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11 Disability Pride Books to Read as a Family

July is National Disability Pride Month, but these inspiring titles are excellent family reads every day of the year.

Erica Silverstein

Disability Awareness Month Books for Families

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Percy Jackson teaches us that demi-gods struggle with ADHD, but he isn’t the only fictional hero working to overcome his differences. Meet a deaf bunny with superpowers, an autistic girl who’d do anything for her dog, and a kid with cerebral palsy who might secretly be the smartest girl in school. They’re just some of the everyday heroes in these 11 disability pride books your family will love.

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

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Many kids will relate to 6-year-old Emma, who isn’t convinced a baby brother is a good idea. She finally comes to terms with her big sister status after her Dad helps her imagine all the fun activities she and her brother can do together. When they learn the baby has Down Syndrome, Emma and Dad have to adjust their expectations — but not as much as they originally thought. With a Q&A at the end, this picture book introduces little kids to what it means to have a sibling with Down Syndrome in their family. (Ages 3 to 7)

Daniel’s New Friend by Becky Friedman

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All parents know that Daniel Tiger is the preschool guru of good behavior, making him the perfect ambassador for teaching kids about people with physical and learning differences. In this story, taken from the show, the little tiger meets Prince Wednesday’s cousin, who wears braces and walks with crutches. Daniel discovers that those small differences don’t have to be an obstacle to playing together and becoming friends. (Ages 3 to 7)

Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman

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School field trips to musical performances aren’t unusual...unless everyone in your class is deaf. This picture book demonstrates how there’s not just one way to communicate and to appreciate music. We love how the author works American Sign Language phrases into the illustrations, so readers can learn a few words in ASL and see how Moses and his family and friends talk to each other. (Ages 5 to 8)

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham

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David means to pay attention in Mrs. Gorski’s class, but the wiggle fidgets always end up getting the better of him. Those “good ideas” he can’t resist somehow end with his teacher mad at him and his classmates staring. Yet when push comes to shove, David comes up with his best ideas yet — ways to help him focus through his ADHD using visual cues and movement. Wiggly readers (whether living with ADHD or not!) are encouraged to borrow some of David’s ideas or use their creativity to discover their own in this engaging and relatable resource. (Ages 4 to 7)

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best

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Field Day is coming, and first grader Zulay wants to run in one of the races. Her three besties think that’s cool, but can Zulay, who is blind, compete when she’s still learning how to walk on her own with a cane? With the help of her friends and teacher, Zulay finds a way. (Ages 4 to 8)

El Deafo by Cece Bell

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How do you make friends when you’re the only kid in school wearing a hearing aid? El Deafo is a graphic novel about a deaf bunny girl who turns her disability into a superpower. This beloved, Newbery Honor-winning story is relatable to any reader who’s ever felt that standing out was an obstacle to fitting in. (Ages 7 to 10)

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Ally is a talented artist and a whiz at math, but she doesn’t think she’s smart because she can’t read. Her teachers have only ever seen her as a troublemaker until Mr. Daniels discovers she has dyslexia. He helps Ally find her own path toward making sense of written words and finding confidence in herself. Many of the supporting characters in this book have hidden reasons for acting the way they do, and Hunt demonstrates why it’s important to have compassion for people who on the surface may seem different from others. (Ages 9 to 11)

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

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Two stories intertwine in this book about two deaf kids on two quests separated by decades that lead them to New York City’s Museum of Natural History. Selznick, known for his unique mix of narrative and visual storytelling, as made famous in “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” uses black-and-white drawings to evoke the experience of a girl living without sound and words in the 1920s and prose to tell the tale of a modern-day boy who suddenly loses his hearing. (Ages 8 to 11)

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

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Imagine being the smartest kid in your class, but you can’t share your thoughts and ideas because you can’t talk or write. That’s the case with Melody, an 11-year-old with cerebral palsy. Draper, whose daughter has cerebral palsy, wrote this New York Times bestseller about a girl who struggles to show the world who she is despite her physical challenges and the prejudices of her peers. (Ages 9 to 11)

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

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From the best-selling author of The Baby-Sitters Club comes a tale of a misunderstood girl and her beloved dog. Rose is autistic and obsessed with homonyms (she gives her dog the name Rain because it has two homonyms), but her dad just wishes she were more “normal.” When Rain goes missing, Rose must balance her desire for safety and rules with her need to find her pet. Martin pulls back the curtain on a girl trying to fit into the world around her while staying true to herself. (Ages 9 to 12)

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

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Joey Pigza gets into some impressive scrapes — despite taking “dud meds” to help with the impulsiveness that comes with ADHD. Amid some truly outlandish antics, this National Book Award finalist lets us into the heart and mind of a boy who is trying hard to curb his spur-of-the-moment choices and stay out of trouble. (Ages 10+)