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Disabilities: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about disabilities?

Did you know that more than 12.8% of people in the United States of America have a disability (2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report)? Whether mental or physical differences, learning about disabilities can help us have a better understanding of conditions and more empathy for differently-abled people.

Apart from being a great way to learn, these books are also a great way to start conversations with your children about advocacy, inclusion, and kindness.

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Written by Dusti Bowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Aven Green was born without arms–so when her dad takes a job running a dying western theme park in Arizona, she knows she’ll become the center of unwanted attention at her new school. But she bonds with Connor, a classmate with his own disability to conquer. Then they discover a room at the park that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. Can Aven face her fears, solve a mystery, and help her friend, too?

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Binkle's Time to Fly
Written by Sharmila Collins & illustrated by Carolina Rabei
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Binkle cant wait until he turns from caterpillar to butterfly. Hell finally have strong, beautiful wings to take him high into the sky! But when the day comes, something is terribly wrong. Why are Binkles wings so wispy and weak? How will he ever fly like the other butterflies if his wings are nothing like theirs?

Yet with some help and creativity, maybe theres more than one way to fly . . .

As this charming, gorgeously illustrated story reminds us, life can present us with unwelcome challenges, but inventive alternatives and the support of others can make all the difference.

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Hello, Universe
Written by Erin Entrada Kelly & illustrated by Isabel Roxas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Winner of the Newbery Medal “A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships. Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms. The acclaimed and award-winning author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia. “Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal

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A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold & illustrated by Charles Santoso
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. “This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story” (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).

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The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

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  • Wonder - Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

  • Caterpillar Summer - Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a “meltdown”, Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.

  • Thank You, Mr. Falker - The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age. Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we. This inspiring story is available in a deluxe slipcased edition, complete with a personal letter to readers from Patricia Polacco herself. Thank You, Mr. Falker will make a beautiful gift for the special child who needs encouragement or any special teacher who has made a difference in the child’s life.

  • We're All Wonders - The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection “A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal “A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly “Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

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Out of My Mind
Written by Sharon Draper
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

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I am Helen Keller
Written by Brad Meltzer & illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos and Brad Meltzer
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I thought this was a fantastic biography of the life of Helen Keller--her hardships and accomplishments. There are a lot of fun facts in the story, and it's a little longer of a picture book, but I thought it was engaging and a fun, inspiring read.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

“The story of Helen Keller, who learned to read and write despite being deaf and blind, and became an activist who fought for the rights of disabled people”

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Susan Laughs
Written by Jeanne Willis & illustrated by Tony Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Rhyming couplets describe a wide range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl who uses a wheelchair.

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Hello Goodbye Dog
Written by Maria Gianferrari & illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For Zara’s dog, Moose, nothing is more important than being with her favorite girl. So when Zara has to go to school, WHOOSH, Moose escapes and rushes to her side. Hello, Moose! Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed at school and Moose has to go back home. Goodbye, Moose. But Moose can’t be held back for long. Through a series of escalating escapes, this loyal dog always finds her way back to Zara, and with a little bit of training and one great idea, the two friends find a way to be together all day long.

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We'll Paint the Octopus Red
Written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen & illustrated by Pam DeVito
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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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  • Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll - Unlike the other rocks that he plays with, Ricky can’t roll because he isn’t round. His friends help him to overcome his challenge and find a way for him to play like everyone else.

  • Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets - The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses is meant to demonstrate various forms of learning, creativity, and intelligence. Each book introduces a realistic example of triumph over difficulty in a positive, humorous way that readers of all ages will enjoy! David gets scolded a lot by his teacher, Mrs. Gorski, for not paying attention in class. He wants to pay attention but it is just so hard when an exciting idea pops into his head. And he usually can’t tell that he’s making a mistake until after he makes them. But after a particularly big mistake, David comes up with his own plan to tone down his wiggle fidgets. This award-winning story is a simple introduction to ADHD and the creative ways of finding solutions to the challenges that ADHD can create. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgetsis the recipient of: the Academics’ Choice Gold Seal Mom’s Choice Award Gold Parents’ Choice Award “A masterful tale of empowering children…Esham artfully describes the gifts and challenges of children with ADHD.” -Dr. Susan Baum, professor emeritus, the College of New Rochelle Praise for the series: “This is a wonderful book series. Each story shows children that success is about effort and determination, that problems need not derail them, and that adults can understand their worries and struggles. My research demonstrates that these lessons are essential for children.” –Dr. Carol S. Dweck

  • Granny Torrelli Makes Soup - Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today. Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It’s easier to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

  • Just Ask! - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique. Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful. In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

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The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Written by Julia Finley Mosca & illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes!

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!

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Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit–a vibrant, independent, and free girl–and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him–or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

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Fall of Hades
Written by Richard Paul Evans
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-15

Michael and his friends try to recruit Hatch’s Electric Youth to their side as the thrilling action continues in this electrifying sixth installment of the New York Times bestselling series! Michael and the Electroclan are about to embark on their deadliest mission yet. Some of them may not make it back. The head of the resistance, known only as the voice, believes that the best way to wipe out the Elgen is to steal their money. That means capturing the Joule, the Elgen boat that serves as a floating treasury. To do this, Michael and his friends need help…a lot of help. They’ve learned about a highly placed member of the Elite Elgen Guard named Welch, who wants to defect. They also know that Hatch has condemned three of his electric youth to death. If the Electroclan can get to Welch before the Elgen do, and if they can rescue Quentin, Torstyn, and Tara, they just might be able to steal the Joule. But it’s a big “if”… The stakes have never been higher, and Michael and his friends are about to be tested in ways they never imagined.

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How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine
Written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville & illustrated by Giselle Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine. As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug? Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!

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Intersectionallies: We Make Room for All
Written by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi & illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-12

[A] celebration of solidarity, allyship, and community…A welcoming resource for conversations about equality and social justice that shows readers how identities are made up of myriad influences.–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY The brainchild of three women-of-color sociologists, IntersectionAllies is a smooth, gleeful entry into intersectional feminism. The nine interconnected characters proudly describe themselves and their backgrounds, involving topics that range from a physical disability to language brokering, offering an opportunity to take pride in a personal story and connect to collective struggle for justice. The group bond grounds the message of allyship and equality. When things get hard, the kids support each other for who they are: Parker defends Kate, a genderfluid character who eschews skirts for a superhero cape; Heejung welcomes Yuri, a refugee escaping war, into their community; and Alejandra’s family cares for Parker after school while her mother works. Advocating respect and inclusion, IntersectionAllies is a necessary tool for learning to embrace, rather than shy away from, difference. Featuring gorgeous illustrations on every page by Ashley Seil Smith, as well as powerful introductions by activist and law professor Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality,” and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, author of Intersectionality: An Intellectual History.

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  • Bat and the Waiting Game - In the tradition of Clementine and Ramona Quimby, meet Bat. Author Elana K. Arnold returns with another irresistible story of friendship in this widely acclaimed series starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life is pretty great. He’s the caretaker of the best baby skunk in the world–even Janie, his older sister, is warming up to Thor. When Janie gets a part in the school play and can’t watch Bat after school, it means some pretty big changes. Someone else has to take care of the skunk kit in the afternoons, Janie is having sleepovers with her new friends, and Bat wants everything to go back to normal.He just has to make it to the night of Janie’s performance. . . .Elana K. Arnold’s Bat trilogy is a proven winner in the home and classroom–kids love these short illustrated young middle grade books. The trilogy is A Boy Called Bat, Bat and the Waiting Game, and Bat and the End of Everything.

