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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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.

AC – Adult Read to Children

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
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

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