Children's Books About Disabilities

This extensive list details books for both children and adults that deal with disabilities. The books are sorted by readability and their descriptions include the type of disability addressed.
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Updated on: February 13, 2001
Page 4 of 5

YA - Young Adult

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Title: Annie's World
Author: Nancy Smiler Levinson
Publisher: Gallaudet Univ. Press, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002; 1990
ISBN #: ISBN-0-930323-65-3
Disability: Deafness
Story Profile: The adjustment of 16-year-old Annie to her family move, which necessitates her becoming mainstreamed into a public high school.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Are You Alone on Purpose?
Author: Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co., 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764; 1994
ISBN #: ISBN-0-395-67350-X
Disability: Autism, Physical Disabilities, Giftedness
Story Profile: This novel focuses on the lives of two Jewish families, one including an autistic boy and his academically gifted sister, the other featuring a bully who suffers a severe spine injury in a diving accident and is paralyzed from the waist down.
Reading Level: YA

Title: A Thousand Lights
Author: Hope Benton
Publisher: Open Minds, Inc., PO Box 21325, Columbus, OH 43221-0325; 1996
ISBN #: ISBN-1-888927-81-X; ISBN-1888927-28-3
Disability: Hearing Impairments
Story Profile: Two brothers, Will and Donnie, one with a severe hearing impairment, climb Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Best Friends
Author: Hope Benton
Publisher: Open Minds, Inc., PO Box 21325, Columbus, OH 43221-0325; 1996
ISBN #: ISBN-1-888927-78-X; ISBN-1888927-25-9
Disability: Physical Disabilities
Story Profile: Kathryn, who uses a wheelchair, coaches her friend in coping with a broken leg.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Bus Girl
Author: Gretchen Josephson
Publisher: Brookline Books, PO Box 1047, Cambridge, MA 02238; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-1-57129-041-9
Disability: Down Syndrome
Story Profile: Gretchen, through poetry, describes her emotional development toward independence and adult relationships.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Don't Stop the Music
Author: Robert Perske
Publisher: Abingdon Press, 201 Eighth Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37202; 1986
ISBN #: ISBN-0-687-11060-2
Disability: Cerebral Palsy
Story Profile: Follow our teen hero and heroine (with cerebral palsy) through thrills, romance, and adventure all rolled into this "who-done-it."
Reading Level: YA

Title: Down the Aisle
Author: Hope Benton
Publisher: Open Minds, Inc., PO Box 21325, Columbus, OH 43221-0325; 1996
ISBN #: ISBN-1-888927-80-1; ISBN-1-888927-27-5
Disability: Physical Disabilities
Story Profile: The story of two sisters, one of whom has a physical disability (Kathryn), as they prepare to participate in a wedding.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Dyslexia My Life: One Man's Story of His Life with a Learning Disability
Author: Girard J. Sagmiller
Publisher: DML, PO Box 537, Smithville, MO 64089-0537; 1995
ISBN #: ISBN-0-9643087-1-1
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: Girard's autobiography dealing with dyslexia chronicles his struggles to overcome the ignorance and prejudice of his friends, family, and society in order to succeed in school, business, and life.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Emily Good as Gold
Author: Susan Goldman Rubin
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1250 Sixth Ave., San Diego, CA 92101; 1993
ISBN #: ISBN-0-15-276632-4 hardback; ISBN-0-15-276633-2 paperback
Disability: Mental Retardation
Story Profile: Emily, a 13-year-old girl with mental retardation, experiences adolescence.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Emily in Love
Author: Susan Goldman Rubin
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Co., 525 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-0-15-200961-2
Disability: Developmental Delays
Story Profile: Emily is developmentally delayed. She is included in a general education high school and has to deal with her feelings of confusion, frustration, and anger towards her parents for protecting her too much, and at herself for being unable to understand and accomplish everything she wants.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Extraordinary People with Disabilities
Author: Deborah Kent and Kathryn A. Quinlan
Publisher: Children's Press, 1996
ISBN #: ISBN-0-516-26074-X
Disability: Various Disabilities
Story Profile: Nearly 50 men and women with mental or physical disabilities are profiled in this collection including well-known figures such as: Thomas Edison, Ludwig van Beethoven, Harriet Tubman, Tom Cruise, Chris Burke, and Robert Dole. In addition to those mentioned are: a champion wheelchair marathoner with spina bifida, a partially blind ballet dancer, a photographer with polio, a deaf author and book reviewer, an Indian chief with muscular dystrophy, and an activist and psychotherapist with cerebral palsy.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Franklin D. Roosevelt: Gallant President
Author: Barbara Feinberg
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard
ISBN #: ISBN-0-688-00434-2
Disability: Poliomyelitis
Story Profile: A biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Idea Man
Author: Karen Melberg Schwier
Publisher: Diverse City Press, 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-1-896230-09-1
Disability: Down Syndrome
Story Profile: Erin is angry when her parents leave her overnight with family friends. The family's older son, Jim, has Down syndrome and Erin doesn't want to be seen with him because he's known as the Dork, but kids from school witness Jim giving her a hug. She realizes she misjudged him after he helps her with a homework assignment.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time
Author: Ray Robinson
Publisher: Norton
ISBN #: ISBN-0-393-02857-7
Disability: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Story Profile: Lou Gehrig, nicknamed the Iron Horse for the number of consecutive games he played for the New York Yankees baseball team, died in 1941 after a two-year struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Probably Still Nick Swansen
Author: Virginia Euwer Wolff
Publisher: Holt
ISBN #: ISBN-0-8050-0701-6
Disability: Learning Disabilities
Story Profile: Nick is 16 and in special ed classes with "Down" kids and some "hyperactive" students, too. He can't figure out if there's a word for his placement in special ed.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Reach for the Moon
Author: Samantha Abeel
Publisher: Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, 210 West Michigan, Duluth, MN 55802; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-1-57025-013-8
Disability: Learning Disabilities
Story Profile: Samantha, a 13-year-old girl with a learning disability in understanding mathematical concepts, provides a collection of illustrated poems and stories. She writes about her difficulties in middle school, including coping with her disability and the accompanying emotional challenges and the encouragement received by her English teacher to develop her writing talent.
Reading Level: YA