  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle - From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Leslie Connor, comes a deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom. Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard.An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground haven for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin and, eventually, Benny.But will anyone believe him?National Book Award Finalist ALA Schneider Family Book Award 2019 ALSC Notable Children’s Book Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 2019-2020 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Amazon Best Books of 2018 Kirkus Best of Children’s 2018 New York Public Library Best Books 2018 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018 2018 Nerdy Book Club Middle Grade Winner South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee 2020 Colorado Children’s Book Award Nominee Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year 2019 (9-12) 2020 Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee 2020-2021 Missouri Association of School Librarians Mark Twain Readers Award Preliminary Nominee 2020-2021 Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee

  • The War I Finally Won - A New York Times bestseller Like the classic heroines of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables, Ada is a fighter for the ages. Her triumphant World War II journey continues in this sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The War that Saved My Life When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was–damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now? World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy? As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?

  • I Talk Like a River - 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. A Junior Library Guild Selection

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The Space We're in
Written by Katya Balen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ten-year-old Frank has trouble navigating his relationship with his younger brother Max who is autistic.

Frank loves soccer, codes, riding his bike, and playing with his friends. His brother Max is five. Max only eats foods that are beige or white, hates baths, and if he has to wear a t-shirt that isn’t gray with yellow stripes he melts down down down.

Frank longs for the brother he was promised by his parents before Max was born—someone who was supposed to be his biggest fan, so he could be the best brother in the world. Instead, Frank has trouble navigating Max’s behavior and their relationship. But when tragedy strikes, Frank finds a way to try and repair their fractured family and in doing so learns to love Max for who he is.

In her debut novel, Katya Balen uses her knowledge of autism and experience working with autistic people to create an intriguing and intense yet always respectful family story.

For readers of Counting by 7s and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

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Honey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Puppy love in Puppy Place! An irresistible Valentine’s Day story starring Honey, a sweet yellow Lab. In this special Valentine’s Day story, Charles and his best friend Sammy meet Honey, a sweet, intelligent yellow Lab who’s family is moving away–without Honey! When Charles brings this puppy home, guess who falls in love? Charles’s mom–the cat lover of the family! Will the Petersons end up keeping Honey? Or will Honey become a service dog and best pal for Noah, a talented artist who uses a wheelchair? One thing is for certain: puppy love is in the air!

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Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus
Written by Dusti Bowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“High School. Two words that struck fear into the heart of every armless middle schooler I knew. Which was me. And like two people online.” The sequel to the critically acclaimed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus follows Aven Green as she confronts yet another challenge: high school. Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school . . . with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

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It's Hard to Be a Verb!
Written by Julia Cook & illustrated by Carrie Hartman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When Louis has trouble paying attention and sitting still, his mother has a few ideas to help him focus.

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Chester and Gus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Critically acclaimed author Cammie McGovern presents a heartwarming and humorous middle grade novel about the remarkable bond that forms between an aspiring service dog and an autistic boy in need of a friend. “Joyful, inspiring, and completely winning, Chester and Gus is unforgettable,” proclaimed Katherine Applegate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Newbery Medal winner The One and Only Ivan.Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true–until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn’t even want Chester in the room. Chester’s not sure how to help Gus since this isn’t exactly the job he trained for–but he’s determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person.In the spirit of beloved classics like Because of Winn-Dixie, Shiloh, and Old Yeller, Cammie McGovern’s heartfelt novel–told from Chester’s point of view–explores the extraordinary friendship between a child and a dog with a poignant and modern twist.

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  • Woodpecker Girl - A girl with cerebral palsy feels trapped in her body and unable to communicate. When her art teacher straps a paintbrush to her head, she begins to paint her thoughts and feelings”€“opening up her world. This book is based on an actual story.

  • My Friend Suhana - While volunteering with her mother at a community center, a seven-year-old girl befriends Suhana, also seven, whose cerebral palsy makes it difficult for her to communicate or control her movements. Includes facts about cerebral palsy.

