Read All About It: Children’s Books About Special Needs
More books are not only using special needs as a theme, but are also including characters with disabilities. Kids with disabilities will see their own and other disabilities portrayed, and these books can also increase the awareness of disabilities among typical children. Diverse children’s books can be an awesome way to show your child a character they can relate to, or books can help a child learn how to connect to others they believe are different from them.
Trey the Chef: Cooking Camp by Kira Parris-Moore and Emily Zieroth
Trey is excited to start cooking camp, but he gets overwhelmed by the crowd and chaos of the kitchen. For ages 4-7.
The Secret Life of Kitty Granger by G. D. Falksen
16-year-old Kitty Granger has always been known as peculiar – she hates noise and crowds, fixates on patterns and feels acutely aware of her surroundings. But these behaviors allow her to uncover a Russian spy ring in this chapter book. For ages 11 and older.
The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit
This middle grade novel about two autistic sisters follows the start of their own detective agency. For ages 8-12.
All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph, Danielle Royer and Jennifer Zivoin
Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates and worries that they know he’s different. For ages 4-8.
Nathan’s Autism Spectrum Superpowers by Lori Leigh Yarborough and Natalie Merheb
Nathan explains his superpowers, how they affect him and how friends can help him when his superpowers spiral out of control. For ages 6-18.
My Brother Otto by Meg Raby and Elisa Pallmer
This book follows crow siblings, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. For ages 3-5.
The Bat Series by Elana K. Arnold and Charles Santoso
This young middle grade trilogy follows Bat, a boy on the autism spectrum, who navigates his life with his divorced parents, sister and friends. For ages 6-10.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley
Follow the life of Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism at a young age. No one expected her to learn to talk, but she has become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. For ages 5-10.
Amazing by Steve Antony
This picture book celebrates a friendship between a young boy, who uses a wheelchair, and his pet dragon, while sharing why understanding and acceptance are important. For ages 0-5.
Brown Boy, Be Social and Brown Girl, Be Social by Pamela Gurley
This new book series will feature 20 books highlighting Black and Brown children with Down syndrome, autism and physical disabilities to represent different childhoods for self-acceptance and self-love. For ages 1-10.
My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf and Ashley Barron
A girl and her mother enjoy a delightful day at the beach with many sensory experiences, showing that the girl’s physical disability doesn’t stop her from experiencing the beauty of the beach. For ages 3-7.
Guion the Lion by Rebecca Wilson Macsovits and Milena Kirkova
Using animals, this book follows Guion, an imaginative lion who sees the world differently than his friends, but they learn to appreciate his perspective. For ages 3-8.
Completely Me by Justine Green and Ana Luísa Silva
A little girl has never noticed she’s different until others start pointing out, but when she stands up for herself, she’ll teach the townspeople a lesson about acceptance. For ages 4-7.
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan and Christiane Krömer
This book introduces readers to Malik, a wheelchair user who’s built a special kite for a competition. Children will also learn about Basant, a springtime festival in the Indian Subcontinent. For ages 4-7.
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith
This sweet picture book shows a father helping his son reconnect with the world around him as he struggles to communicate in a way he’d like. For ages 4-8.
Too Sticky!: Sensory Issues with Autism by Jen Malia and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Holly loves experiments in her science class, but she struggles with making slime. Her family and her teacher encourage her to try it. For ages 4-8.
Juan Has the Jitters by Aneta Cruz and Miki Yamamoto
Juan has autism, and his teacher makes sure he feels included when there’s an athletic event by appointing him the official judge, where he can use his skills at counting, sorting and matching. For ages 4-8.
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López
This book celebrates the different abilities kids have, and looks at the special powers kids can have because of their differences. For ages 4-8.
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes and Scott Magoon
Rescue, a service dog, helps Jessica accomplish everyday tasks, and shows readers the training and abilities of service dogs. For ages 5-9.
I Am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell and Lauren Mark Baldo
These short biographies of famous figures tell how artists, thinkers, athletes and activists have overcome obstacles and owned their differences. Learn more about remarkable figures like Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin and more. For ages 6-12.
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit
11-year-old Vivy is determined to pitch for a real baseball team, proving that being a girl and being autistic won’t stop her. For ages 8-12.
The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time, adjusting to the hearing culture. This book features an own voices perspective on deaf and hard of hearing culture. For ages 13 and older.