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Children’s Books About Disabilities

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 29 October 2007 13:42

1 Comment

By Mimi Rothschild

Check out the book list below, it’s specifically geared towards students with disabilities.  I only included part of the list, you can click the links to find more great books!  Let me know what you think and what you discovered.  I’d love to hear some of your recommendations!

This list has been sorted by the books’ readability levels. To find what you want, click on a readability grouping below:

AC = Adult Read to Children. For Pre-K to Grade 3, ranging from 10 to 30 pages, with illustrations; typically designed for parents to read to their children.

JE = Juvenile Easy Reader. For children who are beginning to read on their own, such as those in Grades 1-2; ranging from 30 to 80 pages; illustrations are included to break up the text.

JF = Juvenile Fiction. Children’s fiction or chapter books; for children in Grades 2-6; ranging from 60 to 200 pages, the books are generally divided into chapters, contain fewer illustrations, and have more complicated plots or concepts than either AC or JE books.

YA = Young Adult. For young adults in Grades 5-12; more complicated plots and topics of general interest to the young adult population.

A = Adult. Contains language and/or content that may be unsuitable for young adults.

  • Title: Andy and His Yellow Frisbee
    Author: Mary Thompson
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-83-2
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Sarah is a new girl at school who is curious about why Andy spins his yellow frisbee every day by himself on the playground. When Sara tries to talk to Andy, Rosie, Andy’s older sister, watches and worries about how her brother may react. Rosie knows that Andy is in his own world most of the time, and that he has trouble finding the words to express himself.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Picture Book of Helen Keller
    Author: David A. Adler
    Publisher: Holiday House
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8234-0818-3
    Disability: Deaf-Blind
    Story Profile: Some salient details in the life of Helen Keller are described in this pictorial biography; her frustration and untamed behavior and the radical changes effected by Anne Sullivan Macy.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Armann and Gentle
    Author: Kristin Steinsdottir
    Publisher: Stuttering Foundation of America, PO Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111-0749; 1997
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933388-36-5
    Disability: Stuttering
    Story Profile: A six-year-old boy, Armann, stutters when he is frustrated.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Very Special Friend
    Author: Dorothy Hoffman Levi
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1989
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-9300323-55-6
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Frannie, a lonely little girl, discovers a new friend when a deaf girl her age moves in next door.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Very Special Sister
    Author: Dorothy Hoffman Levi
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-930323-96-3
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Mixed feelings are experienced by Laura, a young deaf girl, upon finding out her mother will soon give birth. Her initial excitement is replaced by worries that the new child, if able to hear, would be more lovable.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Be Good to Eddie Lee
    Author: Virginia FilIing
    Publisher: Philomel Books, Putnam & Grosset Group, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-399-21993-5
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Eddie Lee, a young boy with Down syndrome, follows the neighborhood children into the woods to find frog eggs. They are resentful and try to make him stay home.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Big Brother Dustin
    Author: Alden R. Carter
    Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co., 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723; 1997
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8075-0715-6
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Dustin, a young boy with Down syndrome, learns that his parents are expecting a baby.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Cat’s Got Your Tongue?
    Author: Charles E. Schaefer, Ph.D.
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 19 Union Square, New York, NY 10003; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-45-2 hard copy; ISBN-0-945354-46-0 paperback
    Disability: Communication Disorders, Mutism
    Story Profile: Anna, a kindergartner, is diagnosed as an electively mute child.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Eukee: The Jumpy Jumpy Elephant
    Author: Clifford L. Corman and Esther Trevino
    Publisher: Specialty Press; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-921629-8-1
    Disability: Attention Deficit Disorder
    Story Profile: Eukee is a smart little elephant who likes to chase butterflies,
    blow bubbles, and do cartwheels. He always feels jumpy inside, however, and can never finish the march at school. Unhappy that he doesn’t have any friends, he consents to a visit to the doctor where he learns he has ADD.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Clover’s Secret
    Author: Christine M. Winn and David Walsh, Ph.D.
