Resources: Books: Middle School

Books that feature characters with disabilities

(or have central ideas that promote accepting differences)

Out of my Mind

Out of my Mind

by Sharon Draper

Novel told from the perspective of Melody, an 11 year old girl with cerebral palsy. She is incredibly intelligent and thoughtful and her ability to communicate is limited.

Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School

Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School

by Melissa and Eva Shang

14-year-old Melissa Shang wrote a story to change the way society perceives people with disabilities also to show other kids that "a disability is just part of you but it’s not all you are." Melissa has a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, the book is a fiction loosely based on her own life. The book: Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School, features a girl in a wheelchair which isn't the main focus. "My daily reality is mostly the same as that of my classmates, I groan over the same math and science homework, giggle with the same friends, and, like every other adolescent, I probably spend too much time on my phone. As a girl with a disability, I know that my story is not a sad one.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

by Mark Haddon

Mystery Novel told from the perspective of a 15 year old boy on the autism spectrum.

Wonder

Wonder

by R.J. Palacio

Chapter book about a middle school student (Auggie) living with a facial difference/disability. He was homeschooled as a young kid and now He goes to school for the first time in fifth grade. This book addresses bullying and friendship.

El Deafo

El Deafo

by Cece Bell

A chapter book about a young girl who becomes ill with meningitis and loses some of her hearing. She gets large bulky hearing aids. She gets bullied at school and feels out of place at home. She eventually finds that her hearing aids are a positive thing and in fact give her real life superpowers.

Hurt Go Happy

Hurt Go Happy

by Ginny Rorby

Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she's been deaf since the age of six, Joey's mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails.

Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey's world blooms with possibilities, Charlie's and Sukari's choices begin to narrow--until Sukari's very survival is in doubt.

Ugly: My Memoir

Ugly: My Memoir

by Robert Hoge

When 45-year-old Robert Hoge was born in Brisbane, Australia, he had a tumor in the center of his forehead, a disfigured face, and mangled limbs. After his birth, Hoge’s parents refused to look at him, and as they struggled to accept the fact that their child was born with severe physical differences, even contemplated not bringing their newborn baby home. While the author had to overcome the hardships associated with numerous surgeries and physical disfigurement, his parents fought to give him a normal life. From a normal childhood of school events and team sports to having children of his own, Ugly is a compelling story that takes readers through the physical and emotional aspects of recovery, while exploring the power of love and support in overcoming trauma.

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This is a realistic fiction novel that deals with overcoming challenges and conflicts, keeping secrets, and accepting oneself for exactly who they are. “Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

Ed Roberts: Wheelchair Genius

Ed Roberts: Wheelchair Genius

by Ed Roberts

Middle grade biography of late 20th century American disability rights pioneer and activist, Ed Roberts.