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12 new books with positive images of disability

The Ghosts and Jamal

Here are 12 books that we think show positive images of disability, as well as titles that may prove useful in discussing disability and diversity.

They are all brilliant reads that were our Bookmark Books of the Month throughout 2018.

  • Errol’s Garden

    Author: Gillian Hibbs
    Publisher: Child’s Play

    Errol loves gardening, but he doesn’t have a garden. Then he comes up with a creative solution, thanks to the discovery of a disused area at the top of his apartment block. A heartwarming book with universal appeal that's a delight, from beginning to end. 

  • Rosie Loves Jack

    Author: Mel Darbon
    Publisher: Usborne Books

    Sixteen-year-old Rosie (who has Down’s syndrome) is devastated when circumstances separate her from boyfriend Jack (who has some brain injury-related anger management issues). An absorbing read with a powerful and convincing affection at its centre.

  • The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree

    Author: Paola Peretti Translator: Denise Muir
    Publisher: Hot Key Books

    Nine-year-old Mafalda has a degenerative eye condition. She starts to keep a list of all the things she'll miss when her sight goes, but also the constants that surround her. Tender and thought-provoking, with a powerful but unforced message.

  • Tiny Infinities

    Author: J H Diehl
    Publisher: Chronicle Books

    Thirteen-year-old Alice is trying to stop her family falling apart. A very beautiful and sensitively handled book that touches on themes of mental health, family relationships, friendships and love.

  • Ade’s Amazing Adventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat

    Author: Ade Adepitan
    Publisher: Studio Press

    This first book by Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan offers a fascinating picture of his childhood. With a light touch and plenty of wit, he recalls the influences and events that helped to shape his life and career. Entertaining, accessible and inspiring.

  • The Ghosts and Jamal

    Author: Bridget Blankley
    Publisher: Hope Road Publishing

    Jamal wakes to find that everyone in his West African village have been killed. He alone has survived because of how others perceive his epilepsy. This is a powerful, moving and mesmerising story, set in a violent world and seen through a 13-year-old's eyes. 

  • Truly Wildly Deeply

    Author: Jenny McLachlan
    Publisher: Bloomsbury

    Although a love story, this book is also about peer pressure, family, cultural identity, and having the courage to make one’s own way. Main character Annie is forthright and witty, and has cerebral palsy (although that's not central to the plot). An upbeat story with heart.

  • The Mystery of the Colour Thief

    Author: Ewa Jozefkowicz Illustrator: Sophie Gilmore (front cover)
    Publisher: Zephyr

    The book paints a convincing picture of a harrowing time in a young life, and the time, talking and friendship that helps her to process trauma. But this is by no means a gloomy read, offering ample humour, hope and optimism.

  • Running on Empty

    Author: S E Durrant Illustrator: Rob Biddulph (front cover)
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    Twelve-year-old AJ lives within a stone’s throw of the London Stadium, and his dream is to one day run there. However, his parents have learning difficulties, mounting bills, and are struggling to cope. A powerful book: convincing, uplifting and immensely readable.

  • Max and the Millions

    Author: Ross Montgomery
    Publisher: Faber

    When a school caretaker mysteriously disappears, leaving behind a small pile of sand, a student is drawn into an extraordinary adventure. Alongside the delightfully daft plot, Montgomery successfully touches on topics such as assumptions about deafness.

  • Sky Song

    Author: Abi Elphinstone
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster

    Abi Elphinstone's magical adventure is full of close calls, fantastical creatures and deliciously evil villains to savour in a tale that already feels like a children's classic.

  • Through the Eyes of Me

    Author: Jon Roberts Illustrator: Hannah Rounding
    Publisher: Graffeg

    Told in the first person, the book delivers a simple but effective glimpse into Kyla’s life, with help from her father (the author). We see that one way she might differ from some children is that she has autism. Beautifully effective artwork and uncluttered layout complete this delightful portrait.