The books on this page are in alphabetical order, sorted by title. After the title you will see the author's name, name of illustrator, recommended ages and a synopsis or review of the book. To view books by category . To view books by author's last name . To order any of the books or get more information, click on the book title. Please email me if you would like to recommend a book or if you would like to review a book for this page. Happy reading!
Amee-Nah: Zuni Boy Runs the Race of His Life by Kenneth Thomasma, Jack Brouwer (Illustrator). For ages 7 to 11. From Children's Literature: "Ten-year-old Amee-nah is dreading the upcoming summer vacation because his clubfoot and resulting limp will once again keep him from joining other boys his age at sheep camp. Zuni Pueblo of northeastern New Mexico, in 1939, is the setting for this addition to the "Amazing Indian Children's" series. Besides missing out on sheep camp, Amee-nah also wishes he could participate in trditional stick races and other sports and even regrets his nickname, "Amee-nah." which means lazy. This simple, straightforward novel describes how, with strength and determination, and some help from his friend, Mawee, and his caring mother, coach and doctor, Amee-nah succeeds in recovering from an operation to correct his foot and fulfills his dream of attending sheep camp and running in the stick races."
Apple Is My Sign by Mary Riskind. For Young Adults. "A 10-year-old boy returns to his parents' apple farm for the holidays after his first term at a school for the deaf in Philadelphia. "An exuberant book that should do a lot to put across the natural feelings, and special circumstances, of deaf kids."--Kirkus Reviews, pointer review. ALA Notable Children's Book.
Apt. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats. For ages 6 to 10. From the Publisher: "Sam and his little brother Ben hear mysterious music in their apartment building, but they're not sure where it's coming from. They search every floor, but all they find are a lot of noisy people. But the blind man in apt. 3 is different; he's something special, and his music is something Sam and Ben won't soon forget."
Arnie and the New Kid by Nancy L. Carlson. For ages 5 to 8. From Booklist: "Top cat Arnie teases Philip because he is confined to a wheelchair. Yet when Arnie falls down the school steps and breaks a leg, twists a wrist, and sprains a tail, he begins to see life from a different perspective."
Barnaby's Birthday by John Fitzgerald, Pam Posey and Lyn Fitzgerald. For ages 5-8. Barnaby, a child with Down Syndrome, celebrates his birthday at a party with his friends.
Be Good To Eddie Lee by Virginia Fleming, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator). For ages 5 to 8. From Horn Book, Inc.: "A boy with Down syndrome eventually wins the respect of two reluctant children by leading them to special places in the woods near their homes. The gentle, carefully wrought tale both directly and allegorically conveys appreciation of differences."
Benjamin's Gift by Charles R. Callaway, Richard Holdaway (Illustrator) and Gloy Wride (Illustrator). For all ages. From the Publisher "Benjamin was born with no legs. His parents had died years before while on a trip to Jericho. Lancus, his brother, was left to rear him as best as he could. Adult as well as peers ridiculed him for the way he looked. Yet deep within his heart, Benjamin knew that his only hope in dealing with people was through love. He knew he was not able to lift great physical burdens for others, but he could lift the heavy burdens of the heart. Benjamin found through his experiences that giving and continuing to give is where true happiness in life begins. Benjamin shows his love for the Christ Child by giving his most precious gift."
Big Brother Dustin by Alden R. Carter, Carol Carter (Illustrator) and Dan Young (Illustrator). For ages 5 to 8. From School Library Journal: "Dustin, a boy with Down Syndrome, is excited when his parents tell him he will have a new baby sister after the New Year. He eagerly helps his parents ready the nursery and makes a visit to the local hospital to learn about the care of babies. He is also responsible for picking the perfect name for his new sister. This charming introduction to the topic is illustrated with colorful, full-color photographs that capture the everydayworld and experiences of young children...The book is crisply organized with an easy-to-read text and an appealing snapshot album at the end with pictures of Dustin and MaryAnn as she begins to grow."