  • My Life as a Cartoonist - In Book Three of the popular My Life . . . series by Janet Tashjian, Derek Fallon’s plan to help out a new classmate backfires miserably There’s a new kid in Derek Fallon’s class. His name is Umberto and he uses a wheelchair. Derek’s family is still fostering Frank the monkey, and Derek thinks it would be great to train Frank to assist Umberto. But Derek quickly realizes that Umberto is definitely not looking for any help. Derek soon becomes the butt of Umberto’s jokes. On top of that, Umberto starts stealing Derek’s cartoon ideas and claiming them as his own. How did Derek get himself into this mess, and how can he find a way out before he is the laughingstock of school? The answer may very well be his cartoon strip–SUPER FRANK! My Life as a Cartoonist features illustrations by Janet Tashjian’s son, Jake Tashjian .

  • Brave Like That - Find yourself. Find your place. Find your brave. This uplifting tale, which award-winning author Leslie Connor dubbed “a perfectly paced journey of the heart” is perfect for fans of Lisa Graff and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Cyrus Olson’s dad is a hero–Northfield’s former football star and now one of their finest firefighters. Everyone expects Cyrus to follow in his dad’s record-breaking footsteps, and he wishes they were right–except he’s never been brave like that. But this year, with the help of a stray dog, a few new friends, a little bit of rhythm, and a lot of nerve, he may just discover that actually…he is. Lauded as “remarkable” by the New York Times Book Review, Lindsey Stoddard’s heartfelt stories continue to garner critical acclaim, and her latest novel will have fans new and old rooting for Cyrus and Parker’s special bond and the courage it helps them both to find.

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Fish in a Tree
Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

“Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions.

A New York Times Bestseller!

“Unforgettable and uplifting.”—School Library Connection, starred review

“Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review

“Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control.” —School Library Journal, starred review

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Dog Called Homeless
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Praised by Newbery Medal-winning author Katherine Applegate as graceful and miraculous, this Schneider Family Book Award-winning novel tells how one girl’s friendship with a homeless dog mends a family’s heart.Cally Fisher knows she can see her dead mother, but the only other living soul who does is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. How can Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with the family, or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog belongs with them?With beautiful, spare writing and adorable animals, A Dog Called Homeless is perfect for readers of favorite middle-grade novels starring dogs, such as Because of Winn-Dixie and Shiloh.

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Rise of the Elgen
Written by Richard Paul Evans
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-15

Michael must save his mother–and protect his powers–in the electric sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Michael Vey, from Richard Paul Evans. I rolled over to my back, struggling for breath. The pain continued to pulse through my body–a heavy throb followed by a sharp, crisp sting. The man said, “Trust me, there are worse things in this world than Cell 25.” Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan have escaped from the Elgen Academy in Pasadena and are headed back to Idaho to plan their next move. But what’s waiting for them there will change everything. After using their wits and powers to narrowly escape an Elgen trap, a mysterious voice leads the Electroclan to the jungles of Peru in search of Michael’s mother. Once there, they discover that Dr. Hatch and the Elgen are far more powerful than anyone realizes; entire countries have begun to fall under their control. Only the Electroclan and an anonymous voice now stand in the way of the Elgen’s plan for global domination. But is the voice that Michael is following really an ally, or is it just another Elgen trap?

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Railway Jack: The True Story of an Amazing Baboon
Written by KT Johnston & illustrated by César Samaniego
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Jim was a South African railway inspector in the late 1800s who lost his legs in an accident while at work. Unable to perform all his tasks with his disability but desperate to keep his job, Jim discovered a brilliant solution, a baboon named Jack. Jim trained Jack to help him both at home and at the depot. But when the railway authorities and the public discovered a monkey on the job, Jack and Jim had to work together to convince everyone that they made a great team. This inspiring true story celebrates the history of service animals and a devoted friendship.

