I wanted to highlight some favorite children’s books featuring characters with varying disabilities. It is so important to include books that feature all different diverse characters for our children to read in both our classroom and home library.
To see the full library of books that include characters with different abilities, check out my list in my amazon store here.
Here are picture books to highlight today!
Too Sticky! Sensory Issues with Autism written by author and autism advocate, Jen Malia and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is a wonderful book about a young autistic girl who struggles with sensory issues and overcomes her fears. An excellent book for both neurodiverse and neurotypical children to help build awareness and provide a peek into the struggles of everyday sensory issues and anxiety. To read more and listen to my podcast, click here.
I Am Odd I Am New written by Benjamin Giroux and illustrated by Roz MacLean is a picture book based on a poem that the author wrote when he was 10 years old. The poem, which is pictured below describes Ben’s feelings about feeling “out of place”, “like a castaway”, and how he tries “to fit in”. Benjamin, who is autistic wrote this poem as part of a school assignment. The poem is beautifully written and unique but the feelings he expresses through the poem are felt by many others. To listen to my podcast, click here.
Beyond Words written by Dana Hall and illustrated by Shruti Prabhu is a beautifully illustrated story that will take the reader on a journey that emphasizes the power of friendship, connection, and imagination. How do we get to know someone when they don’t have verbal speech or limited verbal speech? This beautiful book about apraxia of speech can teach both children and adults that we can go “beyond words” to connect with children with complex communication needs. To read more and listen to my podcast, click here.
Come On, Calm! is a wonderful, interactive book that is not just a story, it’s a therapeutic experience when reading it with your child. I love supporting other speech-language pathologists in their journey in writing children’s books since we have such a unique perspective with regard to neurodiversity. Come On, Calm! written by Kelsey Brown and illustrated by Joseph Wrightson is a picture book published by Mascot Books that embeds calming strategies for young children. The book was originally written as a poem by the author. It focuses on specific vocabulary and action words with step-by-step ideas for co-regulation with your child. To listen to my podcast, click here.
“Some see with a touch or shape fingers to talk. Others sit silent and many can’t walk” Arlene Maguire, 2000. I am thrilled to review this book, Special People, Special Ways for today. During a recent staff training that I was conducting at a public school, a fellow speech-language pathologist suggested this book to me to help introduce a communication system into the classroom. I immediately ordered the book so I can read it, review and share it! To read more about this book, click here.
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down is a wonderful picture book written by Lindsey Rowe Parker and illustrated by Rebecca Burgess. This book takes you through the eccentric world of a young character who has sensory differences and feels the world in a different way than other children. The illustrations capture the feelings of the character perfectly! To read more, read my review here.
Let’s Go Play written by speech and language pathologist, Shelby McCarthy and illustrated by Rachel Batislaong is a picture book that introduces adaptive equipment in a fun, rhyming, inviting way. To learn more about the inspiration behind her book, check out this article written on AAC Language Lab. To learn more about this book, read my review here.
Something to Say About My Communication Device is written by Eden Molinex and illustrated by Natalie Beauvois. Eden is a certified speech-language pathologist and a children’s book author who is passionate about making a difference with her children’s books. As a speech-language pathologist and author myself, I love supporting others with the same mission. I was especially excited to see that she published a children’s book titled, Something to Say About My Communication Device, which is perfect for the children on my caseload who use AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). To read more, click here.
Do you want to add an educational carryover tool with your Bluebee Pal? Bluebee Pal Techie Rangers is the book for you! I co-authored this picture book with the president of Kayle Concepts LLC, Laura Jiencke. This book is beautifully illustrated by the talented Erik Minter. This educational e-book is a perfect companion to use with both the Bluebee Pal Pro and the Bluebee Pals app. To read more about this book and access the free ebook, click here.
All About Core…An Alphabet Book for Emerging Readers is another book that I wrote featuring children with disabilities, specifically communication disabilities. This alphabet book was created by a certified speech and language pathologist for emerging readers who use augmentative and alternative communication systems (AAC). All About Core (ABC) Alphabet book isn’t your typical ABC book which highlights mostly nouns. This unique ABC book incorporates core and fringe vocabulary to help improve literacy and communication for emerging readers with complex communication needs. The targeted words with sentences target functional communication and vocabulary that are ideal for all ages and abilities. The engaging and concrete illustrations focus specifically on high-frequency core words that are used most often in conversation to increase carryover from activity to conversation. This book is created specifically to be used in a variety of settings including home and classroom environments. Goals targeting communication, literacy and language work seamlessly with this highly unique book. To read more, click here.
Do you want to introduce your child to disabilities? How about educating your children about individuals who are nonverbal? I bought the book, How Katie Got a Voice by Patricia Mervine, MA, CCC-SLP many months ago and really enjoyed it. I have read it to my own children and recently got an opportunity to speak about augmentative and alternative communication to a 2nd-grade girl scout troop. Being an instructor, I can discuss this topic with ease when explaining it to graduate students, teachers, and other speech-language pathologists. However, how can I explain this area of AAC to a group of 2nd graders? One of the ways that I explain many topics is through children’s books. I decided to use this book, How Katie Got a Voice to help explain the topic of AAC. AAC is the acronym for Augmentative and alternative communication(AAC) which is an umbrella term that includes the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in spoken or written language. To learn more, click here.
How to Build a Hug, Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeezing Machine is a wonderful book to raise awareness of Autism. As a fan of Temple Grandin’s work and mission, I was excited to find this book at my local library written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville. As a young girl, Temple wanted to be held but didn’t like hugs. The book takes you through the young life of Temple Grandin who loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses for her dog, and building lean-tos with rear-hinged doors. She didn’t like scratchy socks, whistling teakettles, bright lights, or smelly perfumes. The book accurately describes to the reader the challenges that Temple went through with regard to her sensory over-stimulation in a simple and descriptive way that all children can understand and sympathize with. This is important because part of acceptance and empathy is understanding another person’s perspective. As Temple gets older, she attends a school that helped her excel in art and science and learn to horseback ride. Temple desperately wanted to love hugs because she craved that social closeness. To learn more about this book, click here.
When Things Get Too Loud written and illustrated by Anne Alcott is an excellent book about sensory overload. This picture book, which is visual in nature has the integration of the Feel-O-Meter, which helps children understand the intensity of their noise sensitivity. This book, written in rhyme takes children from low intensity (#1- feeling great) all the way through the high intensity with tips on strategies to help calm down and regulate. To learn more about this book and listen to my author interview with Anne, click here.
Do you want to customize your own book for your child/student? Check out these personalized books by My Heart Books.
Stay tuned for my middle-grade pics featuring characters with disabilities!