Children's Books on Disabilities
March 22, 2016 3:47 PM   Subscribe

I am vice president of the special needs parents council for my public school district. Our president was approached by our city's public library children's room director because books on special needs and/or disabilities are underepresented in our children's room. What books do you recommend our public library get to better represent this population?
posted by zizzle to Education (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A copy of your human rights code and any related rights/charters (in Canada: Charter of Rights - US might also have PWD Act), as well as the UN Rights of the Child
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:48 PM on March 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

We're looking for books that will be read to children or that children would read. Whether strictly focused on a disability and/or condition and explaining it or whether the disability and/or condition is part of a character but more indirect to the story.
posted by zizzle at 3:54 PM on March 22, 2016

A child in my daughter's preschool was born with only one hand and he brought in Different is Awesome! to share with the class.
posted by kittydelsol at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2016

Look for a list of the Schneider Family Award winners from the American Library Assoc--awards given to authors and illustrators of exceptional children's books dealing with disabilities.
posted by bookmammal at 4:00 PM on March 22, 2016

The Disability in Kidlit blog has a very good set of reviews and topic-oriented booklists that cover just the areas you're looking at. Their Content page lets you narrow books down by age range and/or disability. Kansas Regional Library System has collected a set of links to things that YALSA (Young adult library association) has put out on the subject of disability. Not all books (webinars and other things) but worth a looksee. If you're literally just looking for list generation you might go looking in places like Goodreads where you'll find things that have been upvoted like this Best Children's Books with Disability/Accessibility Themes list.
posted by jessamyn at 4:00 PM on March 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also--the book Wonder by Raquel J Palacio is a great novel for middle schoolers. The main character is a boy who has a facial deformity. It's an excellent book!
posted by bookmammal at 4:07 PM on March 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

How Katie Got a Voice (and a Cool New Nickname) is about a nonverbal student using an alternative-communication device. I respect the author, Pat Mervine, as a speech-language pathologist and creator of an incredibly helpful website that I use often as a speech therapist.

The characters are 4th graders, so it is geared toward elementary kids.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:13 PM on March 22, 2016

When I was in elementary school, I liked biographies of actual people for inspiration better than I liked fictional works. I have always thought Helen Keller was hugely inspirational. If you could find a biography for her that you like, I would include that. The Miracle Worker might be a good one to consider. I have not read it, but I saw at least part of the movie by the same name and I thought it was really good.

Emergence: Labeled Autistic by Temple Grandin is good. I gave it to my aspie son when he was still a kid.

Children with Emerald Eyes: Histories of Extraordinary Boys and Girls is something I read in my twenties that was hugely influential on how I coped effectively with my children. I also had my very aspie son read this at some point.
posted by Michele in California at 4:16 PM on March 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

El Deafo by Cece Bell is an award winning graphic novel that would be good for tweens and YA.
posted by matildaben at 4:34 PM on March 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Rules is a good one about disability without being heavy handed,

I agree Wonder is excellent.
posted by aetg at 4:35 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'll second El Deafo and third Wonder.

A recent one I bought for my school library is Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.
posted by modesty.blaise at 4:55 PM on March 22, 2016

The Black Blook of Colors is a picture book describing how a blind child experiences the world. It is beautiful and encourages the listener to touch the pages (the images are entirely black and you can feel the picture). Each page includes Braille (though it's "entertainment" quality) as well.
posted by eisforcool at 5:15 PM on March 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite in my library is Dad and me in the morning. It has enchanting illustrations, and while it features a main character with hearing loss, it is a gentle and familiar story for any child. But truly, it's worth it for the illustrations alone!
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 5:24 PM on March 22, 2016

The Children's Book Council's diversity initiative has resources for teachers/parents/librarians that may be helpful (though, on second look, they don't seem to have a ton on disability). The "special needs" section of their bookshelf on Goodreads might be a good place to look for ideas.
posted by teditrix at 5:40 PM on March 22, 2016

Robert Munsch's Zoom is great.
posted by chapps at 12:26 AM on March 23, 2016

Mine for Keeps by Jean Little.

Older but I loved it as a kid growing up with Cerebral Palsy because it was the only book with a character like me.
posted by aclevername at 5:44 AM on March 23, 2016

Oh! I LOVED Mine for Keeps when I was a kid! I probably read it at least a dozen times.
posted by bookmammal at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2016

I was EXTREMELY into Follow My Leader, which is about a teen boy who becomes blind and then gets a service dog. It's...pretty old, so I can't vouch for its contemporary terminology, but I loooooved that book, and it taught me a lot about assistive devices and strategies.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:38 PM on March 23, 2016

Disability in Kidlit may be a good resource for middle grade and YA books.
posted by teditrix at 9:04 AM on March 24, 2016

Just want to add How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski, an autistic boy. My favorite.
posted by thetortoise at 4:11 PM on March 31, 2016

« Older How/if to explain getting kicked out of housing to...   |   What happened to my kid's iPhone? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.