a story about a resilient girl who, in spite of many hardships, can still find light in the darkest of places.
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The Usual Suspects
Written & illustrated by Maurice Broaddus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Fans of Jason Reynolds and Sharon M. Draper will love this oh-so-honest middle grade novel from writer and educator Maurice Broaddus. Thelonius Mitchell is tired of being labeled. He’s in special ed, separated from the “normal” kids at school who don’t have any “issues.” That’s enough to make all the teachers and students look at him and his friends with a constant side-eye. (Although his disruptive antics and pranks have given him a rep too.) When a gun is found at a neighborhood hangout, Thelonius and his pals become instant suspects. Thelonius may be guilty of pulling crazy stunts at school, but a criminal? T isn’t about to let that label stick.

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