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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
“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.  of cover.
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.
All My Stripes - 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.
My Friend with Autism - Children describe what makes their autistic friend different but also explain the activities at which he excels, in a book with coloring pages and resources for parents and educators on a CD-ROM.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
A Whole New Ballgame - 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.
Different Like Me - Profiles twenty famous individuals who may have been autistic, including Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Dian Fossey, and Glen Gould.
I See Things Differently - “This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it.”
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.
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.