San Francisco Public Library

Yes We Can! Books About Children Living with All Kinds of Disabilities

The books listed are a sampling of the titles available. Ask your Children's Librarian for further suggestions and tell us which are your favorites.

For Younger Readers

Someone Special, Just Like You.
Tricia Browni; Photos. by Fran Ortiz.

Young children with a variety of disabilities are shown to like the same things that all children do.

j362.4048 Brow (also j362 Brow) (Ages 3-6)
Extraordinary Friends.
Fred Rogers

Lively color photographs and straightforward text show the adaptability of six diverse children with physical disabilities. In the Let’s Talk About It series.

j362.4083 Roge (Ages 5+)
Seeing Things My Way.
Alden R. Carter; Photos. by Carol S. Carter

A visually impaired second-grader describes how she and her classmates live normal lives with various vision problems.

362.4183 Cart (Ages 6-9)
The Handmade Alphabet.
Laura Rankin

Wonderfully diverse hands demonstrate each letter of the manual alphabet used in American Sign Language, while the colored pencil drawings suggest objects from A to Z.

j419 Rank (Ages 5+)
Rolling Along: The Story of Taylor and His Wheelchair.
Jamee Riggio Heelan. Illus. by Nicola Simmonds

A young boy with cerebral palsy tells how a wheelchair helps him lead a much fuller life.

j616.836 HeeL (Ages 5-9)
The Making of My Special Hand: Madison’s Story.
Jamee Riggio Heelan. Illus. by Nicola Simmonds

A young girl born without one hand describes how her electric “helper hand” was made and how it works.

j617.575 HeeL (Ages 5-9)
Living with Diabetes.
Jenny Bryan

Three young people and one adult live normal, active lives despite their diabetes. Other subjects in the Living With series: blindness, cerebral palsy, deafness, epilepsy and Down syndrome.

j618.9246 Brya (Ages 6+)
The A.D.D. Book for Kids.
Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelley. Photos by Shelley Rotner

In their own words, children explain what it’s like dealing with attention-deficit disorder. Bright, upbeat photographs personalize their explanations.

j618.9285 Rotn (Ages 5-8)
Jonah Winter; Illus. by Ana Juan

In her youth, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo overcame polio and a debilitating accident to create unique and renowned art. (also available in Spanish)

j759.972 KahL (Ages 6-9)
A Picture Book of Louis Braille.
David A. Adler; Illus. by John and Alexandra Wallner

Because of his own blindness, a young Frenchman created an alphabet used by the blind to read and write. Includes actual raised dot letters and numbers.

jB Brai (Ages 5-8)
Wilma Unlimited.
Kathleen Krull;Illus. by David Diaz.

Wilma Rudolph overcame polio to win three Gold Medals in track at the 1960 Olympics.

jB Rudo (Ages 5-9)
My Buddy.
Audrey Osofsky. Illus by Ted Rand

A boy with muscular dystrophy appreciates the dog trained to help him with tasks such as turning on lights and answering the telephone.

jF Osof (Ages 6-9)
Sosu’s Call.
Meshack Asare

An African boy who can’t walk saves his village during a fierce storm with the help of his dog.

jPS Asar (Ages 5-8)
Harry and Willy and Carrothead.
Judith Caseley

A boy, born without a lower left arm, stands up for a quiet classmate and wins over the class bully. The three become good friends.

jPS Case (Ages 4-7)
Mama Zooms.
Jane Cowen-Fletcher.