    Publisher: Fairview Press, 2450 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-925190-89-6
    Disability: Child Abuse
    Story Profile: Clove attempts to hide family violence. She feels much better when she confides in her teacher and the family receives help.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Danny and the Merry-Go-Round
    Author: Nan Holcomb
    Publisher: Jason and Nordic, Publishers, PO Box 441, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648; 1987
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-944727-00-X
    Disability: Cerebral Palsy
    Story Profile: Danny, who has cerebral palsy, visits the park with his mother and watches other children playing on a playground. He makes friends with a young girl after his mother explains cerebral palsy to her and points out that it is not contagious.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Happy Birthday Jason
    Author: C. Jean Cutbill and Diane Rawsthorn
    Publisher: IPI Publishing Ltd., 50 Prince Arthur Avenue, Suite 306, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B5 Canada; 1984
    ISBN #: 0-920702-37-6
    Disability: Reading Disability, Dyslexia
    Story Profile: A delightful story that will help children better understand their world by understanding Jason’s. His story reveals that children with learning disabilities are more similar to other children than they are different.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Having a Brother Like David
    Author: Cindy Dolby Nollette and Others
    Publisher: Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center, Early Childhood Center,
    2520 Minnehaha Ave., South, Minneapolis, MN 55404; 1985
    ISBN #: N/A
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Marty’s brother, David, is autistic. Marty explains that David looks a lot like other children but has special needs.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism
    Author: Laurie Lears
    Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company, 6340 Oakton St.,
    Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723; 1998
    ISBN #: 0-8075-3480-3
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Tara feels frustrated while taking a walk with her autistic brother, Ian. After she becomes separated from him, she learns to appreciate the way Ian experiences the world.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title:Keith Edward’s Different Days
    Author: Karen Melberg Schwier
    Publisher: Impact Publishers
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-915166-74-7
    Disability: Down Syndrome; Physical Disabilities
    Story Profile: Keith meets a variety of people with differences, including Down syndrome and physical differences, and learns that being different is okay.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Knots on a Counting Rope
    Author: Bill Martin and John Archambault
    Publisher: Henry Holt
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8050-0571-4
    Disability: Blindness
    Story Profile: A boy is told a story by his grandfather of a boy born blind.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Lee: The Rabbit with Epilepsy
    Author: Deborah M. Moss
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fisher’s Lane, Rockville, MD 20852; 1989
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-32-8
    Disability: Epilepsy
    Story Profile: Lee is a young rabbit who experiences occasional
    blackouts and trances. After Dr. Bob, the wise owl, administers a series
    of neurological tests, Lee is told she has epilepsy.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Leo the Late Bloomer
    Author: Robert Kraus
    Publisher: Harper Collins, 1971
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-87807-042-7
    Disability: Developmental Delays
    Story Profile: Leo is a tiger cub who just can’t keep up with what the other animals are doing. He can’t read, write, or speak, and he is a sloppy eater; he’s a late bloomer.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Luke Has Asthma, Too
    Author: Alison Rogers
    Publisher: Waterfront Books, 98 Brookes Ave., Burlington, VT 05401; 1987
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-914525-06-9
    Disability: Asthma
    Story Profile: Luke has an older cousin who teaches him some aspects of asthma management and serves as a general role model.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: My Brother, Matthew
    Author: Mary Thompson
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-993149-47-6
    Disability: Mental Retardation
    Story Profile: David is a young boy who describes life with his younger
    brother who was born with a mental disability.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: My Mom Is Handicapped: A “Grownup” Children’s Book
    Author: Barbara Turner Brabham
    Publisher: Cornerstone Publishing, PO Box 2896, Virginia Beach, VA 23450; 1994
    ISBN #: ISBN-1-882185-22-6
    Disability: Physical Disabilities
    Story Profile: A six-year-old boy describes life with his mother, a teacher with physical disabilities.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Otto Learns About His Medicine: A Story About Medication for Hyperactive Children
    Author: Matthew Galvin
    Publisher: Magination Press/Brunner Mazel, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-04-5 hard copy; ISBN-0-945354-03-7
    Disability: Hyperactivity
    Story Profile: Otto, a fidgety young car that has trouble paying attention in school, visits a special mechanic who prescribes a medicine to control his hyperactive behavior.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise
