11 Books About Kids With Disabilities: PreK to Young Adult
Representation is so important in books, especially for kids looking for guidance and inspiration. Kids want to be able to see themselves in the characters they read about.
That’s why we rounded up our top picks for books about children and families with disabilities. These books cover physical and developmental disabilities for all ages, ranging from PreK to young adult.
Remember– books are a great way to open up the convo with your kiddos. Talk with them about what they read, what they learned and what they might still have questions about. Read (pun intended) on for the list of 11 children’s books about disabilities.
PreK to 2nd grade
Different– A Great Thing to Be, by Heather Avis
A New York Times Bestseller, Different– A Great Thing to Be follows the story of Macy, a young girl who doesn’t quite fit in with her classmates. She jumps to her own beat, sometimes quiet and sometimes loud, and the other children don’t understand her.
Written in a rhyming style, this book celebrates differences and encourages kids to accept everyone.
When Things Get Too Loud, by Anne Alcott
A story about sensory overload, When Things Get Too Loud is a reminder that the world can be an overwhelming place for a lot of people.
When Bo’s Feel-o-Meter goes from 1 to 10, he just wants to hide. Children and parents can walk through a visual guide of emotions and ideas for dealing with them during overwhelming situations for kids with sensory overload.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures, by Julia Finley Mosca
A picture book about a girl diagnosed with autism, The Girl Who Thought in Pictures is an empowering story that debunks myths and stereotypes.
No one expected Temple to talk, let alone become one of the best voices in modern science. But as a visual thinker, Temple did just that, inventing groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe.
3rd grade to 6th grade
Stuck, by Jennifer Swender
Learning disabilities are the subject of Swender’s book that follows Austin, the new kid in school who struggles to read. Slowly but surely, Austin finds people at his new school who support him along the way, making him feel comfortable and confident.
Roll With It, by Jamie Sumner
Ellie is a young girl who recently changed schools and has to suddenly be the new kid— who’s also in a wheelchair. She’s overwhelmed, nervous and challenged at first. Will the other kids make fun of her? Will they accept her?
But soon she makes really good friends. This is a great book for kids who also have physical disabilities and need a glimmer of hope that everything will be okay!
6th grade to 8th grade
Hummingbird, by Natalie Lloyd
Twelve-year-old homeschooled Olive is tired of being seen as “fragile” just because she has osteogenesis imperfecta (otherwise known as brittle bone disease).
When she starts at a new school, she hears about a magical, wish-granting hummingbird that supposedly lives near Macklemore and embarks on a hunt to find it. Along the way, she makes friends and meets new people who show her that being different is not so bad after all.
Caleb and Kit, by Beth Vrabel
12-year-old Caleb has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother.
But when Caleb meets Kit, his world completely changes. This is a wonderful story about the meaning of friendship and coping with disability.
A Kind of Spark, by Elle McNicoll
Award-winning and neurodivergent author Elle McNicoll delivers an insightful and stirring debut about the European witch trials and a girl who refuses to relent in the fight for what she knows is right.
This book unpacks what it means to have autism– to think differently than everyone else, to see things others do not.
Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, by Rebekah Taussig
Disability advocate and creator Rebekah Taussig was paralyzed growing up, and now she shares her story in this memoir.
The collection of essays talks about what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, and how that affects day-to-day life. It encourages us as society to bring more stories to light, sharing our experiences with others.
Same But Different: Teen Life on Autism the Express, by Holly Robinson Peete, RJ Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Triplets join forces to write a book about what it means to be a teen with autism. This book covers not only the experience of having autism, but what it means for those around you, like siblings.
Dating, sports, parties, body changes, school– it’s all tackled in Same But Different, making it the perfect book for young adults with developmental disabilities.
The Ables: 4 Book Series, by Jeremy Scott
Phillip is excited to start his superhero classes, gifted with the power of telekinesis. That is until he learns he’s assigned to the special-ed classes.
Bullied, threatened, and betrayed, Phillip struggles, even as he and his friends–calling themselves the Ables–find ways to maximize their powers to overcome their disabilities. This supernatural story is a 4-part series, making it great for avid young adult readers.