A young boy’s mother takes him everywhere in her wheelchair, “a zooming machine.”

jPS Cowe (Ages 3-5)
We Can Do It!
Laura Dwight

Kids with blindness, spina bifida, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy show what they can do. (also available in Spanish)

jPS Dwig (Ages 4-8)
1, 2, 3 for You and Me.
Meg Girnis. Photos. by Shirley Leamon Green

This simple counting book introduces numbers from 1 to 20 using photographs of children with Down syndrome. Companion to ABC for You and Me (2000).

jPS Girn (Ages 3-6)
Dad and Me in the Morning.
Patricia Lakin. Illus. by Robert G. Steele

Deafness does not prevent a young boy from enjoying a glorious sunrise at the beach with his father.

jPS Laki (Ages 5-8)
Looking Out for Sarah.
Glenna Lang

A day in the life of a Labrador guide dog for Sarah who, although blind, teaches dance and music. Based on a true story.

jPS Lang (Ages 5-8)
Becky the Brave.
Laurie Lears. Illus. by Gail Piazza

Sarah bravely explains what happened the day before when her older sister had an epileptic seizure at school.

jPS Lear (Ages 5-8)
Ben Has Something to Say.
Laurie Lears. Illus. by Karen Ritz.

Ben, who suffers from stuttering, must speak up in order to save the guard dog he befriended at the junkyard.

jPS Lear (Ages 5-9)
Ian’s Walk.
Laurie Lears. Illus. by Karen Ritz

Ian sees, hears, smells and feels everything his older sisters do when they go to the park, but because of autism, his reactions are somewhat different.

jPS Lear (Ages 6-9)
Moses Goes to a Concert.
Kathleen M. Muldoon. Illus. by Linda Shute.

A class of deaf children takes a field trip to the symphony and makes a surprising discovery. Told in pictures, text and American Sign Language. Followed by Moses Goes to School (2000).

jPS MiLL (Ages 5-8)
Princess Pooh.
Argueta, Jorge; illustrated by Angel, Carl

Patty Jean tries her older sister’s wheelchair and discovers it’s not the royal throne she imagined.

jPS MuLd (Ages 4-7)
I Have a Sister - - My Sister is Deaf.
Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson. Illus. by Deborah Ray

A girl tells about the everyday activities of her younger, hearing impaired sister. Based on the author’s own experiences. (also available in Chinese)

jPS Pete (Ages 4-8)
Thank You, Mr. Falker.
Patricia Polacco

In this autobiographical picture story, a girl with an unnamed learning disability finally learns to read. (also available in Spanish)

jPS PoLa (Ages 5-8)
Way to Go, Alex!
Robin Pulver. Illus. by Elizabeth Wolf

With mixed emotions, Carly helps her mentally challenged brother prepare to compete in the Special Olympics.

jPS PuLv (Ages 4-8)
Sarah’s Sleepover.
Bobbie Rodriguez. Illus. by Mark Graham

A storm knocks out the lights, and Sarah, blind since birth, takes charge to help her frightened cousins who are spending the night.

jPS Rodr (Ages 5-8)
Susan Laughs.
JeanneWillis. Illus. by Tony Ross

Lively illustrations and simple, rhyming text describe Susan’s active life. She sings and swims, she rides and hides. In the last illutration she’s shown in her wheelchair.

jPS WiLL (Ages 3-5)

For Older Readers

Do You Remember the Color Blue?
Sally Hobart Alexander

Kids ask questions of an author who has been blind for more than 20 years, questions such as, “Do people treat you differently?”

j305.9081 ALex (Ages 5+)
Special Parents, Special Children.
Joanne E. Bernstein

Four children talk about living with a special needs parent - one blind, one deaf, one wheelchair bound and one a dwarf.

j306.874 Bern (Ages 8-12)
Extraordinary People with Disabilities.
Deborah Kent and Kathryn A. Quinlan.

Fifty-three short biographies of people who have overcome different kinds of disabilities to do great things with their lives.

j363.4092 Kent (Ages 9+)
Kids Explore the Gifts of Children with Special Needs.
John Muir

Ten kids answer questions about their various disabilities, including brittle bone disease, fetal alcohol syndrome and hemophilia. Elementary school students in the Westridge Young Writers Workshop are responsible for this candid exploration.

j371.91 Kids (Ages 8-11)
Cystic Fibrosis.
Susan Dudley Gold

Introduces Kenny and clearly explains the symptoms, cause, treatment and prognosis of his condition. Other subjects in the Health Watch series: arthritis, asthma, attention-deficit disorder, bipolar disorder and depression, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

j616.836 HeeL (Ages 9+)
Helping Hands: How Monkeys Assist People Who Are Disabled.
Suzanne Haldane

