Books with positive images of disability: See the best of the year

Everdark

Here are ten children's books that are useful for discussing disability and inclusive issues with young readers, which we highlighted in our Bookmark section in 2021.

  • Wanda's Words Got Stuck

    Author: Lucy Rowland Illustrator: Paula Bowles
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Wanda the little witch loves school, but she's a little shy - and very nervous about the school magic contest! 

  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    Author: Helen Rutter
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Billy's starting secondary school, but he's worried that his stammer will make it hard to fit in. He has to get rid of it before he can pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian - so he comes up with an unusual list of ways to deal with it...

  • Everdark

    Author: Abi Elphinstone
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    In the kingdom where 11 year old Smudge lives, it's tradition for a phoenix to rise from the ashes to start a new era of magic. But when Smudge spots an ominous creature soaring across the ocean instead of the phoenix, she embarks on a quest to save her home.

  • What Happened To You?

    Author: James Catchpole Illustrator: Karen George
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 4-8

    Joe just wants to play pirates, but the other children notice that he only has one leg and start asking him a barrage of questions. A stunningly clever book with a clear message that someone who happens to be disabled is not a teaching tool, with practical advice for parents on handling questions about this.

  • Loud!

    Author: Rose Robbins
    Publisher: Scallywag Press
    Interest age: 4-8

    Abigail is always fidgeting and giggling at school until Miss Butler discovers her love of singing and songwriting. It’s implied that Abigail has ADHD but this beautifully delivered book will resonate with any child who's ever found it tricky to do what is expected of them.

  • Just Like Me

    Author: Louise Gooding Illustrator: Caterina delli Carri and Angel Chang and Cathy Hookey and Melissa Iwai
    Publisher: Studio Press
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    The author (who has ADHD) sets out to prove to neurodivergent (and all) children that you can overcome any potential limitations of a label. This glorious anthology encourages us to celebrate uniqueness and recognise our potential to achieve.

  • Ways To Be Me

    Author: Rebecca Scott and Libby Westcott
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Co-written by an author and a young autistic person, the book introduces us to Tally and her family on the road to a diagnosis. Tally’s story of family, friendship and growing up will resonate with any young person while also busting many an autism myth. 

  • You Can!

    Author: Alexandra Strick and Steve Antony
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books

    Based on real children's own voices and messages (including young disabled people), You Can! is a fabulously inclusive picture book that reminds all children that they are valued individuals with a bright future. 

  • We're Going to Find the Monster

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Dapo Adeola
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 3-5

    A lovely slightly fairy tale-inspired tale about a family with two younger siblings and a teenager getting ready for breakfast, featuring the wonderful storytelling and word wizardry of Malorie Blackman and the illustrations of prize-winning Dapo Adeola.

  • The Amazing Edie Eckhart

    Author: Rosie Jones Illustrator: Natalie Smillie
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Edie Eckhart is a feisty, funny 11-year-old who has cerebral palsy. She has to make some new special relationships when she moves to secondary school and her best friend goes into a different class. An entertaining diary-format book that sensitively explores growing up.