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Resources: Books

Disability Portrayal in Books

You may come upon a book not in this list and be curious about how people with similar disabilities to those portrayed in the book feel about the way they are represented.  Check out Disability in Kid Lit at: for reviews of books that feature disability.


You may notice as you are paying more attention to how people with disabilities are portrayed in books, movies and television and that often the character(s) with disabilities are shared with the audience from a perspective of an onlooker, a sibling, parent, friend etc and that this perspective may or may not reflect the narrative that might be preferred by people with that disability.


Consider using these questions to broaden the messages that are received about books like these.


  • How do you think (name of character with disability) would
    have told this story in their own words?

  • Do you think the story-teller was respectful / understanding?

  • How do you think (character) felt when that was said/done?

  • How was the character’s disability portrayed? (eg: medical, clinical,
    negative, positive, tragic, sentimental, normalized?)

  • How were the disabled character’s assistive devices /
    accommodations portrayed?

  • How was the character with a disability portrayed? (Holistically or only
    about the disability?)

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