Bird Boy by Elizabeth Starr Hill, Lesley Liu (Illustrator). For ages 8 to 12. From Kirkus: " Chang, mute from birth but able to imitate bird sounds, is thrilled when his father, a cormorant fisherman, decides he's old enough to help with the ``Big Catch,'' a night when thousands of fish gather in one particular spot on the Li River in southern China. Chang does so well that he is then allowed to help raise a cormorant chick. When a local bully, Jinan, steals it, Chang must stand up for himself, rescue the bird, nurse it back to life, and protect it. The story is almost incidental to the fascinating world the author depicts: Chang's family lives on a houseboat and uses trained cormorants to catch the fish for them. The details of this, and of the raising of the cormorant chick, are enthralling, and outside the experience and knowledge of most US children. As an introduction to a remote, intriguing world, this novella will capture the imagination and curiosity of young readers."
Blabber Mouth and Sticky Beak by Morris Gleitzman. For ages 8 to 12. From Publisher's Weekly: "Two ebullient novels from Australia showcase an unusually engaging heroine who has an equally unusual condition: Rowena Batts, the new girl in school, can't speak. As she explains in a letter to her new classmates at the start of Blabber Mouth, ``I was born with some bits missing from my throat. Apart from that, I'm completely normal.'' Longing for a friendly overture and having been humiliated straight away by the class bully, Rowena expects (correctly) that even greater embarrassment awaits her at the hands of her widowed father, an eccentric with a flair for making a spectacle of himself. In the sequel, Sticky Beak, Rowena's kind teacher, Ms. Dunning, has married Rowena's father and is pregnant. Rowena fears she'll be replaced in their affections by a more perfect sibling. Gleitzman (Two Weeks with the Queen) shows his comedic talent in both stories while also conveying Rowena's occasional, wrenching frustrations. Rowena's circumstances may be very particular, but her brio in surmounting an almost universal set of fears should win a wide audience indeed."
Cheshire Moon by Nancy Butts. For ages 10 to 14. From School Library Journal: "Most anyone would be apprehensive about returning to an aunt's idyllic summer home on an island in Penobscot Bay after a favorite cousin is lost at sea. Miranda has more difficulty than most expressing her feelings. She is profoundly hearing impaired, and Timothy was one of the few close friends with whom her disability did not prevent fluent communication. Communication, rather than his mysterious disappearance, becomes central to this story. Torn between her desire to use sign language and her parents' and teachers' insistence on oral speech, Miranda finds herself retreating from the hearing world. Her feelings of isolation will speak loudly to all readers."
Colt by Nancy Springer. For ages 10 to 12. Colt Vittorio has never run a race, or even walked down the street on his own. Colt has spina
bifida, and sees the world from a wheelchair. Then his mother signs him up for a special riding program. "An excellent portrayal of a young person struggling with the emotional and social ramifications of a serious disease."--Booklist. An IRA Young Adult's Choice; Winner of the Joan Fassler Memorial Book Award.
Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin, Robert Steele (Illustrator). For ages 5 to 8. From Booklist: "n a special morning interlude, a young boy awakens his father, and they go down to the beach to watch the sunrise. The young boy is deaf, but he and his father have many ways of communicating. Dealt with simply, as part of the reality of their relationship, the boy's deafness is unobtrusively woven into this story about a father and child sharing a moment in time. In tune with the sensitive
tone of the text, Steele's atmospheric watercolor illustrations capture the rising light of dawn as well as the love between the boy and his father. Reminiscent of Jane Yolen's "Owl Moon" (1987), this warm story can be considered for all picture book collections."
Don't Call Me Marda by Sheila Kelly Welch. For ages 9 to 12. From School Library Journal: " Marsha O'Dell, 11, has been looking forward to the new younger sister her parents are planning to adopt. In addition to having fun with her, she hopes to teach her sister to ride the beloved pony that is now too small for her so she won't have to sell it. Marsha's imaginings are threatened when she realizes that her parents are considering adopting a mentally handicapped child, and her fears are realized when Wendy actually arrives. Disruption at home and teasing from schoolmates become regular occurrences, but it is Marsha's own doing that causes one of the worst incidents, and, in time, a turning point. There are no easy solutions here, and the story concludes on a positive note with Wendy's birthday offerings to Marsha--a painstakingly decorated cake and a hard-practiced ability to pronounce Marsha's name correctly. Welch provides information on the characteristics of what she calls developmentally delayed children and presents a realistic portrayal of foster life and of the adoption process itself. Although the story is flawed by occasional lapses into stilted language, Marsha's emotions and reactions are typical and understandable. Pleasing black-and-white drawings appear throughout the story."
Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Gillem Robinet. For ages 9 to 11. From School Library Journal: "Once again, Robinet has humanized a little-known piece of American history. In the spring of 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau approved a plan to give 40 acres of abandoned land to former slave families. Forty thousand freed people took advantage of that offer, only to lose their farms when it was withdrawn in September. The author focuses on Pascal, 12, a slave on a plantation in South Carolina. His older brother Gideon, who ran away during the war, returns to collect him and they head for Georgia, determined to become landowners. Teaming up with Pascal's friend Nelly and the elderly Mr. Freedman and his granddaughter, they form a family, claim land, and begin to farm. The Bibbs, white neighbors from Tennessee, are helpful in protecting them from the night riders who are determined to destroy black-owned farms. Despite their hard work, Pascal and the others are evicted at the end of the summer. Luckily, Gideon had found a treasure buried under a tree, and they set out to buy land on the Georgia Sea Islands. Pascal is a likable boy whose withered hand and leg limit his body but not his mind and whose dreadful jokes entertain everyone. The dialect may deter some readers at first, but sympathy for the characters will keep children going until they reach the satisfying ending."
The Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick. For ages 10-14. From School Library Journal: "A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss. Large, awkward, learning-disabled Maxwell Kane, whose father is in prison for murdering his mother, and crippled, undersized Kevin are both mocked by their peers; the cruel taunting they endure is all too realistic and believable. The boys establish a friendship-and a partnership. Kevin defends them with his intelligence, while Max is his friend's ``legs,'' affording him a chance to participate in the larger world. Inspired by tales of King Arthur, they become knights fighting for good and true causes. But Kevin's illness progresses, and when he dies, Max is left with the memories of an extraordinary relationship and, perhaps, the insight to think positively about himself and his future. The author writes with empathy, honoring the possibilities of even peripheral characters; Kevin and Max are memorable and luminous. Many YA novels deal with the effects of a friend dying, but this one is somewhat different and very special."
Howie Helps Himself by Joan Fassler, Joe Lasker (Illustrator). For ages 6 to 8. Though he enjoys life with his family and attends school, Howie, a child with cerebral palsy, wants more than anything else to be able to move his wheelchair by himself.
Mandy Sue Day by Robert Karim, Karen Ritz (Illustrator). For ages 5 to 8. From School Library Journal: "Mandy Sue's father gives each of his children a day off from their farm chores and their home-schooling lessons to enjoy the days of Indian summer, and today is her day. She describes her activities in sensual detail as she feeds and grooms her horse, Ben, saddles and bridles him, and goes for a ride in the surrounding countryside. After a sumptuous family dinner, she asks if she can sleep in the stable loft that night, and her parents agree that Ben will take care of her. Only as she sets off for the barn and her little brother brings her a flashlight do readers learn that Mandy Sue is blind. Karim's prose, which borders on blank verse, beautifully conveys the child's sensations and
emotions. Ritz's illustrations in muted colors have an old-fashioned ambiance and depict a warm family and the area's open landscape. Children will think differently about ``handicaps'' such as blindness after reading this story, and teachers wishing to engender discussion about differences should find it a provocative way to begin."
A Very Special Critter by Mercer Mayer and Gina Mayer. For ages 5 to 8. Little Critter discovers that the new boy in class is really not so different from anyone else, even though he is in a wheelchair.
On Being Sarah by Elizabeth Helfman, Lino Saffioti (Illustrator). For Young Adults. From Booklist: " Sarah is 12 years old. She has cerebral palsy, is confined to a wheelchair, and communicates through Blissymbols, a tool for those unable to vocalize. Based on the life of a real person, Helfman's novel explores the tremendous difficulties and small triumphs of Sarah's everyday life--getting to school on her own, adjusting to being mainstreamed, meeting her first "friend who happens to be boy." Faithful to Sarah's point of view, the book focuses on her physical challenges and shows that when those around her are helpful and sensitive, her difficulties need not be restrictive. Sarah and her family and friends are neither well-rounded nor clearly delineated characters. They exist to further the book's message, which points out clearly and often that there is a complex human soul inside Sarah's body. An afterword explains the origin of Blissymbols."
