10 Books That Celebrate Disabilities + Differences 10 Books That Celebrate Disabilities + Differences skip to Main Content

10 Books That Celebrate Disabilities + Differences

Young arab girl with hijab doing exercise with her bestfriend at international school. Asian muslim school girl sitting near her classmate during lesson. Multiethnic elementary students in classroom.

Book have the power to help us better see ourselves and understand others. Start or end your day with a good book and a subtle storytime lesson about disabilities and difference to help your littles learn and grow.


Delta Dental is helping families learn more about resources available to families with special needs during their final virtual Ask A Teacher Town Hall session on Thursday, September 17th at 7pm. The free event is open to parents whose children have special needs and to parents who want to learn how they can better support friends, families and neighbors who do.


A Friend Like Simon by Kate Gaynor 

This brilliantly illustrated picture book introduces children ages 4 to 8 — especially those in mainstream school — to a child with autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The story begins with Matthew, who meets his new classmate Simon, and sees that Simon is a little different than his other friends. During a school trip, Matthew learns to joys of having “a friend like Simon.”

 

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

Actress and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete collaborates with her daughter on this book based on her 10-year-old son, who has autism. This heartwarming picture book is ideal for children 7 to 10 who have autism, have a sibling with autism, or know someone who is autistic.

 

Noah Chases the Wind by Michelle Worthington 

This richly illustrated book tells the story of Noah, who knows he is different. He sees, hears, feels, and thinks things differently than others. And he is full of unquenchable curiosity. This book not only provides insight for children ages 3 to 8 about living with autism, it also contains a page of information for parents, caregivers, and educators about helping children appreciate their differences.

 

Looking After Louis by Lesley Ely

Looking After Louis is a sweet story about a little boy named Louis, who has autism and struggles to make friends. His classmates discover a way to join Louis in his world and include him in theirs. This book is ideal for 7- to 10-year-olds.

 

All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism by Shaina Rudolph

This colorful picture book tells the story of Zane the Zebra, who knows he’s different and he worries his classmates will see his “autism stripe.” With the help of his mother, he learns not only to appreciate his stripes, but the uniqueness his “autism stripe” gives him. This book is made for children ages 4 to 8.

 

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures is the first in an educational series of books about the inspirational lives of scientists. It focuses on Dr. Temple Grandin, a visual thinker who, despite limitations from autism, used her unique mind to connect with animals and help invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the world. This book is made for children ages 5 to 10.

 

Taking Dyslexia to School by Lauren Moynihan 

This fun-to-read storybook for kids 5 to 6 years of age simplifies and normalizes dyslexia by giving children without the disability a peek into the world of someone who has it.

 

Pay Attention, Emily Brown by Linda Burton

Pay Attention, Emily Brown is ideal for children ages 4 to 8 with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, or sensory processing disorder. They will find joy in Emily Brown’s flights of fancy and their parents and teachers will relate to Emily’s mother’s please for her to focus.

 

My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson 

This colorful picture book opens the door for children ages 8 to 12 to talk about the differences in people that make friendships special. My Friend Isabelle does this by highlighting the special bond between Isabelle, who has Down syndrome, and Charlie, who does not.

 

Hands & Hearts by Donna Jo Napoli 

Hands & Hearts is a story about the unique communication between a mother and her daughter, one that doesn’t use spoken words, but signed ones. As an added bonus, readers will also learn how to sign 15 words. This book is ideal for children ages 5 to 7.

 

Jessica’s Box  by Peter Carnavas

Jessica is so nervous about making friends on the first day of school that she brings a cardboard box to school with treasures she hopes will encourage her classmates to be her friend. The story focuses on Jessica’s shyness. The fact she is in a wheelchair is surprisingly and refreshingly entirely incidental. This book is ideal for children ages 4 to 8.

 

Find more great books for bedtime here.

 

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Kerry

About Kerry Doman

Kerry Doman is the founder and CEO of LittleGuide Detroit and After 5 Detroit. She has lived downtown Detroit for 10+ years and still calls the city home with her husband and son. As a relatively new mom, she’s excited to explore downtown with her family and hopes you’ll enjoy doing the same!

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