Summer Reading Recommendations
There is nothing better than a great book on the beach! We have put together a list of our favorite pro-disability books to pack in your beach bag this summer. We have something for everyone - kids to adults.
Out of My Mind
By Sharon Draper
Ages 8 - 11
Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can’t walk. She can’t talk. She can’t write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people—her teachers, her doctors, her classmates—dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
By Laurie Ann Thompson
Ages 5 - 9
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.
All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilites Changed Everything
By Annette Bay Pimentel
Ages 4 - 8
This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her.
Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change―even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but the way the world around her was built made it hard to do even simple things. Like going to school, or eating lunch in the cafeteria.
Jennifer knew that everyone deserves a voice! Then the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that would make public spaces much more accessible to people with disabilities, was proposed to Congress. And to make sure it passed, Jennifer went to the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them.
And, without her wheelchair, she climbed.
ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!
The Silent Sunset
By Mike Dorsey
Ages 3 - 8
As the largest and only deaf student at her school, Emma the elephant often feels singled out. Anthony the ant feels different too, being the smallest student at his school, and the only one with hearing loss and cerebral palsy. But when the two find each other-and a mutual love of sunsets-they become fast friends and discover that there is beauty in what makes us different, and serenity in shared experiences.
When Charley Met Emma
By Amy Webb
Ages 3 - 6
Winner of a 2019 Foreword INDIES Award Bronze Medal
When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair, he doesn't know how to react at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn't bad, sad, or strange--different is just different, and different is great!
This delightful book will help kids think about disability, kindness, and how to behave when they meet someone who is different from them.
I'll Walk With You
Ages 3 - 8
Help little ones learn to show love for the people around them, no matter how they look, sound, pray, love, or think.
Beloved author of The Lesson and Will You Still Be My Daughter? Carol Lynn Pearson is known for her heartfelt, sometimes tear-jerking poetry and stories. Her newest title will enchant children with a sweet, tender poem about loving and accepting others, no matter what they look like, where they come from, or what their age and abilities are.
Different - A Great Thing to Be!
By Heather Avis
Ages 3 - 6
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This joyful rhyming book encourages children to value the “different” in all people, leading the way to a kinder world in which the differences in all of us are celebrated and embraced.
Macy is a girl who’s a lot like you and me, but she's also quite different, which is a great thing to be. With kindness, grace, and bravery, Macy finds her place in the world, bringing beauty and laughter wherever she goes and leading others to find delight in the unique design of every person.
Children are naturally aware of the differences they encounter at school, in their neighborhood, and in other everyday relationships. They just need to be given tools to understand and appreciate what makes us “different,” permission to ask questions about it, and eyes to see and celebrate it in themselves as well as in those around them.
The Gift That I Can Give
By Kathie Lee Gifford
Ages 2 - 6
The Gift That I Can Give is a heartwarming story that shows how all children can do something today to make a positive impact on others. From simply being kind to giving a loved one an extra-big hug to cheering for a friend, this story will inspire children with countless ways to show God's love. They'll want to read it again and again.
The Gift That I Can Give:
highlights big gifts and points them back to God, like the ability to sing, play sports, and dance.
encourages quieter gifts as well, like encouragement, empathy, gratitude, kindness, and sharing God's love.
is a great bedtime story, grandparent story, or encouraging story to a child who is struggling.
More Alike Than Different
By David Egan
In this inspiring memoir, David Egan tells his own story, giving us a window into a life spent pushing boundaries. With a family undaunted by his diagnosis of Down syndrome, Egan learned early to speak up for himself. He has since become a powerful advocate for all people with disabilities.
His optimistic perspective rejected the limits of stereotypes and the expectations of others. He shares how the support of loving family and friends led him to overcome challenges and blaze new trails. It started with swimming and baseball, when he earned places on his neighborhood teams, competing fiercely and as a fully accepted teammate. He writes firsthand of the empowering feeling of being fully included in elementary school and at work as an adult.
Egan has earned positions at prestigious companies and a distinguished fellowship on Capitol Hill. He sits on the boards of influential advocacy organizations. He has addressed audiences worldwide and has played a powerful global advocacy role with Special Olympics.
Fish in A Tree
By Lynda Hunt
Ages 9 - 11
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions.
Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist
One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.
By Alice Wong
This book tells the personal stories of people with disabilities, highlighting the diverse experiences of what it’s like to be part of the disabled community.
By Jenna Mancini Rufo & Julie Causton
A visionary call to action from inclusion experts Jenna Mancini Rufo and Julie Causton, Reimagining Special Education guides readers in creating more equitable schools and services, through practical strategies teachers can use right away and thought-provoking, big-picture questions for administrators to tackle. Readers will explore how inclusive educational practices can address each student’s unique needs as schools reopen and bridge learning gaps for students who struggle. Throughout the book, vignettes and anecdotes spark lightbulb moments for educators and show what recommended practices look like in real classrooms.
Essential reading for administrators, classroom teachers, and other education professionals, this is the forward-thinking guide every school needs to reimagine the possibilities for special education, support authentic inclusion, and help learners with and without disabilities thrive in a changing world.
By Emily Ladau
People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us—disabled and nondisabled alike—don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on the important disability issues you need to know about, including:
• How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability
• Recognizing and avoiding ableism (discrimination toward disabled people)
• Practicing good disability etiquette
• Ensuring accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events
• Appreciating disability history and identity
• Identifying and speaking up about disability stereotypes in media