Disabilities in Books for Youth

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In honor of this day, we present you with a list of recent titles of books about people with disabilities. Both picture books and juvenile/young adult books are separated into two categories: mental disabilities and physical disabilities. In addition to the list below, another list to check is a student contributed bibliography of Picture Books about Disabilities for Young Readers. To find more books about disabilities in our online catalog do an Advanced Search for the disability (ex: “autism” or “disabilities”) in search by Subject Words and the word “juvenile” in search by Subject Words.

Curious about people who have disabilities? Check out this list of famous people with disabilities.

Disabilities in Non-fiction

Delano, Marfe Ferguson.
Helen’s eyes: a photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher. 2008.
Describes the life of Annie Sullivan and the obstacles she faced as partially sighted that later allowed her to teach Helen Keller.
[Education S Collection Q. S.920.93711 D337h]

Dwight, Laura.
Brothers and sisters. 2005.
Like most brothers and sisters, the siblings in this book play together, compete with each other, and help one another. This book shows that having a sibling with a physical disability is not so different from having a sibling without a disability. They work together to overcome their problems, whatever the problems are.
[Center for Children’s Books S.362.4083 D965b]

Hansen, Rosanna.
Panda: a guide horse for Ann. 2005.
This photo-essay shows how Panda helps her owner and how the miniature horse was originally trained as a guide horse. The miniature horse has a life span much longer than a guide dog’s, giving it an extended relationship with its blind owner .
[Education S Collection Q. S.362.40483 H198p]

Jeffrey, Laura S.
All about Braille: reading by touch. 2004.
Explains how the blind read and write by using a system of raised dots created by Louis Braille and named after him.
[Education S Collection S.411 J372a]

Landau, Elaine.
Autism. 2001.
Using case histories, personal stories, and the latest research on autism, the author provides a thorough and absorbing study of this often misunderstood disorder. Also included are suggestions for further reading and contact information for organizations concerned with autism.
[Uni High 616.8982 L231a]

Landau, Elaine.
Head and brain injuries. 2002.
Discusses the nature and treatment of each disease and examines possible cures. Contains fascinating case studies, as well as question and answers.
[Education Storage S.617.481044 L231h]

Manson, Ainslie.
Boy in motion: Rick Hansen’s story. 2007.
As a young boy, Rick Hansen loved to fish and play ball. At 15, an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. However, Rick was a very determined young man. He’d still fish and play ball and live out his dreams– he’d just learn to do them differently.
[Education S Collection Q. SB. H2488m]

Owning It: Stories about Teens with Disabilities. 2008.
Presents ten stories of teenagers facing all of the usual challenges of school, parents, boyfriends and girlfriends, plus the additional complications that come with having a physical or psychological disability.
[Center for Children’s Books S.808.83 Ow4]

Royston, Angela.
Using a wheelchair. 2005.
Using a wheelchair is a condition many people live with. Find out what life is like for some who use a wheelchair.
[Education S Collection S.617.033 R816w]

Mental Disabilities in Fiction
Picture Books

Altman, Alexandra.
Waiting for Benjamin. 2008.
Alexander experiences feelings of disappointment, anger, embarrassment, and jealousy when his younger brother is diagnosed with autism.
[Education S Collection SE. Al797w]

DeBear, Kristin.
Be Quiet, Marina! 2001.
A noisy little girl with cerebral palsy and a quiet little girl with Down syndrome learn to play together and eventually become best friends.
[Center for Childen’s Books SE. D3506b]

Girnis, Meg.
1, 2, 3 for You and Me. 2001.
Photographs show children with Down syndrome in activities with objects corresponding to numbers one through twenty.
[Education S Collection SE. G443o]

Girnis, Meg.
ABC for You and Me. 2000.
Photographs show children with Down syndrome in activities with objects corresponding to the letters of the alphabet.
[Education S Collection SE. G443a]

Glenn, Sharlee Mullins.
Keeping Up with Roo. 2004.
Gracie has always had a special bond with her Aunt Roo, who is mentally disabled, but that relationship starts to change when Gracie begins school.
[Education S Collection SE. G487k]

Niekerk, Clarabelle van & Liezl Venter
Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome. 2008.
A young boy named Sam, has difficulty at school and seems moody at home. When Sam is diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, his family and teachers understand him better and learn how to help him succeed. Includes tips for parents, teachers and children on being with children who have Asperger’s.
[Education S Collection S. N553u]

Perez, Annette.
My Brain Won’t Float Away. 2006.
Eight-year-old Annie begins a journey of self-discovery when she learns that some of her traits which make her different from other children are the result of hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” Text in English and Spanish.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. P415m]

Physical Disabilities in Fiction
Picture Books

Chaconas, Dori.
Dancing with Katya. 2006.
In the late 1920s, Anna tries to help her younger sister Katya regain her strength and joy in life after she becomes crippled by polio.
[Education Storage Q. SE. C344d]

Emmons, Chip.
Sammy Wakes His Dad. 2000.
Sammy’s father, who is in a wheelchair, is reluctant to join Sammy in going fishing, until his son’s love finally moves him to action.
[Education Storage SE. Em67s]

