Children with disabilities may often feel like they stand out in a sea of kids they don’t connect with. Reading them a book like some of the following can help them realize they’re not alone.
Eagle Eyes is about Ben, a boy who is challenged at home and school because he has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Ben has trouble controlling himself, both in actions and how he thinks. Throughout the book, he learns how to manage his ADD through behavioral techniques and medication.
Most importantly, however, he learns that he is not a bad or clumsy kid, but is gifted with a unique way of seeing things. Jeanne Gehret wrote this book based on her experience with her son, who was diagnosed with learning disabilities and ADD. Find it on Amazon.
The Pirate of Kindergarten deals with vision disabilities. It is about Ginny, an energetic kindergartener whose favorite part about school is circle time. The only problem is that she has difficulty finding a place to sit and sometimes runs into chairs, knocking them over.
When she does this, the other kids laugh at her. She also has trouble reading, and when she does, she reads each word twice. When Vision Screening Day comes, she learns that she has double-vision that can be corrected by wearing an eyepatch.
Instead of being bummed out about it, she’s excited to become the pirate of kindergarten. With her eyepatch, she can read, cut, and find a place to sit without knocking the chairs down. Find it on Amazon.
My Sister, Alicia May is written from the perspective of Rachel, the big sister of Alicia May, who has Down’s Syndrome. Rachel loves her little sister and appreciates everything that she likes to do, like study bugs and paint her toenails.
However, Rachel doesn’t like it when the kids on the bus tease Alicia. She can’t understand why Alicia does whatever the teasing kids tell her to do, even if it’s mean. Throughout the book, Rachel learns to stand up for her little sister. This story is based on close friends of the author and is truly a heartwarming story. Find it on Amazon.
My Friend Has Autism can be a good book for teaching kids about how their friends with autism are different, and that’s okay. The story is about Nick, who has a friend named Zach. Zach has autism, loves airplanes, and often repeats the same facts about them repeatedly.
He can be very focused, doesn’t like it when people touch him, and loud noises really bother him. Nick, however, also loves model airplanes and playing games with Zach. Although this is a sweet story for younger kids, some have pointed out that the book doesn’t go into enough detail about Zach’s abilities and qualities. Find it on Amazon.
Howie Helps Himself is an honest depiction of severe disabilities in children. It follows Howie, who is in a wheelchair and needs help from his family to do a lot of things. He likes school, but yearn to do something for himself for a change.
So, he practices moving his wheelchair so that he can meet his dad after school. When he finally makes it, he hugs his dad. Some have claimed that the message is too negative in this book, but it’s okay to acknowledge how hard it is to have a severe disability. Find it on Amazon.
Sara’s Secret is another children’s book that will pull at your heartstrings. It follows Sara, a young girl who has a brother named Sean with severe disabilities. When she hears the other kids at school, making fun of the kids in the special education class, she doesn’t want anyone to know that Sean is her brother.
Nevertheless, when her teacher asks everyone to bring something to class that makes them happy, she decides to bring Sean even though she might be teased. She appreciates how Sean loves her just for being near him. The story ends with Sara saying, “He was my brother, not a secret.” Find it on Amazon.
In We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, Emma is a six-year-old girl excited to get a new baby brother. When the day comes, however, her parents are sad because her new baby brother has been born with Down Syndrome. She learns that as long as she helps her brother, there’s nothing he can’t do.
This book has been criticised for the parent’s reaction to having a child with Down Syndrome, but it’s okay to acknowledge being sad and that love and support is what counts. Find it on Amazon.
Be Good to Eddie Lee is about Christy’s neighbor, who has Down Syndrome. Although she is uncomfortable around Eddie Lee, she watches her brother being mean to him and knows that’s not right. She learns to appreciate Eddie Lee, and they become friends. This one can be a little harsh for very young readers, but it has a good message for children eight and up. Find it on Amazon.
Thank You Mr. Falker is a true story written by an author who struggled to read as a child. She’s frustrated when all of the other kids learn to read before she can until a new teacher named Mr. Falker arrives and gets her special reading help. Mr. Falker defends her from the other kids teasing her, and over the course of a few months, she learns to read just like everyone else. It’s a great story because it shows how someone can overcome their disability and be successful in that very field. Find it on Amazon.
Ian’s Walk is about Tara, who has a younger brother named Ian with autism. One day she takes Ian to the drug store and is embarrassed when he stares at the ceiling fan and lies on the ground. Ian is nonverbal, and Tara finds it very frustrating. Then, Ian goes missing, and Tara is in a panic as she looks everywhere for him. When she does finally find him, she begins to see things differently when she realizes how much she loves him. Find it on Amazon.