Read Woke @ Goodnow

Children’s Book Recommendations:

Diverse Abilities


A Boy Called Bat (series) by Elana K. Arnold – “Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, brings home a baby skunk to care for until she can admit him to a wild-animal shelter. Bat, who is autistic, knows they belong together and he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a terrific pet.”

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass – “A 13-year-old girl with synesthesia, sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound. She keeps this a secret, but once revealed, develops an understanding and appreciation of her gift.”

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko – “A 12-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935, when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.”

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin – “Jason, a 12-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.”

Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally Pla – “Sammy is having a very bad day at school and at home until his autistic brother, Benji, finds a way to make him feel better.”

Born Just Right (Biography) by Jordan Reeves – “When Jordan Reeves was born without the bottom half of her left arm, the doctors reassured her parents that she was ‘born just right.’ She has been proving that doctor right ever since!”

Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time) (Non-Fiction) by Margaret Rooke – “Based on over 100 in-depth interviews with school children and young adults living with dyslexia, this collection depicts the significance of confidence and self-esteem in propelling children with dyslexia to achieve personal success and live better lives.”

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya – “6th-grader Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling abuela, her mother’s work commitments, her father’s return from deployment, evolving friendships, and a school redistricting conflict.”

El Deafo (Graphic Novel) by Cece Bell – “The author recounts her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her ‘superpower.'”

Finding Perfect by Elly D. Swartz – “With some help from her siblings and friends, Molly is able to face her OCD and be strong enough to get help for it.”

Fish in A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – “Ally has fooled 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. However, her new teacher sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, the world starts opening up with possibilities.”

Focused by Alyson Gerber – “12-year-old Clea wants to do her homework, pay attention in school, and play chess on the school team, but cannot focus, and the kids at school are starting to notice. When her worried parents take her to be tested she finds out that she has ADHD, and with help from the psychiatrist who seems to really understand her, she is determined to learn to focus.”

Guts (Graphic Novel) by Raina Telgemeier – “Telgemeier describes childhood anxiety in an approachable, nonjudgmental way. 4th-grader Raina wakes up one night with an upset stomach. She returns to school, but it becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and friendships. ” 

I, Funny (series) by James Patterson – “Resolving to become the world’s greatest stand-up comedian despite less-than-funny challenges in his life, wheelchair-bound middle school student Jamie Grimm hopes he will be fairly judged when he enters a local comedy contest.”

Insignificant Events in the Life of A Cactus by Dusti Bowling – “New friends and a mystery help Aven, 13, adjust to middle school and life at a dying western theme park in a new state, where her being born armless presents many challenges.”

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd – “Ted, a boy with Asperger syndrome, and his impatient sister Kat, solve a mystery of how their cousin,  vanishes from inside a sealed capsule on the London Eye.”

Mighty Jack (series) by Ben Hatke – “Jack’s single mom takes a second job and leaves him to watch his nonverbal autistic sister. It’s a lot of responsibility. But one day, Maddy talks, and tells Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. What starts as a normal garden grows into a wild, magical adventure!”

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty – “A lightning strike made Lucy, 12, a math genius but, after years of homeschooling, her grandmother enrolls her in middle school and she learns that life is more than numbers.”

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine – “Caitlin is 11-year-old girl with Asperger’s, grieving her brother’s death. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white–the world is full of colors–messy and beautiful.”

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper – “11-year-old Melody has cerebral palsy and can’t walk, talk, or write. But she has a photographic memory and remembers every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She’s the smartest kid in school, but most people dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by disability and she’s determined to let everyone know it.”

Pablo Pineda: Being Different is a Value (Non-Fiction) by Albert Bosch and Maria Sala – “Pablo Pineda is the first European with Down Syndrome to obtain a university degree. A teacher, a writer, and an actor, he radiates charisma and the will to learn. This is his endearing story which reminds us that the only disability is not understanding that all of us have difference abilities.”

Paperboy by Vince Vawter – “When an 11-year-old boy takes over a friend’s newspaper route in July, 1959, in Memphis, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.”

Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos – “Autistic and nearly nonverbal, 12-year-old Nova is happy in her new foster home and school, but eagerly anticipates the 1986 Challenger launch, for which her sister, Bridget, promised to return.”

Roll With It by Jamie Sumner – “12-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, and dreams of becoming a professional baker.  She finds her life transformed when she moves to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Running on Empty by S. E. Durrant – “After his grandfather dies, 11-year-old JJ, a talented runner, assumes new responsibilities including taking care of his intellectually-challenged parents and figuring out how bills get paid.”

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan – “Short for her age, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a munchkin in a summer regional theater production of The Wizard of Oz. She finds friendship and great role models in an elderly neighbor and a number of people involved with the show: her director, a costume designer, and a woman with dwarfism who plays a fellow Munchkin.”

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte – “It’s 1805 and Mary Lambert, 11, lives in the community of Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, where one in four residents is deaf.  An arrogant Boston scientist arrives to study the deaf population. Dissatisfied with his research, he kidnaps Mary and takes her to Boston as a live specimen, where she discovers a harsh reality for deaf people.”

The Someday Birds by Sally Pla – “Charlie, 12, who has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder, must endure a cross-country trip with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit their father, who will undergo brain surgery.”

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly – “12-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris’s plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales.”

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor – “As he grieves his best friend’s death, 7th-grader Mason Buttle, who has severe dyslexia, becomes a suspect in the investigation. He and new friend, Calvin, who are targeted by the neighborhood bullies, create an underground haven for themselves. But when Calvin goes missing Mason finds himself in bigger trouble.”

Wonder by R. J. Palacio – “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. He enters 5th grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.”

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – “Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, 12-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home to seek the father he never knew in New York City. He meets Rose who is also deaf and longing for something missing from her life. Their independent stories unfold; Ben’s in words, Rose’s in pictures.”

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino – “When her new baby sister is born deaf, 12-year-old Jilly makes an online connection with a fellow fantasy fan, who happens to be black and deaf, and begins to learn about the many obstacles that exist in the world for people who are different from her.” 

Picture Books

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz – “The renowned cat conservationist reflects on his early childhood struggles with a speech disorder, describing how he only spoke fluently when he was communicating with animals.”

A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey – “Henry would like to find a friend at school, but for a boy on the autism spectrum, making friends can be difficult, as his efforts are sometimes misinterpreted, or things just go wrong–but Henry keeps trying, and in the end he finds a friend he can play with.”

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin (Biography) by Jennifer Bryant – “As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm, and couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint!”

Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari – “A student who uses a wheelchair finds a way to see her dog each day in school. Includes author’s note about therapy dogs.”

My Ocean Is Blue by Darren Lebeuf – “A girl using crutches explores every facet of the ocean during a day at the beach.”

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best – “Zulay is a blind girl who longs to be able to run in the race on field and track day at her school.”

Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask about Having a Disability  (Non-Fiction) by Shane Burcaw – “An informational picture book answering the questions young children ask Shane Burcaw about his wheelchair and life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy with equal parts optimism, humor, and empathy.”

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival – “Norman is thrilled to discover he grew wings overnight, but his excitement turns to doubt when he realizes he is now different from everyone else, causing him to question whether there is such a thing as perfectly normal.”

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky – “When he is paired with a girl who has lost her legs, Rescue worries that he isn’t up to the task of being her service dog.”

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco – “At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.”

We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio – “Augie enjoys the company of his dog, Daisy, and using his imagination, but painfully endures the taunts of his peers because of his facial differences.”