Where can I find kids’ books that feature children with disabilities?

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My two-and-a-half-year-old was born prematurely and currently has a few different disabilities and setbacks that we’re working with. I’m always on the lookout for children’s books that prominently and positively feature children with disabilities. Unfortunately, it seems like I can ONLY find them at hospitals — and we can’t take those home with us. So I’m looking for books that show kids with disabilities doing all kinds of activities and participating in life fully.

Does anyone have any recommendations for books that feature kids with disabilities as the protagonists? — H.

Comments on Where can I find kids’ books that feature children with disabilities?

  1. My third preemie came home from the NICU last month. My oldest have a few special needs from their premature arrival. My husband and I are big believers in books. We started reading to them while they were still in the NICU. We have a few picture books you might like:

    Good Things Come In Small Packages (I Was A Preemie) — bought from Amazon and given to my 2 1/2 year olds for their birthday.

    Special People Special Ways – a very simple book that highlights children with various disabilities.

    My Brother is Very Special — My daughter’s speech therapist recommended this book. We just ordered it and it gets good reviews online.

    -The Pirate of Kindergarten — We got this for my son since we are
    about to start patching his eye.

    -Sometimes — My kids spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital. This is a cute book about a brother and sister who play in the hospital.

    • ahh I meant to add that most of our books were recommendations from my kids specialists. If you haven’t already ask if they know of any good kids books. We also got a good suggestion for a book about being in the hospital from one of my nurses when I was on 8 weeks of hospital bedrest.

  2. This is a great question! I work at a place that manufactures children’s medical devices, and we sometimes get recommendations from parents to share with others for just this sort of thing. One good one is “Special Shoes” about a girl who wears ankle-foot braces.

    Another good way to find these books is to search amazon’s children’s book dept for a particular diagnosis, like “spina bifida” or “cerebral palsy”. Best of luck! And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can always write your own. 🙂

  3. While not specifically about disabilities, The Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter features a child in a wheelchair and I know some of Annie Kubler’s nursery rhyme books feature a variety of children (I think there’s one in a wheelchair and one with a cochlear implant). I don’t know how commercial you want to get, but Seasame Street is very inclusive so I’d imagine their books featuring kids would be too.

  4. The American Library Association presents an award annually for best children’s book (young reader, school age and teen) reflecting the experiences of children with disabilities called the Schneider Family Book Award. You can see the entire list here:
    They also have a bibliography of recommended books here:

    • Another Children’s Librarian checking in – yes to this list! Also, consider asking your local children’s librarian – it is likely that they have books that will fit your needs in their collection and it’s nice to be able to test-drive your books before dropping a bunch of cash.

  5. I can’t think of any particular recommendations of my own off the top of my head, but I wanted to mention that getting in contact with the children’s librarian at your local library will very likely be an excellent resource! Books in these types of categories are things that children’s librarians often specialize in, they keep lists and they know how to find them. They will also usually be willing to order in books based on requests to expand their own collections.

    The local elementary school librarian might also be a similar resource. My stepmother was a children’s librarian for many years and is now a teacher-librarian at an elementary school, and I can tell you, these kinds of hunts for books are what she THRIVES on. 🙂

    I hope that helps! You can always contact them over the phone, and if one branch isn’t helpful, definitely try another.

  6. Simple, bright and colourful book: It’s Okay to be Different.

    Also on a tv perspective: Yo Gabba Gabba Episode: Differences. They sing a great song “All my friend’s are different”.

  7. This request is right up my alley: former Kindergarten teacher, with disabilities herself, who is super obsessed with bibliotherapy & keeps lists upon lists upon lists. I’m going to give a couple of my favorites, but feel free to contact me -or repost, I’ll click for e-mail follow-ups -if you are looking for an impairment specific book, because I might have something that works. Just generally, though I can recommend:
    – Any of the Moses books by Issac Millman, which have a main character with hearing impairments;
    – Blueloon, by Julia Cook, which addresses depression;
    – Susan Laughs, by Jeanne Willis, where the main character is shown in a positive light – as a :gasp: normal child, who uses a wheelchair;
    -Just Because by Rebecca Elliot & Mo Johnson’s Noah’s Garden are 2 books about siblings of kids with disabilities & portrays families that include disabled kids positively;
    – Piano Starts Here (about blind pianist Art Tatum) by Robert A Parker is a good NF starter;
    – and I’ll stop with Jack’s Amazing Magic Bed by Helen Snyder Bennett, is good for kids who are on bedrest or hospitalized, or just sick in bed & appreciate imaginative tales.

  8. The one that came to mind is a for an older child, its a short chapter book called Stitches by Glen Huser. It is features a girl with disabilities who befriends a gay boy and how they both deal with being different.

    There is also Todd Parr’s It’s Okay To Be Different, that has all kinds of differences not just disabilities which might also put things into perspective.

  9. In my free time I’ve been writing reviews of children’s books with anti-bias themes; I’ve reviewed a number of books (including some of the ones previously mentioned by other commenters) that feature children with disabilities on my blog ABC Book Reviews.

    Now I have a whole bunch more to add to my “to-read” list! Thanks, everybody!

  10. The Balancing Girl by Berniece Rabe is really sweet. Its about a little girl in a wheel chair who is good at balancing things. I like it because it never really makes a big deal out of her disability, just the other kids being impressed with her skills.
    I also love.love.love The Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao. Its a story of a blind woman/girl who navigates the subway system and goes on a beautiful journey in her imagination based on the sounds around her.

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