There is so much more discussion about Disabilities and Mental Health than there ever was when I was a child. In general media, in kids media - everywhere, these topics are open in a way that I think is terrific and healthy. We need to be able to talk about these often hidden diseases but when you’re a child, sometimes you don’t have the language to talk about it.
For older kids at school, sometimes something’s going on with your friend and you notice they’re acting weird - but how to talk to an adult about it? Someone looks different from you and it makes you uncomfortable because you don’t know how to treat them? Using fictional stories with central characters with various disabilities can help kids of all ages see the world from their point of view. So with that in mind I’ve compiled a list of books for middle grade fiction (8 years to 14 years) up to young adult fiction (14 years to 18 years). Most of these transcend both age groups so I’ve not separated them on purpose because it will depend on the child whether or not they’re ready for the more adult themes that some of these books have. Some are series, some are stand alone, some are firmly set in the real world and others are fantasy. So there should be a book for every type of reader.
This list is the best of what I’ve read in the last ten years, but only in my opinion. There are certainly lots more on the market but some didn’t show enough of an understanding for my liking and some I just haven’t quite gotten to you. If you want to discuss this list further or have questions, or recommendation of what should be my next one to read feel free to send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonder by Palacio (Facial Deformities)
My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg (On the Spectrum)
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Locked in)
I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Mitchell (Physical)
Release & The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (Depression, Anxiety, LGBT & OCD)
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (Anxiety)
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (Autism)
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (Autism)
White Crane - Samurai Kids Bk 1 by Sandy Fussell (Various physical disabilities)
Outcasts - Brotherband Bk 1 by John Flanagan (Various perceived physical disabilities)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Various perceived disabilities)
The Reason I Jump by David Mitchell (Autism, autobiography)