Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to physical 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 physical 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 physical disabilities, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Special People, Special Ways to popular sellers like Gathering Blue to some of our favorite hidden gems like True (. . . Sort Of).
We hope this list of kids books about physical 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.
Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more
“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”
“In all the world over, this much is true: You’re somebody special. There’s only one YOU.” Celebrate your individuality with this picture book that honors all the wonderful things that make you . . . you. This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages—and they’ll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged. Adorable illustrations by Rosie Butcher show a diverse community that many will find similar to their own.
Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.
All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires’ calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William “Dummy” Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!
This Way, Charlie - From the award-winning team behind Ida, Always comes a story about a friendship that grows between a blind horse and a gruff goat All the animals at the Open Bud Ranch can see that Jack likes keeping his space to himself. But when Charlie arrives, he doesn’t see Jack at all. He’s still getting used to seeing out of only one of his eyes. The two get off to a bumpy start. At first, Jack is anxious and distrustful. But one day, he summons his courage and guides Charlie to his favorite sunlit field: this way, Charlie. And so begins a powerful friendship that will be tested by life’s storms—but will ultimately change each life for the better.
Through Grandpa's Eyes - On John’s visits to Grandpa’s house, his blind grandfather shares with him the special way he sees and moves in the world.
My Friend Isabelle - A young boy named Charlie describes the activities he shares with his friend Isabelle, a girl with Down Syndrome.
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus - “High School. Two words that struck fear into the heart of every armless middle schooler I knew. Which was me. And like two people online.” The sequel to the critically acclaimed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus follows Aven Green as she confronts yet another challenge: high school. Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school . . . with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?
Myron Uhlberg was born the hearing son of deaf parents at a time when American Sign Language was not well established and deaf people were often dismissed as being unintelligent. In this young reader adaptation of his acclaimed memoir, Hands of My Father, Uhlberg recalls the daily difficulties and hidden joys of growing up as the intermediary between his parents’ silent world and the world of the hearing.
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.
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. The perfect tale to inspire and delight animal lovers, Polly and Her Duck Costume pairs beautiful illustrations with a truly heartwarming tale readers of all ages will adore.
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.
The Black Book of Colors - Living with the use of one’s eyes can make imagining blindness difficult, but this innovative title invites readers to imagine living without sight through remarkable illustrations done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers. This extraordinary title gives young readers the ability to experience the world in a new way.
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?
Special People, Special Ways - Rhyming text drescribes the different ways in which people may vary in physical or mental abilities, and the things they have in common.
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?”
The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”
“The heart-tugging true story of how YouTube star Ninita—a deaf, orphaned pygmy marmoset (the smallest type of monkey)—found family, friendship, and a forever home! Illustrated in full color.
Ninita is the only known deaf pygmy marmoset in the world, but that doesn’t stop her from making friends and chasing her next adventure! Abandoned by her parents and rescued by the RSCF, this tiny, curious monkey loves exploring her habitat. And when she meets Mr. Big—another pygmy marmoset—she has finally found a friend who likes to eat, climb, and play as much as she does. A YouTube celebrity, Ninita’s videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times! “
When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.
Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinismor the blindness that goes with itwas a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.
For the first time in her life, Alice feels differentlike she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself flounderingshe can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show themand herselfthat blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.
This is a stirring small-town story that explores many different issuesalbinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and morewith a light touch and lots of heart. Beth Vrabel’s characters are complicated and messy, but they come together in a story about the strength of community and friendship.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readerspicture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Auden Dare is color blind and lives in a world where water is scarce and families must live on a weekly, allocated supply.When Auden’s uncle, the scientist Dr. Bloom, suddenly dies,he leaves a note to Auden and to his classmate Vivi Rookmini. Together, the notes lead them to Paragon—a robot. As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon try to uncover Paragon’spurpose and put together the clues Dr. Bloom left behind,they find out that Dr. Bloom’s death was anything butinnocent, that powerful people are searching for Paragon—and that it’s up to Auden and Vivi to stop them.
Over in the Meadow at the Big Ballet - As the squirrels and rabbits finish painting the sets and hedgehogs sew the costumes, the little swan works closely with her ballet teacher and rehearses every chance she gets in order to make sure her part in the show is a smashing success!
A Blind Guide to Normal - Richie “Ryder” Raymond has a gift. He can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates. Heading to mainstream, or “normal” school for eighth grade is going to be awesome. After all, what’s not to like? At Addison, Ryder was everyone’s favorite person. He could make anyone laugh, especially his best friend Alice. So long as he can be first to make all of the one-eyed jokes, Ryder is sure he’ll fit in just as quick at Papuaville Middle School, home of the Fighting Guinea Pigs. But Alice warns him fitting in might not be as easy as he thinks. Turns out, Alice was right. In just the first hour of “normal” school, Ryder is attacked by General MacCathur II (aka, Gramps’s cat), causes his bio teacher to pass out cold, makes an enemy out town hero Max, and falls for Jocelyn, the fierce girl next door who happens to be Max’s girlfriend. On top of that, Ryder struggles to hold onto his dignity in the face of students’ pity and Gramps’s non-stop practical jokes. Ryder quickly sees the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help from his stuck-in-the-70s Gramps and encouragement from Alice, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace. This exciting sequel to A Blind Guide to Stinkville weaves humor, recovery and second chances into an unforgettable story, with characters who will hook you from page one.
