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Diverse Children's Books @ SCF Libraries: Neurodiversity & Disabiliy Lit for Children

Recommended books for children with diverse characters and themes

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Recommended* books for children related to neurodiversity & disabilities

Show Me a Sign

Grades 4-7

Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha's Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there -- including Mary -- are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. But recent events have delivered winds of change.

I Talk Like a River

Grades 1-4

What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to?   Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.

My City Speaks

Picture Book

A young visually impaired girl and her father spend a day in the city, her city, travelling to the places they go together: the playground, the community garden, the market, an outdoor concert. As they do, the girl describes what she senses in delightfully precise, poetic detail.

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-changing Friendship

Picture Book

Grades 1-4

Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire.

Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster

An adorable, heartfelt picture book debut from Manka Kasha, Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster follows the magical quest of a knight finding the courage to confront an ever growing monster. Personal and whimsical, Manka Kasha's debut picture book is a beautiful story about understanding your anxiety and finding the courage to face it.

Just Ask!

Picture Book

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique.

El Deafo

Graphic novel

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful--and very awkward--hearing aid. 

Wonderstruck

Ever since his mother died, Ben feels lost. At home with her father, Rose feels alone. Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.

The Deaf Musicians

Poor Lee! He used to be a jazzman who could make the piano go yimbatimba- TANG--zang-zang. But now he's lost his hearing, and the bandleader had to let him go. So Lee goes to a school for the deaf to learn sign language. Living legend and Kennedy Center honoree Pete Seeger, renowned poet Paul DuBois Jacobs, and Coretta Scott King honor winner R. Gregory Christie present a jazzy riff on the power of music, overcoming obstacles, and all the different ways to hear the world. So, who will listen to a deaf musician? Everyone!

A Bird Will Soar

A heartfelt and hopeful debut about a bird-loving autistic child whose family's special nest is in danger of falling apart. Axel loves everything about birds, especially eagles. No one worries that an eagle will fly too far and not come home--a fact Axel wishes his mother understood. Deep down, Axel knows that his mother is like an osprey--the best of all bird mothers--but it's hard to remember that when she worries and keeps secrets about important things. His dad is more like a wild turkey, coming and going as he pleases.

Disclaimer

* What does "recommended" mean?

The titles included in this page have been selected by the SCF Librarians based on literary merit, accuracy and authenticity of treatment of the culture portrayed, and age appropriateness. They are books mostly written by "own voices": authors and illustrators belonging to the cultural group portrayed.

* About the age and reading level categories: 

The books in this page can be read by people of all ages! They vary in reading level. We do not assign AR or Lexile levels,  because we want you to read a book because you like it, not because of a school-assigned level.

Those classified as "picture books" are suitable for independent reading or for an adult to read to and with children, while showing the "pictures".

Those classified as "children" are best suited to be read by children in grades as recommended. Some are short books, chapter books, or novels, with or without illustrations. They can also be graphic novels.

* Books for ALL children:

The titles recommended in this page represent mirrors for all children in our community, windows to see experiences different from their own, and sliding doors to enter other worlds and discover commonalities and differences (Bishop, 1990).

We recognize that the experiences portrayed in these books do not reflect each kid's experience, but we strive to include representations of as many experiences as possible. We invite parents, caregivers, and teachers to explore these books with their children and discuss what their children have in common (or not) with the children in these stories.

 

 

 

Bishop, R. S. (1990). "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors". Perspectives 6(3). https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf