Children's books about differing abilities

Books that showcase different abilities and disabilities in a way children will understand or relate to.

A few topics included: hearing impaired, visually impaired, anxiety, PTSD, wheelchair users, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, ADHD, limb differences, service animals, dyslexia, learning disabilities, autism.

Updated March 28, 2023
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Different : a great thing to be!
Avis, Heather
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER . This joyful rhyming book encourages children to value the "different" in all people, leading the way to a kinder world in which the differences in all of us are celebrated and embraced. Macy is a girl who's a lot like you and me, but she's also...
Aaron Slater, illustrator
Beaty, Andrea
Aaron Slater loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him, and it soon becomes clear he struggles more than his peers. When his teacher asks each child in the class to write a story, Aaron can't...
Coffee, rabbit, snowdrop, lost
Birkj?r, Betina
A beautiful, candid picture book for children to understand what happens when a loved one begins suffering from dementia, and how best to care for them. A 2022 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book A Finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize in Young Readers'...
Poojo's got wheels
Charrow (Illustrator)
Look at Poojo go! This adorable dog was born without back legs, but that's OK--because Poojo's got wheels. What a good dog Poojo is! He's a great friend to everyone and everything (pigeons and scooters included). He's creative and clever (how many other dogs can pop a wheelie?)....
Can I play too?
Cotterill, Samantha
Friendship--and trains!--take center stage in this gentle, inviting story about paying attention to other people's feelings. Two boys' fun train-track-building project takes a turn when one of the boys obliviously insists on only doing things his way. Their disagreement spells...
It was supposed to be sunny
Cotterill, Samantha
A perfectly planned birthday party goes awry in this gentle story about adapting to the unexpected, written for kids on the autism spectrum and called "brilliant" and "engaging" by autism specialist Tony Attwood Laila feels like her sparkly sunshine birthday celebration is on the...
My friend has down syndrome
Doering, Amanda F. 1980-
My friend Sarah has a disability called Down Syndrome. But that doesn't matter to us. We tell jokes and laugh, go to ballet class together, and have a lot of fun. I'm glad Sarah is my friend!
Wild for Winnie
Fitzgerald, Laura Marx
New student Winnie has sensory processing challenges, but her wonderful teacher knows just how to make sure she's a welcome part of the class. Winnie is the new kid at school, and sometimes she acts kind of wild. Her teacher says to her classmates, "Maybe Winnie feels the world...
I will dance
Flood, Bo
This poetic and uplifting picture book illustrated by the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines follows a young girl born with cerebral palsy as she pursues her dream of becoming a dancer. Like many young girls, Eva longs...
Rescue & Jessica : a life-changing friendship
Kensky, Jessica
A 2019 Schneider Family Book Award Winner Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire. Rescue thought he'd grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog -- it's the family business,...
My city speaks
Lebeuf, Darren
A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves. A young girl and her father spend a day in the city, her city, traveling to the places they go together: the playground, the community garden, the market, an outdoor concert. As they...
The boy with big, big feelings
Lee, Britney Winn
Brave every day
Ludwig, Trudy
From social-emotional learning expert Trudy Ludwig and award-winning picture book illustrator Patrice Barton (co-creators of The Invisible Boy) comes a story about managing anxiety and finding the courage to stand up for yourself and others. Most kids love hide-and-seek,...
Ben and Emma's big hit
Newsom, Gavin Christopher 1967-
From California Governor Gavin Newsom comes an empowering picture book about a young boy with dyslexia who discovers a new way to look at reading. Ben loves baseball. He loves the lines of diamond-shaped field and the dome of the pitcher's mound. What Ben doesn't like is reading....
You are a story
Raczka, Bob
An empowering reflection on the many things we are and the ways we relate to the world. Poet Bob Raczka's You are a Story highlights all of the nuance and potential of a growing person's identity, delighting in the things that make us special and connect us to others. Text...
A sky-blue bench
Rahman, Bahram 1984-
It's Afghan schoolgirl Aria's first day back at school since her accident. She's excited, but she's also worried about sitting on the hard floor all day with her new prosthetic "helper-leg." Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can't think about learning...
The big worry day
Reynolds, K. A.
A girl and her dog find ways to deal with her anxiety in this beautiful debut picture book A little girl is convinced that her dog worries, just like her. With a whole day ahead of them, she'll need to figure out how to soothe them both. She prepares snacks, first aid, and even a...
I talk like a river
Scott, Jordan 1978-
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to...
Best day ever!
Singer, Marilyn
A sweet dog-loves-kid/kid-loves-dog story, in which the kid uses a wheelchair, from an award-winning children's poet and talented debut illustrator. This playful puppy thinks she's having the best day ever! She's so happy to be out with her friend, she doesn...
Don't worry, Murray
Stein, David Ezra
The perfect gift for dog lovers! Bark, George meets Wemberly Worried in this new classic picture book from David Ezra Stein, Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Interrupting Chicken and Leaves. The ideal read for back-to-school anxiety and soothing nerves all year long. ...
A walk in the words
Talbott, Hudson
Winner of a Schneider Family Honor! "A beautifully rendered and deeply inspiring book for everyone who has ever read slowly-myself included! Hudson shows us the beauty and magic that can come from taking our time. Brilliant."-Jacqueline Woodson Hudson Talbott's...
You're all kinds of wonderful
Tillman, Nancy
We're not all the same. Thank goodness we're not. Life would be boring, and I mean... a lot. And so, when we're born, we're supplied at the start with our own bells and whistles to set us apart. Think of your bells as the things...
Awesomely Emma
Webb, Amy 1977-
Fans of When Charley Met Emmawill love seeing Emma champion her inner awesomeness in this inspirational sequel that teaches readers about the power of self-advocacy. Emma has limb differences, but different isn't bad, sad, or strange. It's just different! But when some accessibility...
When Charley met Emma
Webb, Amy 1977-
Winner of the 2019 Foreword INDIES Award Bronze Medal, When Charley Met Emmateaches kids about disability, empathy, and the beauty of friendships with people who are different from you. When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a...
Susan laughs
Willis, Jeanne.
Susan laughs, she sings. she rides, she swings. She gets angry, she gets sad, she is good, she is bad... Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of familiar activities. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends -- and...
My friend Isabelle
Woloson, Eliza.
Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They both like to draw, dance, read, and play at the park. They both like to eat Cheerios. They both cry if their feelings are hurt. And like most friends, they are also different from each other. Isabelle has Down syndrome. Charlie doesn't. Written by...

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