People with physical disabilities

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015

Even though she’s visually impaired, Zulay enjoys first grade with her three best friends and finds a way to participate in everything. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016

The story of Louis Braille, who lost his sight at a young age, and whose love of books inspired him to create the Braille alphabet. 40 pages, grades 1-4.

The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Jez Tuya

Published by Albert Whitman and Co., 2016

Hard work, talent, and determination helped William Hoy become the first deaf man to play professional baseball. When he struggled to understand the umpires’ calls, they came up with a system of hand signals that is still used today. 32 pages; grades K-3.

Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Patrice Barton

Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2017

This story is mostly about Moose the dog becoming a therapy dog at a school, but his owner Zara, who is in a wheelchair, is fully integrated into her classroom and a capable dog trainer. 40 pages; grades K-2.

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Published by Candlewick, 2018

Rescue’s worried that he didn’t make it as a Seeing Eye Dog, and Jessica is worried about life after losing both legs. Fortunately, they find each other, and each one thinks the other is amazing. The husband-and-wife author team each lost legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and Rescue is their dog. 32 pages; grades K-5.

This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis illustrated by Charles Santoso

Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2020

Jack the goat has had a tough life and keeps to himself. But when blind horse Charlie comes to the farm, Jack has to learn to reach out and help his new friend. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, foreword by Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins

Published by Sourcebooks, 2020

Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins never let her cerebral palsy keep her from doing what she wanted to do. When photos of her climbing the steps to the U.S. Capitol during a demonstration to support the Americans With Disabilities Act hit the news, the publicity helped convinced Congress to pass the act. 32 pages; grades K-4.

Lucas Makes a Comeback by Igor Plohl, illustrated by Urška Stropnik Šonc

Published by Holiday House, 2021

Igor Plohl drew on his own experiences to create Lucas, a lion who loses the use of his legs after falling off a ladder and injuring his spine. There’s a sequel: Lucas at the Paralympics. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

The Fastest Girl on Earth: Meet Kitty O’Neil, Daredevil Driver! by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2021

Despite losing her hearing as a baby, Kitty O’Neil embraced any challenge that came her way, including driving a car 618 miles per hour to break the women’s land-speed record. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Best Day Ever! by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Leah Nixon

Published by Clarion Books, 2021

A dog describes the best day ever hanging out with her best friend, a boy in a wheelchair. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith

Published by Neal Porter Books, 2020

A boy describes his struggles with stuttering, especially at school, and how his dad takes him to the river to calm down and find peace. 40 pages; grades K-4.

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López

Published by Philomel Books, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells of her own difficulties as a child with juvenile diabetes and helps kids understand that it’s okay to ask other people about their differences. 32 pages; ages 4-8

Ali and the Sea Stars by Ali Stroker, illustrated by Gillian Reid

Published by Harper Collins, 2022

Nothing can stop Ali when she and her friends decide to put on their own production of Peter Pan. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls

Published by Random House Children’s Books, 2015

Born with a deformed right leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was determined to learn to do what he could with one leg. His persistence led him to pursue his dream of riding from one end of his homeland of Ghana to the other to show what people with physical disabilities are capable of. 40 pages; grades 1-6.

Middle Grade Fiction

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P.! by Alex Gino

Published by Scholastic Press, 2018

When tests reveal that Jillian’s sister has hearing loss, Jillian turns to her deaf friend Derek to learn more. 256 pages; grades 4-7.

Hello, Universe! by Erin Entrada Kelly

Published by Greenwillow Books, 2017

The four kids whose stories intertwine in this Newbery Medal winner include Valencia, a deaf girl who loves observing the natural world but sometimes feels cut off from her classmates. 320 pages; grades 3-7.

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Published by Scholastic Press, 2020

11-year-old Mary lives in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard where, in 1805, many of community members are deaf, including Mary. Everyone in the community uses sign language, and it’s only when Mary is forcibly removed from her home that she discovers the rest of the world treats deaf people very differently. 288 pages; grades 4-8.

Bouncing Back by Scott Ostler

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2019

13-year-old Carlos Cooper is still adjusting to life in a wheelchair following a car accident that killed both of his parents. Basketball used to be a big part of his life, but it’s hard to see how it ever will be again until he discovers wheelchair basketball. 304 pages; grades 4-7.

The Way I Say It by Nancy Tandon

Published by Charlesbridge, 2022

As Rory starts middle school, he struggles with both his speech difficulties and his ex-friend Brent who’s become a bully. When Brent suffers a traumatic brain injury, he ends up in speech with Rory, where Rory has a hard time getting past his anger. A cool and kind speech therapist helps both the boys. 240 pages; grades 4-7.

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2021

Nat is nervous about moving from California to New Jersey, but a chance to try musical theater with a middle school production of Wicked gives her a chance to fly, both literally and figuratively. 288 pages; grades 5-8.

Roll With It by Jamie Sumner

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019

Ellie’s cerebral palsy makes her self-conscious and shy. When her grandfather’s dementia gets worse, she and her mom go for an extended visit, and Ellie gets a chance to start over at a new school. New friends and a pie-baking contest help her discover her true passions and allow her to become more self-sufficient. 246 pages; grades 4-7.