Disabilities Pictured


These must-read picture books representing kids with disabilities have been praised by the disability community.


Emmanuel’s Dream

Laurie Ann Thompson

The story of a West African youth who pursued an education, helped support his family, and became a record-setting cyclist in spite of a disability traces his ongoing achievements as an activist.

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Dad and Me in the Morning

Patricia Lakin

Early one morning, a young boy wakes to the light of his alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aids and clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they brave the cold as they walk down the dirt road that leads to the beach. Lakin's understated story reminds readers that sometimes the best way to communicate doesn't involve words, while Steele's watercolor illustrations show that beauty is never far away.

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All the Way to the Top

Annette Bay Pimentel

This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her. Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change--even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but the way the world around her was built made it hard to do even simple things. Like going to school, or eating lunch in the cafeteria. Jennifer knew that everyone deserves a voice! Then the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that would make public spaces much more accessible to people with disabilities, was proposed to Congress. And to make sureit passed, Jennifer went to the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them. And, without her wheelchair, she climbed. ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!

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We’ll Paint the Octopus Red

Stephanie A. Bodeen, Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

Emma and her father discuss what they will do when the new baby arrives, but they adjust their expectations when he is born with Down syndrome.

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Hands & Hearts

Donna Jo Napoli

A mother and daughter spend a sunny day at the beach together where they swim, dance, build sandcastles, and, most importantly, communicate. But their communication is not spoken; rather, it is created by loving hands that use American Sign Language. Readers will learn how to sign 15 words using American Sign Language with the help of sidebars that are both instructive and playful. And the beautifully illustrated beach scenes will appeal both to the deaf community and to hearing parents and children, who will enjoy this gentle introduction to some basic words in ASL. Hands & Hearts is a picture book unlike any other, revealing the special bond between mother and child.

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The Pirate of Kindergarten

George Ella Lyon

Doubles are good for lots of things—double scoops of ice cream, double features at the movies. But double vision is NOT a good kind of double. In fact, it can make kindergarten kind of hard. Ginny sees double chairs at reading circle and double words in her books. She knows that only half of what she sees is real, but which half? The solution to her problem is wondrously simple: an eye patch! Ginny becomes the pirate of kindergarten.With the help of her pirate patch, Ginny can read, run, and even snip her scissors with double the speed! Vibrant illustrations from Lynne Avril capture the realities of what Ginny sees both before and after.

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I Talk Like a River

Jordan Scott

What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing. I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me. And I can't say them all . . . When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he'd like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father's ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

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King for a Day

Rukhsana Khan

Even though he is confined to a wheelchair, a Pakistani boy tries to capture the most kites during Basant, the annual spring kite festival, and become "king" for the day. Includes an afterword about the Basant festival.

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Talking Is Not My Thing

Rose Robbins

The autistic sister in this sibling pair is non verbal, but she finds plenty of ways to communicate and have fun with her brother. Although she can't talk, this little girl understands everything, and has plenty to say, and lots of ideas. Through body language, drawing pictures, making gestures or using flash cards, she is able to contribute to their life together. Her brother and granny are able to understand her whether she needs help or is helping them!

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Baby Loves the Five Senses: Hearing!

Ruth Spiro

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners. Baby loves the five senses! Accurate enough for experts, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the science of sound and hearing. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well.

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Thank You, Mr. Falker

At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.

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Can I Play Too?

Gerald the elephant and Piggie learn to play catch with their new friend Snake, even though Snake doesn't have any arms! By the author of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal-winning book, Are You Ready to Play Outside?

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