Photo essay that introduces a teenage quadriplegic and the capuchin monkey which has been trained to help him.

j618 HaLd (Ages 8-11)
Stevie Wonder.
Tenley Williams

Chronicles the life of the popular Grammy-winning composer, pianist and singer who was born blind. Part of the Overcoming Adversity series.

j780.2 Wond (Ages 9+)
Dancing Wheels.
Photos. By John Godt

Inspiring introduction to a young people’s dance troupe that combines stand-up dancers and sit-down dancers in their wheelchairs.

j792.8087 McMa (Ages 8-11)
Top 10 Physically Challenged Athletes.
Jeff Savage

Succinct descriptions of special athletes. Included are baseball’s Jim Abbott (born with one hand) and pro golfer Casey Martin (who uses a motorized cart because of a circulatory leg disability).

796.087 Sava (Ages 9+)
Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio.
Peg Kehret

A children’s writer recalls living away from home at a special hospital where she received rigorous rehabilitation at age 12.

jB Kehr (Ages 10+)
Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit.
Laurie Lawlor

The story of the deaf and blind girl taught to communicate by finger-spelling. She is known worldwide for her intelligence, determination and activism.

jB KeLL (Ages 10+)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Russell Freedman

At age 39, while a state senator in New York, Roosevelt contracted polio, but he continued in politics and became the 32nd President of the United States.

jB Roos (Ages 10+)
My Name is Brain Brian.
Jeanne Betancourt

A sixth grade boy hates school, but his attitude improves once he is diagnosed with dyslexia.

jF Beta (Ages 9-12)
Nick’s Mission.
Claire H. Blatchford

A 12-year-old deaf boy balks at daily speech therapy sessions during summer vacation until a scary encounter with smugglers underscores the importance of communication.

jF BLat (Ages 9-12)
Judy Blume

When a 13-year-old discovers she has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, dreams of becoming a model must be put on hold.

jF BLum (Ages 10+)
The Summer of the Swans.
Betsy Byars.

A teenage girl is transformed when her younger brother with special needs disappears while trying to find the swans he had seen the day before.

jF Byar (Ages 10+)
Wheel Wizards.
Matt Christopher

Paralyzed by a car accident and his subsequent anger, a 12-year-old boy grows more positive when he begins to play wheelchair basketball.

jF Chri (Ages 9-12)
Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You.
Barthe DeClements

Helen fears that her limited ability to read will keep her in sixth grade forever, until a new teacher recognizes that she is dyslexic.

jF DeCL (Ages 8-11)
Sees Behind Trees.
Michael Dorris

A visually impaired Native American boy earns the name “Sees Behind Trees” by using his other senses to “see what can’t be seen.”

jF Dorr (Ages 9-13)
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key.
Jack Gantos

Joey is a “wired up mess” who tells what it’s like to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Followed by Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000).

jF Gant (Ages 10+)
Thin Air.
David Getz

Jacob struggles with severe asthma. He also struggles with his family and everyone at his new school to be treated as a regular kid.

jF Getz (Ages 9-12)
My Louisiana Sky.
Kimberley Willis Holt.

Tiger Ann Parker, a straight A student, learns to lovingly accept her mentally challenged parents in this touching coming-of-age story.

jF HoLt (Ages 10+)
The View from Saturday.
E.L. Konigsburg

A wheelchair bound teacher, Mrs. Olinski, returns to teaching after a car accident and shapes four sixth graders into a victorious academic bowl team.

jF Koni (Ages 10+)
The Alfred Summer.
Jan Slepian

Groundbreaking novel about four outcasts who build a rowboat over the summer. One boy is mentally retarded and another has cerebral palsy. Reissued edition.

jF SLep (Ages 10+)
Izzy, Willy-Nilly.
Cynthia Voigt

A sophomore in high school begins the slow, agonizing adjustment to life after having her leg amputated below the knee.

jF Voig (Ages 12+)