Resources: Books: Elementary School
Books that feature characters with disabilities
(or have central ideas that promote accepting differences)
Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
by Sonia Sotomayer
Each page features a child with a different disability, such as diabetes, asthma, physical disability, hearing and vision impairment, dyslexia, autism, stuttering, Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, nut allergies, and Down syndrome. Just like a garden, we are all different.
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
by Jen Bryant
A children’s biography of Louis Braille who was blind and wanted to read so badly he created his own alphabet.
Why is Dad so Mad? Why is Mom So Mad?
by Seth Kastle
The children’s issues picture book Why Is Dad So Mad? is a story for children in military families whose father battles with combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After a decade fighting wars on two fronts, tens of thousands of service members are coming home having trouble adjusting to civilian life; this includes struggling as parents. Why Is Dad So Mad? Is a narrative story told from a family’s point of view (mother and children) of a service member who struggles with PTSD and its symptoms. Many service members deal with anger, forgetfulness, sleepless nights, and nightmares.This book explains these and how they affect Dad. The moral of the story is that even though Dad gets angry and yells, he still loves his family more than anything.
by Robert Munsch
Lauretta's mother takes her to buy a new wheelchair, but Lauretta isn't satisfied with a regular five-speed or ten-speed model. No, she insists on the 92-speed, black, silver, and red dirt-bike wheelchair. When she gets a speeding ticket during a one-day tryout, her parents insist that the chair be returned to the store . . . until Lauretta's older brother has an accident and only one person can whisk him to the hospital on time--Lauretta, in her amazing wheelchair!
My Travelin’ Eye
by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Picture book about a young girl with a drifting eye. She gets an eye patch from the doctor to correct the eye, but she feels ashamed of the patch. Her mom helps her to make the eye patch pretty and fashionable. The next day Jenny comes to school with the new patch and all her classmates want one too!
Dad and Me in the morning
by Patricia Lakin
Picture book about a son and father who are both deaf. Early one morning a young boy wakes to his special alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aids and clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they brave the cold as they walk down the dirt road that leads to the beach.
by Jeanne Willis
Picture book about a girl named Susan. She is a fun kid experiencing everyday life with exuberance! It is not revealed until the end that she uses a wheelchair.
Meet Clarabelle Blue
by Adiba Nelson, Elvira Morando and Ilene Serna
Written by a mom of a child with cerebral palsy, this book shows that having different abilities doesn’t mean you’re “different.” ClaraBelle Blue breaks down stigmas and explains terms like “special needs” in age-appropriate terms and ways. The themes of kindness and diversity extend through the book.
Red: A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall
This is a book that is about being misunderstood in ways that are very common for people with disabilities — and how that changes when you are understood and accepted.
The Balancing Girl
by Bernice Rabe
This book is out of print but perhaps you will come across it in a library or a book sale. In this story, an elementary-aged girl who uses a wheelchair is also a domino-stacking enthusiast. Her dominos end up playing a prominent role in the school fair. This book very unusually takes her inclusion for granted instead of focusing on explaining her presence or her disability.
Can I Play Too?
by Mo Willems
While this book does not specifically discuss disability, it can be used to discuss access issues, and why it’s important to include people with disabilities in the process of figuring out how to make things work.
Rolling Along: The Story of Taylor and His Wheelchair
by Jamee Riggio Heelan and Nicola Simmonds
Taylor is excited about getting his first wheelchair because he will be able to move faster and do more by himself. This can help children to learn what wheelchairs are all about without having to make someone else into an object lesson.