Title:Retarded Isn't Stupid Mom!
Author: Sandra Z. Kaufman
Publisher: Brookes Publishing Co., PO Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285-0624; 1988
ISBN #: ISBN-0-933716-96-6
Disability: Mild Mental Retardation
Story Profile: The mother of a child diagnosed as mildly retarded at the age of two recounts experiences of the child's growing up into an adult.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Stevie Wonder
Author: John Swenson
Publisher: Harper & Row
ISBN #: ISBN-0-06-097067-7
Disability: Blindness
Story Profile: Stevie Wonder's life from his birth in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1950, through his rapid rise as a Motown artist in the early 1960s and up to his present-day work.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Tell Me How the Wind Sounds
Author: Leslie D. Guccione
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN #: ISBN-0-590-42615-X
Disability: Deafness
Story Profile: Amanda is 15 when she meets Jake on Clark's Island. She is angered at every encounter with him until he tells her he's deaf.
Reading Level: YA

Title: The Nautilus
Author: Wanda Gilberts Kachur
Publisher: Peytral Publications, PO Box 1162, Suite 976, Minnetonka, MN 55345; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-0-9644271-5-X
Disability: Physical Disabilities
Story Profile: Kathryn is an adolescent who longs to be a professional ballet dancer but is seriously injured in a car accident and must face her disabilities.
Reading Level: YA

Title: The Worst Speller in Jr. High
Author: Caroline Janover
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, 400 First Avenue, North, Suite 616,
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730; 1995
ISBN #: ISBN-0-915793-76-8
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: Katie Kelso, an adolescent girl with dyslexia, describes her struggles with issues of peer acceptance, dating, and academic achievement, all of which are complicated by her dyslexia.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Turning Around the Upside-Down Kids: Helping Dyslexic Kids Overcome Their Disorder
Author: Harold Levinson and Addie Meyer Sanders
Publisher: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 216 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017; 1992
ISBN #: ISBN-0-87131-700-1
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: Continuing with the eight characters from The Upside-Down Kids, these students and their compassionate teacher Ms. Jensen, examine the various successful treatments for each child's unique symptoms in a way that is both comprehensive and simple to understand.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
Author: Donald Meyer, Ed.
Publisher: Woodbine House, Inc., 6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-98-0
Disability: Disabilities
Story Profile: Forty-five siblings share their experiences. The children whose essays are featured range in age from four to 18 with a variety of special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, attention deficit disorder, hydrocephalus, visual and hearing impairments, Down syndrome, and Tourette syndrome.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Waiting for Johnny Miracle
Author: Alice Hendricks Bach
Publisher: Harper and Row
ISBN #: ISBN-0-06-020348-X
Disability: Cancer
Story Profile: Theo and Becky are 17-year-old twins when they find out Becky has a malignant tumor in her right thigh.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Whoa, Nellie!
Author: Hope Benton
Publisher: Open Minds, Inc., PO Box 21325, Columbus, OH 43221-0325; 1996
ISBN #: ISBN-1-888927-79-8; ISBN-1-888927-26-7
Disability: Physical Disabilities
Story Profile: A story of a young girl, Kathryn, who happens to have a physical disability and uses a wheelchair, her friends, and their experiences at summer camp as they search for a favorite horse.
Reading Level: YA

Title: Wish on a Unicorn
Author: Karen Hesse
Publisher: Penguin Books, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014; 1991
ISBN #: ISBN-0-14-034935-9
Disability: Mental Retardation
Story Profile: A sixth-grade girl, Mags, lives in a trailer and has a younger sister named Hannie with mental retardation. Hannie finds an old stuffed unicorn and believes it is magical when strange things start to happen.
Reading Level: YA

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