Children’s Books by Authors with Disabilities

Disability Pride Month is a time to honor and celebrate the lives, stories, and contributions of people with disabilities. Sharing books written by authors with disabilities is an excellent way to foster empathy, understanding, and appreciation among students. Here are seven children’s books that educators can use to celebrate Disability Pride Month in their classrooms.

“Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability” by Shane Burcaw

Shane Burcaw, who has spinal muscular atrophy, addresses common questions kids have about disabilities, using humor and honesty. This book demystifies disabilities and promotes acceptance and understanding. Burcaw’s candid approach helps students feel comfortable asking questions and learning about differences.

Classroom Suggestion

Have an open discussion where students can ask questions about disabilities, fostering a safe space for curiosity and empathy.

Our next Disability Pride Month selection is “Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You” by Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has diabetes, introduces children to various disabilities and health conditions through the stories of diverse characters. It encourages children to embrace their differences and see them as strengths. The book promotes inclusivity and understanding.

Create a class project where each student shares something unique about themselves, celebrating diversity and promoting acceptance.

“My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay” by Cari Best

Zulay, a blind girl, navigates school with the help of her three best friends and strives to run in a race on Field Day. The book highlights friendship, perseverance, and the importance of inclusion. It provides a positive portrayal of a child with a disability.

Classroom Suggestion

Discuss the importance of teamwork and support and organize an inclusive activity where all students can participate.

“Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah” by Laurie Ann Thompson

Emmanuel, born with one leg, bikes across Ghana to spread the message that disability does not mean inability. This inspiring true story teaches resilience, determination, and the power of one person to make a difference.

Classroom Suggestion

Have students set personal goals and create a plan to achieve them, emphasizing determination and resilience.

“Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship” by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

Based on a true story, Jessica adjusts to life with prosthetics after losing her legs and forms a bond with her service dog, Rescue. The book highlights the role of service animals and the importance of support systems. It fosters empathy and understanding of different life experiences.

Classroom Suggestion

Invite a guest speaker with a service animal to discuss their experience, promoting understanding and respect for people with disabilities.

Our final Disability Pride Month selection is “El Deafo” by Cece Bell

Cece Bell’s graphic novel memoir about growing up with hearing loss and finding her superpower through her Phonic Ear hearing aid. This relatable and engaging story helps children understand hearing impairments and the value of embracing one’s uniqueness.

Classroom Suggestion

Encourage students to create their own superhero personas based on their strengths, fostering self-acceptance and confidence.

By incorporating these books into the classroom, educators can help students develop empathy and understanding, celebrate diversity, and recognize the contributions of people with disabilities. These stories not only educate but also inspire students to see the beauty in differences and the strength in resilience.