10 Children’s Book that teach Acceptance of Disabilities

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Teaching Disability Acceptance to young children is a HUGE life skill that has unbelievable benefits. Research has shown that children who are taught about diversity early in life have higher self esteem, greater empathy, excel in education among many other things! One great way to teach disability acceptance is through children’s books! (Let’s face it- the amazingness of children’s books is non-stop!) Here is a list of 10 of the most awesome books that teach how we are different and the importance of disability acceptance!

My Friend Isabelle By Bryan Gough


“Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They both like to draw, dance, read, and play at the park. They both like to eat Cheerios. They both cry if their feelings are hurt. And, like most friends, they are also different from each other. Isabelle has Down syndrome. Charlie doesn’t. Written by Isabelle’s mother, this charming tale encourages readers to think about what makes a friendship special. MY FRIEND ISABELLE also opens the door for young children to talk about differences and the world around them.”


It’s Okay To Be Different By Todd Parr


“It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence”


Susan Laughs By Tony Ross


“Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of familiar activities. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends — and even rides a horse. Lively, thoughtfully drawn illustrations reveal a portrait of a busy, happy little girl with whom younger readers will identify. Not until the end of the story is it revealed that Susan uses a wheelchair.

Friends at School  By Rochelle Bunnett 


“A photo essay that shows pre-school children of mixed abilities busily working and playing at school, illustrating the true meaning of the word “inclusion.”


A Friend Like Simon By Kate Gaynot


“This is a special education children’s picture books that introduces autism. When an child with autism joins a mainstream school, many children can find it difficult to understand and cope with a student that is somewhat ‘different’ to them. This story encourages other children to be mindful and patient of the differences that exist and to also appreciate the positive contribution that an autistic child can make to the group”


A Very Special Critter By Mercer Mayer 


“In this wise and funny picture-book adventure, a special student joins Little Critter’s class at school. The new student uses a wheelchair, and Little Critter is worried. Will his classmate be very different? Will the class know how to act around him? It’s an honest, realistic look at ways kids deal successfully with the unknown — mixed with a big dollop of Mercer Mayer humor for good measure.”


Talking to Angels By Ester Watson


“A poetic tribute to the author’s autistic sister, Christa, explains why autism is not a barrier to love or friendship and celebrates the special world in which the young girl exists.”


Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism By Laurie Lears


“Julie can’t wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn’t have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly.”


Just Because By Rebecca Elliot 


“A younger brother describes all the fun he has with the big sister he loves so much—just because, in this heartwarming picture book about being perfectly loved, no matter what. He is enthusiastic about just how loving and special she is, and delights in telling us about all the fun things they do together. Only as his tale unfolds does the reader begin to realize that his sister has special needs—and by then the reader just accepts, as he does, all the wonderful things about her. Teachers and librarians will appreciate this book for its sincere and convincing treatment of children with special needs, while parents will use this book to encourage sibling friendship and to read with children who are beginning to ask why a particular child they know is “different.”


All Kinds of Friends, Even Green! By Ellen B. Senisi


“In school, Moses, and the rest of his class are given the assignment of choosing a friend to write about. As he wonders which person to choose, he thinks of his circle of friends and what they share together. Some friends are kids like Jimmy, who says funny things, and Manuel, who races with Moses on the playground. Other friends are grown-ups like Mom and Dad, and teachers. Neighbors too, can be friends, like Kate, his teen-aged babysitter. Kate owns two really cute iguanas. One of the iguanas, Zaki, is missing toes. That’s it! Moses will write about Zaki. After all, they really have something in common. Moses and Zaki both have special needs. Zaki, with her missing toes, must figure out new ways to move around and get to where she wants to go, which is exactly what Moses must do in his wheelchair! More than just a story about friendship, ALL KINDS OF FRIENDS, EVEN GREEN! looks at difference—such as being in a wheelchair or missing toes—in a unique way.”

If you liked this, you might also like 100 Children’s Books you MUST have on your Bookshelf!!

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16 thoughts on “10 Children’s Book that teach Acceptance of Disabilities

  1. Liz @ Downtown Demure says:

    Bookmarked! I don’t have a specific need for this list yet, but I certainly will if/when I have kids. You’re right, it’s so impotant to teach empathy and understanding to children, particularly towards those with special needs. Beautiful post.

    • Momsbagoftricks says:

      Thank you so much, Liz! It really is so important! And all these books are so fun. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Kathy | MomWifeWoman says:

    This is a fantastic book list. My kindergartner’s class was paired up with the mild/moderate SDC K-3 class for recess and other activities. My son had a lot of question about the other students. I answered to the best of my abilities, but think these books would have been a big help. I’ll be checking for these at our local library to read to him this summer. Thanks!

    • Momsbagoftricks says:

      Kathy, What a great experience for your kids to be paired up! I hope they do that often! Let me know how your kids like these books! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Momsbagoftricks says:

      Emily, Great idea for the brithday wish list! I have a “Children’s Book Bucket List” each time i order off amazon (for diapers) i add a book! It has been super fun1 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Ashley says:

    I love this post. As a future teacher this post will come in handy. I love teaching emotions and other topics through books. I have heard of some of these books, but not all. i’m pinning this

    • Momsbagoftricks says:

      Ashley, So glad these could help! From one educator to another, Good luck! Let me know if you need any teacher resources 😉

  4. Brooke says:

    I think this is a fantastic list to have created and pinned it to make sure to look for these at our library. Thanks for putting it together!

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