Ada Lace Sees Red - Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil. When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems. Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?
Lola and I - Secretly told through the perspective of a seeing-eye dog, Lola and I is a story of a friendship with a rocky start. Lola, the human, was blinded in a car accident. She moves to the city with her seeing-eye dog, Star, and Star describes Lola’s pains and struggles as she adjusts to her new condition. Eventually with Star’s help, Lola is able to find joy in her day-to-day life and her friendship with Star grows.
Kirkus Award Finalist Schneider Family Book Award Winner Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award.
Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).
How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.
Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?
Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will be confined to a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.
Winner of the Newbery Medal “A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships. Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms. The acclaimed and award-winning author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia. “Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal
Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today. Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.
Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.
As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.
A Picture Book of Louis Braille - As a child, Louis Braille lost his sight in a tragic accident—but he was determined not to let that limit him. The young Frenchman sought every opportunity to learn, and by the time he was a teenager, began experimenting with a new form of writing. Today, his system of raised dots is used by people with visual difficulties across the world. Backmatter includes a timeline and author’s note, as well as a page of letters and numerals in braille printing. For almost thirty years, David Adler’s Picture Book Biography series has profiled famous people who changed the world. Colorful, kid-friendly illustrations combine with Adler’s “expert mixtures of facts and personality” (Booklist) to introduce young readers to history through compelling biographies of presidents, heroes, inventors, explorers, and adventurers. These books are ideal for first and second graders interested in history, or who need reliable sources for school book reports.
The Door in the Wall - Winner of the Newbery Award, this “enthralling and inspiring tale of triumph. . . . make[s] life in England during the Middle Ages come alive” (The New York Times). Ever since he can remember, Robin, child of Sir John de Bureford, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin’s destiny is changed suddenly when he falls ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing a plague, his servants abandon him, and Robin is left alone. A monk named Brother Luke rescues Robin and takes him to the hospice of St. Mark’s, where he is taught woodcarving and patience and strength. Says Brother Luke, “Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it.” Robin learns soon enough what Brother Luke means. When the great castle of Lindsay is in danger, Robin discovers that there is more than one way to serve his king. “A poignant story, full of action, and a strongly painted canvas of the times as well.” —The New Yorker
Bad Order - A Wrinkle in Time meets Stranger Things in an out-of-this-world fast-paced middle grade story about a sister and her special little brother fighting to save the world from an interdimensional catastrophe. Mary Day’s life has always been different, because her little brother, Albie, is different. He doesn’t speak, but he can communicate with Mary via mental telepathy, sending her—and her alone—“mind memos.” To Albie, Mary is Pearl, the person he holds most precious. Then, one snowy day, Albie transmits an alarming two-word message: Bad order. Soon after, Mary and her best friend, Brit, discover a mysterious red mist in the woods that seems to draw them in . . . and turn all their feelings negative. A visit from three extraterrestrials (hilariously trying to pass as human) reveals the truth: there’s a disastrous leak in the dimensional universe—and if Albie can’t repair it, angry, evil thoughts will overtake the entire population. Can Mary, Brit, Brit’s brother Lars, and Albie save the world? And will Mary finally realize that she, like Albie, has something special inside herself?
Cinnamon - A talking tiger is the only one who may be able to get a princess to speak in this beautiful picture book set in a mythic India by the Newbery Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author of American Gods and _Norse Mythology,_ Neil Gaiman, and illustrated in bold colors by Divya Srinivasan. This stunning picture book will transport readers to another time and place and will delight parents and children alike. “Full of Gaiman’s wit and whimsy, this one is great for reading aloud (and looks pretty lovely on the shelf as well). Gorgeous, with lush illustrations by Divya Srinivasan” (Brightly.com). Previously available only as an audio book, Cinnamon has never been published in print before, and Divya Srinivasan’s lush artwork brings Neil Gaiman’s text to life.
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.
Paul Fisher sees the world from behind glasses so thick he looks like a bug-eyed alien. But he’s not so blind that he can’t see there are some very unusual things about his family’s new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Where else does a sinkhole swallow the local school, fire burn underground for years, and lightning strike at the same time every day?The chaos is compounded by constant harassment from his football–star brother, and adjusting to life in Tangerine isn’t easy for Paul—until he joins the soccer team at his middle school. With the help of his new teammates, Paul begins to discover what lies beneath the surface of his strange new hometown. And he also gains the courage to face up to some secrets his family has been keeping from him for far too long. In Tangerine, it seems, anything is possible.
Fans of Karen Cushman’s witty novels will welcome Meggy Swann, newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy’s mother was glad to be rid of her; her father, who sent for her, doesn’t want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London, dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in—not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks. Just as her alchemist father pursues his great work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann.
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