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Books with positive images of disability: See the 12 best of the year


Here are 12 children's books that are useful for discussing disability and inclusive issues with young readers.

They are all brilliant reads that were our Bookmark Books of the Month throughout 2019.

  • Lightning Chase Me Home

    Author: Amber Lee Dodd
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9-12

    This is an unusual adventure story that successfully holds the reader under its spell. A growing sense of danger rumbles in the background and it combines a convincing contemporary context with timeless mystery and magic.

  • Amazing

    Author: Steve Antony
    Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
    Interest age: 3-5

    A delightful story about a little boy and his amazing pet dragon. It's a rare and perfect example of completely incidental inclusion when it comes to disability – and the themes of friendship and being yourself will appeal to every child.

  • The Key to Flambards

    Author: Linda Newbery
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    After a car accident and her parents' divorce, Grace spends the holidays at Flambards, a quiet countryside arts centre. It’s a summer that will slowly change Grace’s feelings about her past, her future and her very place in the world. Readable and engaging. 

  • Me and My Sister

    Author: Rose Robbins
    Publisher: Scallywag Press
    Interest age: 3-6
    Reading age: 5+

    A delightful insight into sibling life is delivered through appealing animal characters in this simple and effective picture book, reminding us that every child is different. 

  • Song for a Whale

    Author: Lynne Kelly
    Publisher: Piccadilly Press
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    A baleen whale's unique 55-hertz frequency means he cannot communicate with other whales, and 12-year-old Iris is determined to help him. A pacy story told with a tender touch, which also offers examples of common frustrations experienced by deaf children. 

  • Can You See Me?

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

    Starting secondary school is a daunting time for any 11 year old – and Natalia is no exception. This is a powerful, readable and relatable story about trying to fit in. Along the way, a host of assumptions and stereotypes about autism are smashed. 

  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

    Author: Annie Kubler
    Publisher: Child's Play International Ltd
    Interest age: 0-3

    The blend of rhyme, repetition and alliteration is a recipe almost guaranteed to attract a toddler. This delightful board book combines all these elements, along with a rocket theme for added excitement. 

  • Through the Eyes of Us

    Author: Jon Roberts
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 3-6
    Reading age: 5+

    Kya and Martha are like ‘two different colours sitting on a beautiful rainbow’. They are both on the autistic spectrum, but this certainly does not mean that they are the same. A beautiful book, rich in its universal sense of childhood fun and friendship. 

  • Stretch Your Confidence

    Author: Beth Cox and Natalie Costa Illustrator: Vicky Barker
    Publisher: B Small Publishing
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    With a lightness of touch, this book encourages children to record their feelings, as they consider how they interact with others. A perfect way to help any child develop confidence and support good mental health through fun activities.

  • The Boy With the Butterfly Mind

    Author: Victoria Williamson
    Publisher: Floris Books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 9+

    The complexities of families divided by break-up and reformed as blended versions of themselves will have been experienced by many readers. Elin and Jamie’s story is a compelling and affecting book about acceptance, openness and family dynamics.

  • Harriet Versus the Galaxy

    Author: Samantha Baines Illustrator: Jessica Flores
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    When Harriet is hunting for her hearing aid under the bed, the last thing she expects to find is an alien. Soon, she is working alongside her gran to defend the human race. A highly accessible story, laced with lively illustrations and lots of laughs. 

  • My Monster and Me

    Author: Nadiya Hussain and Ella Bailey
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 3-5

    A boy introduces both himself and his monster, who has been with him for as long as he can remember. An all-round perfect picture book for entertaining and reassuring any child that though anxiety may be a part of life, it does not define us and can be managed.