Books with Characters Who Have Physical Disabilities

Books about kids and teens with physical difficulties can help build understanding, compassion, and tolerance among readers who don't face those challenges -- as well as give those who do a chance to see relatable kids powering through compelling stories. From the facially different boy in Wonder to the deaf girl in El Deafo to the teen girl with cerebral palsy in Say What You Will, these books feature characters who face all sorts of challenges. For more books about kids finding strength in adversity, check out our Books That Feature Characters Dealing with Mental Illness and Books That Build Self-Esteem.

Hello Goodbye Dog Poster Image
BOOK

Hello Goodbye Dog

age 4+

Warm story of girl and her exuberant therapy dog.

By: Maria Gianferrari (2017)
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Joey: The Story of Joe Biden Poster Image
BOOK

Joey: The Story of Joe Biden

age 4+

Warm bio shows vice president as regular kid, born leader.

By: Jill Biden (2020)
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She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game Poster Image
BOOK

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game

age 4+

Lively stories of girls who broke barriers, smashed records.

By: Chelsea Clinton (2020)
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All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything Poster Image
BOOK

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

age 5+

Inspiring story of activist and disability rights movement.

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Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability Poster Image
BOOK

Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability

age 6+

Young man shares info about disability with honesty, humor.

By: Shane Burcaw (2017)
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Helen Keller reading braille
BOOK

She Persisted: Helen Keller

age 6+

Inspiring story of blind and deaf advocate for equal access.

By: Courtney Sheinmel (2021)
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Charlie & Frog Poster Image
BOOK

Charlie & Frog

age 8+

Fun, educational mystery introduces kids to sign language.

By: Karen Kane (2018)
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Handbook for Dragon Slayers Poster Image
BOOK

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

age 8+

Exciting medieval adventure with brave teens and dragons.

By: Merrie Haskell (2013)
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A Snicker of Magic Poster Image
BOOK

A Snicker of Magic

age 8+

Kids try to find town's lost magic in beguiling tale.

By: Natalie Lloyd (2014)
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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Poster Image
BOOK

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

age 8+

Brave mouse adventure a modern classic; great read-aloud.

By: Kate DiCamillo (2004)
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Born Just Right Poster Image
BOOK

Born Just Right

age 9+

Upbeat book tells what it's like being born without a limb.

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El Deafo Poster Image
BOOK

El Deafo

age 9+

Charming, funny comics memoir of growing up deaf.

By: Cece Bell (2014)
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Firegirl Poster Image
BOOK

Firegirl

age 9+

A disfigured classmate teaches stirring lessons.

By: Tony Abbott (2006)
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Freak the Mighty Poster Image
BOOK

Freak the Mighty

age 9+

Outcasts join forces and conquer readers' hearts.

By: Rodman Philbrick (1993)
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Mascot Poster Image
BOOK

Mascot

age 9+

Tween's humor lifts story about grief, physical injury.

By: Antony John (2018)
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The Meaning of Maggie Poster Image
BOOK

The Meaning of Maggie

age 9+

Girl comes to terms with dad's illness in relatable tale.

By: Megan Jean Severn (2014)
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Song for a Whale Poster Image
BOOK

Song for a Whale

age 9+

Compelling tale of deaf girl's search for a whale.

By: Lynne Kelly (2019)
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The War That Saved My Life Poster Image
BOOK

The War That Saved My Life

age 9+

Abused girl finds courage, family in compelling WWII story.

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Wonderstruck Poster Image
BOOK

Wonderstruck

age 9+

Inventive story of runaways in New York, 50 years apart.

By: Brian Selznick (2011)
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