Herrera, Juan Felipe.
Featherless. 2004.
Although Tomasito’s spina bifida keeps him in a wheelchair, where he often feels as confined as his flightless and featherless pet bird, he discovers that he can feel free when he is on the soccer field.
[Education S Collection SE. H433f:Sp]

Millman, Isaac.
Moses Goes to the Circus. 2003.
Moses, who is deaf, has a good time with his family at the circus, where they communicate using sign language. Includes illustrations of some of the signs they use.
[Education S Collection SE. M623m]

Seeger, Pete and Paul DuBois Jacobs
The Deaf Musicians. 2006.
Lee, a jazz pianist, has to leave his band when he begins losing his hearing, but he meets a deaf saxophone player in a sign language class and together they form a snazzy new band.
[Education S Collection Q. S. Se326d]

Shirley, Debra.
Best Friends on Wheels. 2008.
A young girl relates all the ways she and her best friend, Sarah, are alike, in spite of the fact that Sarah uses a wheelchair.
[Education S Collection SE. Sh66b]

Mental Disabilities in Fiction
Juvenile & YA Literature

Baskin, Nora Raleigh.
Anything but Typical. 2009.
Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.
[Education S Collection S. B292an]

Easton, Kelly.
To Be Mona. 2008.
High school senior Sage tries to hide her mentally ill mother and get a popular football player to go out with her, but eventually she realizes that abandoning her real friends and letting herself be manipulated by others does not make her feel better after all. Includes author’s note about bipolar disorder and abusive relationships.
[Education S Collection S. Ea794t]

Hyde, Catherine Ryan.
The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance. 2007.
Thirteen-year-old Cynnie has had to deal with her mother’s alcoholism and stream of boyfriends all her life, but when her grandparents take custody of her brother, who has Down syndrome, Cynnie becomes self-destructive and winds up in court-mandated Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
[Education S Collection S. H992y]

Lowry, Lois.
The Silent Boy. 2003.
Katy, the precocious ten-year-old daughter of the town doctor, befriends a boy with developmental disabilities.
[Education S Collection S.L9551si]

Stork, Francisco X.
Marcelo in the Real World. 2009.
Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.
[Uni High Fiction St747m]

Vidal, Clara.
Like a Thorn. 2008.
Throughout her childhood, Melie believes her mother is two people–Rosy Mother and Dark Mother–and she performs more and more rituals to keep Dark Mother away as she reaches adolescence, when she begins to realize that her mother is mentally ill and that Melie may be, as well.
[Education S Collection S. B625t]

Physical Disabilities in Fiction
Juvenile & YA Literature

Aronson, Sarah.
Head Case. 2007.
Seventeen-year-old Frank Marder struggles to deal with the aftermath of an accident he had while driving drunk that killed two people, including his girlfriend, and left him paralyzed from the neck down.
[Center for Children’s Books S. Ar676h]

Burnett, Frances Hodgson
The Secret Garden. 2008 ed.
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.
[Education S Collection S. B934s2008]

DeGross, Monalisa
Donovan’s Double Trouble. 2008.
Fourth-grader Donavan is sensitive about the problems he has understanding math, and then when his favorite uncle, a former high school basketball star, returns from National Guard duty an amputee, Donavan’s problems get even worse as he struggles to accept this “new” Uncle Vic.
[Education S Collection S. D365do]

Howell, Simmone.
Everything Beautiful. 2008.
When sixteen-year-old Riley unwillingly attends a religious summer camp, she forms a deep bond with another camper who happens to be wheelchair bound.
[Center for Children’s Books S. H8395e]

Kathryn Lasky
The Last Girls of Pompeii. 2007.
Twelve-year-old Julia knows that her physical deformity will keep her from a normal life, but counts on the continuing friendship of her life-long slave, Mitka, until they learn that both of their futures in first-century Pompeii are about to change for the worse.
[Education Storage S. L3352la]

LeZotte, Ann Clare.
T4: A Novel in Verse. 2008.
When the Nazi party takes control of Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula, who is deaf, finds her world-as-she-knows-it turned upside down, as she is taken into hiding to protect her from the new law nicknamed T4.
[Education S Collection S. L599t]

Matlin, Marlee & Doug Cooney
Leading Ladies. 2007.
A deaf fourth-grader finds her true calling when she is cast as Dorothy in a school production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
[Education S Collection S. M427l]

Portman, Frank.
Andromeda Klein. 2009.
High school sophomore Andromeda, an outcast because she studies the occult and has a hearing impairment and other disabilities, overcomes grief over terrible losses by enlisting others’ help in her plan to save library books–and finds a kindred spirit along the way.
[Uni High Fiction P837a]

Willard, Elizabeth Kimmel.
Mary Ingalls on Her Own. 2008.
In 1881, sixteen-year-old Mary Ingalls becomes a student at the Iowa College for the Blind, where she studies academic subjects and learns skills that will allow her to be independent and to earn a living.
[Education S Collection S. K571m]