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10 of Our Favorite Children’s Books About Characters with Learning Disabilities
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1.) Andy and His Yellow Frisbee

Author: Mary Thompson

Recommended Readers: Grades 1 through 5

Synopsis: This story is told from the perspective of Rosie, the protective sister of her autistic brother. Andy becomes preoccupied with spinning a frisbee and draws the attention of his classmate, Sarah. Rosie becomes fearful that Sarah will disrupt her brother and he will lose his composure. What follows is a sympathetic encounter as Rosie tenderly points out Andy’s differences in a way that promotes tolerance and kindness.

2.) Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Author: Jennifer Elder

Recommended Readers: Grades 1 through 6

Synopsis: This inspiring book tells the story of a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is introduced to famous artists, inventors, mathematicians and scientists – all autism heroes who have excelled amazingly in their field, yet struggled to fit in.

3.) The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists)

Author: Julia Finley Mosca

Illustrator: Daniel Rieley

Recommended Readers: Grades 1 through 5

Synopsis: As a young girl, Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism. No one ever expected her to speak, let alone grow up to be a famous inventor and advocate. This true-life story details how Temple’s special way of thinking helped her connect with animals and change the way the world farms today.

4.) It’s Hard to Be a Verb

Author: Julia Cook

Illustrator: Carrie Hartman

Recommended Readers: Grades 3 through 5

Synopsis: This is a great read and positive resource for families that include children who have ADHD. Written by an award-winning writer and counselor, this story follows Louis’s antics as he struggles to pay attention. His mom saves the day with hands-on tools he can use to help him focus.

5.) Just Juice

Author: Karen Hesse

Illustrator: Robert Andrew Parker

Recommended Readers: Grades 3 through 5

Synopsis: Letters and numbers don’t make much sense to Juice, the middle child in a poor, rural family of six. She’d rather skip school. But when an important letter is delivered to the Faulstich family, someone has to read it to Ma and Pa.

6.) My Brother Charlie

Author: Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

Illustrator: Shane Evans

Recommended Readers: Grades 1 through 3

Synopsis: Callie has a special bond with her older brother, Charlie. He’s good at sports, playing piano and he has a special way with animals. There are also times where Charlie seems especially distant and quiet. Charlie has autism, but Callie is able to get his attention and encourage him to communicate, laugh and play. This story reinforces important values of tolerance, acceptance and togetherness.

7.) My Name is Brain Brian

Author: Jeanne Betancourt

Recommended Readers: Grades 3 through 5

Synopsis: Based on the author’s own experience, this book offers a sensitive portrayal of a child who begins to notice that he is different. Brian tries to prove to family and friends that he is not “dumb,” as he deals with the confusion and frustration of dyslexia and ultimately triumphs.

8.) Thank you, Mr. Falker

Author: Patricia Polacco

Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Recommended Readers: Grades 3 through 5

Synopsis: This inspiring, real-life account of a young student who was a gifted artist and a special teacher who helps recognize her dyslexia. When Trisha jumbles numbers and letters, classmates tease her. But her teacher encourages her artistic talent and helps her overcome her reading disability.

9.) The Vicar of Nibbleswicke

Author: Roald Dahl

Recommended Readers: Grades 6 through 8

Synopsis: Written by acclaimed author, Roald Dahl, this story tells the tale of the parish’s new vicar who tries his best to cover his dyslexia. Hilarity ensues when the vicar transposes words. But it’s not funny to the vicar or the parish’s biggest benefactor. But thanks to town doctor, there is an interesting cure.

10.) When My Worries Get Too Big!: A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live With Anxiety

Author: Kari Dunn Buron

Illustrator: Kari Dunn Buron

Recommended Readers: Grades 3 through 5

Synopsis: This book encourages children who suffer with anxiety and sensory issues to identify and explore their feelings. And it offers simple self-calming strategies that are easy to practice – even in overwhelming, high-stress social situations.

Let’s read!