The Secret Code by Dana Meachen Rau, Bari Weissman (Illustrator). For ages 5 to 7. From The Horn Book, Inc.: "Intrigued by Oscar's "secret code," Lucy descovers that her blind friend reads Braille books. After Oscar teaches Lucy how to read in Braille, the pair's classmates are eager to learn, too. Lively watercolor and ink illustrations complement the gentle message that human differences can generate new learning opportunities."
Sees Behind the Trees by Michael Dorris. For ages 8 to 12. From Children's Literature: "Walnut, a fifteenth century Powhatan Indian, dreads the warrior's test to prove his manhood because of his limited vision. It is his other, extremely acute senses of hearing, smelling and intuition that earn him the name Sees Behind Trees. Once he receives this great name and acknowledgement, he wonders how his name fits him. This leads him, finally, on a grand adventure where discovers a miraculous land of water, and goes through losses that transform him from boy to man. Dorris' portrayal of the humor, warmth, and wisdom through experience of Native American life vividly
shows a different era and way of being."
Thumbs Up Rico by Maria Testa, Diane Paterson (Illustrator). For ages 8 to 12. From Booklist: "A three-chapter story narrated by a young boy with Down syndrome. In the first chapter, Rico really likes the way Caesar plays basketball, but Caesar will have nothing to do with him and calls him ``dummy'' the first time they meet. Their friendship unfolds as Caesar realizes that Rico plays on a team, something he would like to do himself. Next, Rico struggles with his sister's wish to go to her friend's birthday party rather than to his big play-off game. Finally, he overcomes his feelings of artistic inadequacy. After seeking help and advice from his father, mother, sister, and friends, he finds the resources within himself to improve his drawing ability. The boy's emotional growth is well developed in the simple but realistic episodes. Watercolor illustrations bring the characters to life. Their facial expressions are depicted honestly, adding to readers' overall understanding of the story."
The Trouble with Tuck and Tuck Triumphant by Theodore Taylor. For ages 9 to 12. From School Library Journal: " Helen Ogden, 14, and Tuck, her blind Labrador, both introduced in The Trouble with Tuck, continue their courageous, loving story. Having trained Tuck to use Lady Daisy as his seeing-eye dog, Helen now faces a new challenge when her parents decide to adopt a Korean orphan. When the family meets six-year-old Chok-Do at the airport, they discover that the boy is deaf and mute. While her parents agonize over a decision to send Chok-Do back, Helen takes him on as her project. She trained Tuck; she can train Chok-Do and the family. After difficult adjustments, life-threatening episodes, and the death of Lady Daisy, the family plans a wilderness trip before deciding Chok-Do's fate. During a thunderstorm, Tuck saves both Chok-Do and Helen, and the parents realize they love the boy. Helen and Tuck triumphantly prevail, intrepid and determined; Tuck will get a new seeing-eye dog and everyone will learn sign language. All the details of a deaf-mute are accurate, as are the harrowing, potentially deadly incidents that wouldn't occur if Chok-Do could hear. The dog relationships are very appealing. Helen's character--resolute, brave, open-minded, patient--is an excellent model for readers, and there's enough excitement, carefully spaced, to keep readers interested or to make this a good read-aloud."
A Way of His Own By T.A. A. Dyer.For Young Adults. From School Library Journal: "A lame boy from a very primitive nomadic tribe is abandoned by his family and, together with a girl stolen from another tribe, tries to survive a cruel winter. "A thoughtful, uncondescending examination of prejudice and superstition, strengthened by well-developed characters and relationships."
We Can Do It by Laura Dwight. For ages 5 to 8. From Booklist: "In a series of individual photo-essays a number of children around five years old with various disabilities--cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, blindness--are shown with families and friends, teachers and therapists, at school and at play. The bright, informal color photographs are full of action and vitality, and the brief, first-person narratives are upbeat. "I can do lots of things," say these smiling, beautiful kids of various races--and they can. They are shown doing what makes them special ("The kids want to know about my wheelchair." "Last year I had an operation to help me walk." "This is my chair; my name is on it in Braille") and also what makes them like kids everywhere (having a pillow fight, playing with a computer, helping a younger sibling). This is a book for disabled kids and their families and also for all classrooms where kids worry and wonder about being different."
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Last updated August 16, 1999.