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Out of My Heart
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Melody faces her fears to follow her passion in this stunning sequel to the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling middle grade novel Out of My Mind. Melody, the huge-hearted heroine of Out of My Mind, is a year older, and a year braver. And now with her Medi-talker, she feels nothing’s out of her reach, not even summer camp. There have to be camps for differently-abled kids like her, and she’s going to sleuth one out. A place where she can trek through a forest, fly on a zip line, and even ride on a horse! A place where maybe she really can finally make a real friend, make her own decisions, and even do things on her own–the dream! By the light of flickering campfires and the power of thunderstorms, through the terror of unexpected creatures in cabins and the first sparkle of a crush, Melody’s about to discover how brave and strong she really is.

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  • Allergic: A Graphic Novel - A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with the new baby they’re expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd draws on her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

  • Ethan's Story - “When Ethan Rice was four years old, he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He decided that he wanted to tell his first grade class that he had autism on his seventh birthday. His parents asked him many questions about what having autism felt like for him and wrote his answers down as a reference for when he told his class. Those answers are now published so more people can understand what it is like to have autism. While each child on the spectrum has unique challenges and strengths, Ethan’s Story; My Life with Autism is Ethan’s own story.”– P. [4] of cover.

  • Polly and Her Duck Costume: A True Story of a Little Blind Rescue Goat - Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. The perfect tale to inspire and delight animal lovers, Polly and Her Duck Costume pairs beautiful illustrations with a truly heartwarming tale readers of all ages will adore.

  • Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask about Having a Disability - Not So Different offers a humorous, relatable, and refreshingly honest glimpse into Shane Burcaw’s life. Shane tackles many of the mundane and quirky questions that he’s often asked about living with a disability, and shows readers that he’s just as approachable, friendly, and funny as anyone else. Shane Burcaw was born with a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which hinders his muscles’ growth. As a result, his body hasn’t grown bigger and stronger as he’s gotten older–it’s gotten smaller and weaker instead. This hasn’t stopped him from doing the things he enjoys (like eating pizza and playing sports and video games) with the people he loves, but it does mean that he routinely relies on his friends and family for help with everything from brushing his teeth to rolling over in bed. A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017

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Sidetracked
Written & illustrated by Diana Harmon Asher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place–he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. So, he spends most of his time avoiding school bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a crazy-fast runner who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner or anybody else. With a new friend and a new team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time. Is he a good runner? Well, no, he’s terrible. But the funny thing about running is, once you’re in the race, anything can happen.

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All My Stripes
Written by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer & illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his “autism stripe,” he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more.

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Song for a Whale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him. From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to sing to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him? Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves. Fascinating, brave, and tender…a triumph. –Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award-winning author of The One and Only Ivan

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Who Was Helen Keller?
Written by Who HQ & illustrated by Nancy Harrison
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

At age two, Helen Keller became deaf and blind. She lived in a world of silence and darkness and she spent the rest of her life struggling to break through it. But with the help of teacher Annie Sullivan, Helen learned to read, write, and do many amazing things. This inspiring illustrated biography is perfect for young middle-grade readers. Black-and-white line drawings throughout, sidebars on related topics such as Louis Braille, a timeline, and a bibliography enhance readers’ understanding of the subject.

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The Final Spark
Written by Richard Paul Evans
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 13-17

Michael Vey is missing and it’s up to the Electroclan to find him in this electrifying seventh installment of the New York Times bestselling series! The final book in the Michael Vey series opens with the Electroclan facing a devastating loss: Michael is missing. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends and now he’s gone. What is next for them and the revolution? The battle on the island of Hades ended with a devastating explosion that left the island a smoking ruin and much of Hatch’s army dead. However, Hatch survived and while his plans have certainly suffered a setback, he’s more determined than ever to bring the world’s governments under his control. But first, he wants to wipe out the Resistance and capture the remaining members of the Electroclan. As Hatch’s forces storm into action, it seems nothing can stand in their way. The Electroclan is divided. The voice is captured, and Michael’s mother is being used as bait to lure the leader of the Resistance out of hiding. Can anything–or anyone–stop the Elgen? Or is this the end?

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