Celebrate Voices of People with Disabilities

This booklist includes characters and authors with differing abilities. We highlight this topic in hopes it will help bring awareness to people with disabilities and a world where the successes and frustrations of being disabled are noted and respected.

Compiled by:
Lily J.
Picture Books and Younger Elementary
Aven Green, Sleuthing Machine

Dusti Bowling
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J-FC Bowling)

3rd Grade detective Aven Green, who was born without arms, finds herself tackling two mysteries at once: where did her grandmother's dog go, and who is stealing lunches at school? 

Crazy for Apples

C. L. Reid
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Rei)
Series: Emma Every Day

Emma, her dad, and her best friend Izzie, go visit an apple orchard, where Emma is excited to learn the farmer and his daughter know American Sign Language. 

I Talk Like a River

Jordan Scott
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Sco)

When a child has a "bad speech day" at school, his father gives him a new perspective on his stuttering. 

I Will Dance

Nancy Bo Flood
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Flo)

Eva longs to dance, but isn't sure what dancing looks like for someone in a wheelchair. When she hears about an all-abilities dance class, she has a chance to find out. 

Lucas Makes a Comeback

Igor Plohl
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Plo)

After falling off a ladder and injuring his spine, Lucas learns how to navigate life when he can no longer walk. 

Sam's Super Seats

Keah Brown
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bro)

Sam, a young girl with Cerebral Palsy, goes back-to-school shopping with her best friends, and listens to her body when it tells her she needs to rest. 

So Much More to Helen!

Meeg Pincus
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Keller Pin)

Helen Keller was an activist, rebel, performer, romantic and so much more! Most stories about Helen Keller focus on the story of her deaf-blindness and scholarship, but there is more to Helen than her disability.

Song in the City

Daniel Bernstrom
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ber)

Young blind girl Emmaline, who loves the sounds of her city, teaches her Grandma Jean how to listen more closely to the vibrant everyday music that floats all around them.

Understanding Physical Disabilities

Jessica Rusick
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 362.4 Rus)

This book explains common symptoms of physical disabilities and how it affects kids at school and in relationships. It includes suggestions on how to be a kind and respectful friend to someone who has physical disabilities.

When Charley Met Emma

Amy Webb
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Web)

Five-year-old Charley gets teased for daydreaming and drawing more than his friends, but when he meets Emma, who is physically different, he needs help remembering that being different is okay. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Older Elementary
All He Knew

Helen Frost
(Juvenile Fiction - J Frost)

A novel in verse about a young deaf boy during World War II, the sister who loves him, and the conscientious objector who helps him. Inspired by true events.

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

Annette Bay Pimentel
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 921 Keelan Pim)

This book follows the true story of Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, a woman with cerebral palsy who participated in a protest now know as the Capitol Crawl when she was a child. Frustrated that much of the world was inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs like herself, young Jennifer began advocating for a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires public buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities. 

I Am Not a Label

Cerrie Burnell
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.908 Bur)

This book brings together 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present. Find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.

Lila and Hadley

Kody Keplinger
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kepling)

After her mother goes to jail and she moves in with her estranged older sister, Hadley, who is slowly going blind due to retinitis pigmentosa, meets Lila, a rescued pit bull. Lila responds only to Hadley, and Hadley's attempt to train her will help them both. 

Marshmallow & Jordan

Alina Chau
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Chau Marshmallow And Jordan)

Jordan's days as star player for her school's basketball team ended when an accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. Now, she's still the team captain, but her competition days seem to be behind her...until an encounter with a mysterious elephant, who she names Marshmallow, helps Jordan discover a brand new sport.

Meena Meets Her Match

Karla Manternach
(Juvenile Fiction - J Mantern)

Third-grader Meena Zee navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and school while being diagnosed with epilepsy. Recommended for ages 9-12.

My Aunt is a Monster

Reimena Yee
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Yee My Aunt Is a Monster)

After Safia, who is blind, loses her parents, she is sent to live with her reclusive Aunt Whimsy, who is a retired adventurer. When Aunt Whimsy's archrival announces the discovery of a lost city, Aunt Whimsy comes out of retirement and takes Safia on an adventure. 

Roll with It

Jamie Sumner
(Juvenile Fiction - J Sumner)

Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease.

Show Me a Sign

Ann Clare LeZotte
(Juvenile Fiction - J Lezotte)

After the death of her brother and amidst increasingly tense land disputes between the English settlers and Wampanoag people, Mary Lambert's life is turned upside-down when a "scientist" kidnaps her in order to study the widespread deafness within the community of Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard. Set in 1805.

What is Disability?

Erin Hawley
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 362.4 Haw)
Series: Understanding Disability

This book explores what disability means and covers different types of disabilities both visible and invisible. The books in this series are authored by writers with disabilities.