    Author: Janet Elizabeth Rickert
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane,
    Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: 1-890627-16-x
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Russ, a five-year old boy with Down syndrome longs for a swing set. All his backyard has to offer is an apple tree. When his grandparents visit, Russ discovers the job of picking apples and making them into apple pie. He decides that his apple tree may be just as good as a swing set.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russ and the Fire House
    Author: Janet Elizabeth Rickert
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane,
    Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: 1-890627-17-8
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Russ is a young boy with Down syndrome whose everyday life experiences – not his disability – are the subject of books in this series. Russ goes “on-duty” with his Uncle, a fireman. Their shift includes a full inspection of the fire equipment, including keeping it clean. He also encounters Spark, the firehouse dog. At the end of this exciting day, all the firemen thank Russ for his hard work and invite him back for another visit.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russell Is Extra Special: A Book About Autism for Children
    Author: Charles A. Amenta III, M.D.
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 19 Union Square, New York, NY 10003; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-43-6
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: This portrayal of an autistic boy and his family is designed to help children (ages 4 to 8 ) and their parents understand this serious developmental disorder.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Silent Observer
    Author: Christy MacKinnon
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave. NE,
    Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1993
    ISBN #: ISBN-1-56368-022-X
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Christy MacKinnon is a young girl born in 1889 on a farm on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada who became deaf after having whooping cough. She describes her life in adjusting to deafness, her relationships with family, and her problems trying to understand and be understood by hearing individuals.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Talking to Angels
    Author: Esther Watson
    Publisher: Harcourt Brace, 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-15-201077-7
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Christa is an autistic girl who is described in this picture book by her sibling. Her behavior is described and illustrated in mixed media, including her favorite sounds and textures, occasional staring and fixation on stimuli, and interactions with others.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: There’s a Little Bit of Me in Jamey
    Author: Diana M. Amadeo
    Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co., 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8075-7854-1
    Disability: Leukemia
    Story Profile: Brian struggles with the fact that his brother Jamey has leukemia and submits to a bone marrow test, which leads to a transplant.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Thomas Alva Edison: Great Inventor
    Author: David A. Adler
    Publisher: Holiday House
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8234-0820-5
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Thomas Edison’s life and his many inventions, despite his deafness, that shape our lives today are explored in this book.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: What Do You Mean I Have a Learning Disability?
    Author: Kathleen M. Dwyer
    Publisher: Walker and Company, 720 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019; 1991
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8027-8102-0
    Disability: Learning Disabilities
    Story Profile: Ten-year-old Jimmy is having problems at school and believes he is stupid. After a parent-teacher conference, he is tested and found to have a learning disability.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: What It’s Like to Be Me
    Author: Helen Exley
    Publisher: Friendship Press, 1984
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-377-00144-9
    Disability: Various Disabilities
    Story Profile: Children from all over the world write about themselves and their disabilities. They tell us how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. All of the illustrations are created by the children.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: You Can Call Me Willy. A Story for Children About AIDS
    Author: Joan C. Verniero
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel Publishers, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-60-6
    Disability: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
    Story Profile: Willy is an eight-year-old girl with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Describing her life, she shares her hobbies, friends, family life, and aspects of her medical care and how it impacts her activities.
    Reading Level: AC

One Response to “Children’s Books About Disabilities”

  1. Wonderful Site! I was wondering if I would be able quote a portion of your pages and use a couple of points for a school assignment. Please drop me an email if its ok or not. Thanks

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