8 Diverse Books Featuring a Character With A Disability-Update

If apples were pears, and peaches were plums, and the rose had a different name. If tigers were bears, and fingers were thumbs, I'd love you just the same.-Anonymous 
(This Quote is From the Book Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs.)

For this blog post, I wanted to focus on books that deal with children that come from different cultural backgrounds and have disabilities.  I am glad that children book authors are thinking outside the box. Talking about children with disabilities opens up windows of understanding for parents, teachers, and children.  I have a concentration in Special Education and I think that books are a wonderful resource, especially helping others understand different lifestyles.   I think that it is wonderful that I can recommend these books to others.  Children in school should learn that everyone is different and that people with disabilities can have a voice. I hope you enjoy my list of great books dealing with characters with disabilities! I would love to know about more!

This has become one of my favorite books, I love the storyline. The story is about a girl name Melody and her family. Melody has cerebral palsy, but Melody does not let that stop her in school or anywhere else. She is faced with challenges, but beats the odds that are stacked against her daily. Draper said that she did not give Melody a race because Melody can be whoever you want her to be. I thought that was unique of Draper to focus on more than just race, but obstacles that Melody and her family achieved.

The book shows so much love, patience, and understanding. Charlie and Callie are twins, they're best friends, and they do everything together. Charle has autism and his sister narrates the story and explains how her and Charlie live day to day. The authors, a mother and daughter team, decided to share their personal experiences. I also like how the illustrator used bright colors to demonstrate the family's love for each other.

Such a sweet story about four friends who are in the same class and are excited about field day. All the children talk about what part they would like to compete in during that day. Then, Zulay says she wants to compete also, her classmates look at her strange. Zulay is blind and just started learning how to use her cane. She overcomes the odds and shows greatness within this story.

Bob Love was a great basketball player, but his story goes beyond the court. Love sustain an injury that placed him off the court and he became a dishwasher after his career was cut short. Love also talks about how he overcame his stuttering problem and now gives inspiring speeches.   It is a story on how a man pulled himself up and became a director of community relations for the Bulls.

A three-chapter story narrated by a young boy with Down Syndrome. I like the fact that authors are not just focusing on just the disabilities in these different stories. In this book, Rico makes a new friend, helps his sister with a hard decision, and draws a picture that he really likes.

This story showcases children from all over the world describing how they live with their disabilities and how they feel about living with that certain disability.

I read this book when I was younger.  It was the first book I read that talked about a character with a disability.  Willy Palmer is fourteen and school has always been kind of hard for him. Willy realizes that he will always be different so he quits school. Then, during the summer, Willy becomes friends with his neighbor's visiting niece, Kathleen. She helps him discover his strengths and helps him emerge from self-doubt. Brown does well at describing Willy's child-like mind, innocence, and inner growth.

When I found out about this book, I had to add it to this list. Nelson, the main character, is placed in Special Education because of a learning disability. Nelson is encouraged by his teachers and parents to fight against the odds that are stacked against him at school.  I really enjoyed reading something that teaches children to encourage themselves in the midst of the "labels". This story is personal for the author and that's what makes it such a great story.  He beat the odds and now he wants to show others that they can do the same with determination.  I also like the quotes that were added by famous people, it was a great touch.


  1. I left a message earlier, but I don't see it. Really loved your choice of Sharon's Draper's "Out of My Mind." Am looking forward to seeing it made into a movie. Melody is such a funny protagonist. Also liked "My Brother Charlie." Will have to check out the others you mentioned. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for Commenting! I really enjoyed, "Out of my Mind."

  2. I put most of these books on my list to check out! Really interesting suggestions!

  3. This is a great list - I'm just putting a reading list together too, and only one of the books coincides - it's great that there are more and more culturally diverse books available with disability as a theme. These all sound great. Thank you for sharing with #diversekidlit

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Hopefully, we will have more books that fall into this category in the future.

  4. I LOVED Out of My Mind but many of the rest of these are new to me. Thanks so much for sharing this great list with #diversekidlit!

  5. Yes! Out of Mind is one of my favorites! Thanks for stopping by.


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