10 Brilliant Picture Books For Young Children With Disabled Characters

Updated from previous list!

I think these are ten of the best picture books for young children which have disabled characters. They cover a range of characters and impairments. My daughter Molly (age 5) loves all of these but they’re a bit too young for my sons Max (age 9) and Ben (age 11). Some of them are only available secondhand. Some are published in the UK and some are American. Let me know if you have any other books with disabled characters that you love!

I have put buying links where I can, but of course some of them will be available from your local bookshop (you could try my favourite one here)

1 What Happened to You? by James Catchpole & Karen George

Funny, engaging about how a boy, Joe, copes with being asked questions about why he only has one leg. Making friends, imaginary adventures, plus helpful advice for parents about inquisitive children at the back.

Link to buy here

2 Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

A mother pushes her child around on her lap in her wheelchair – pretending to be a racehorse, an airplane, a spaceship. ‘Mama’s got a zooming machine and she zooms me everywhere.’ Fun, fond, wheelchair-positive.

Link to buy here

3 When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb & Merrilee Liddiard

Charley meets Emma, a girl with limb differences, and learns that different is okay. ‘’That’s right!’ Emma said. ‘I am a little differenter than you, but I’m a lot the same too!’’ Catchy language and charming illustrations.

Link to buy here

4 Mermaid by Cerrie Burnell & Laura Ellen Anderson

Sylvia teaches Luka how to swim and they become friends. ‘Why are you in a wheelchair?’ they murmured. ‘Because she’s a mermaid!’ cried Luka, ‘and she comes from a palace beneath the sea.’’ Fantastical yet relatable story.

Link to buy here

5 I’m Special by Jen Green & Mike Gordon

Sarah uses a wheelchair and introduces her friends Jo, who loves science and can’t see well, and Ben, who loves swimming and can’t hear. She talks about how people treat her and feeling cross. Introduces lots of different impairments with amusing illustrations. Can be bought secondhand online.

6 We’ll Paint The Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen & Pam DeVito

Emma has a new baby brother and he has Down syndrome. Her dad says this means he’ll be able to do all the things Emma wants him to do, perhaps differently. Illustrations feel a little dated, but opens up good discussions.

Link to buy here

7 The Adventures of Team Super Tubie by Kristin Meyer & Kevin Cannon

The three superheroes all have different feeding tubes which make them strong enough to fight fires, rescue princesses and catch bandits. Three stories in one book with overlapping themes.

8 Hiya Moriah  by Victoria Nelson & Boddz

Moriah talks about her stays in hospital, her feeding tube, tracheostomy, sign language, and what she enjoys. Comprehensive and age-appropriate explanation of equipment. ‘An aid in my ear also helps me to hear, but shh! At clean-up time, I make it disappear!’ 

Link to buy here

9 Through The Eyes of Me by Jon Roberts & Hannah Rounding

Kya is autistic and talks about all the things she likes and doesn’t like. ‘I love reading books and looking at stickers. But be careful, I also enjoy ripping them up.’ 

Link to buy here

10 Simply Mae by Kyle Fiorelli & Kellan Roggenbuck

Mae has a walker named Wendy which helps her go on brilliant adventures. ‘Little Mae along with trusty Wendy, can always be found in the backyard at play.’ Clear, bright illustrations.

Link to buy here

10 Brilliant Books For Young Children With Disabled Characters

I have spent a lot of time trying to find books which have disabled characters and these are ten of the best. They cover a range of characters and impairments. My daughter Molly (age 4) loves all of these but they’re probably a bit too young for my sons Max (age 8) and Ben (age 10). Some of them are quite old and only available secondhand. Some are published in the UK and some are from America. Let me know if you have any other books with disabled characters that you love.

I have put Waterstones or Amazon links where I can, but of course some of them will be available from your local bookshop (you could try my favourite one here)

Buy Mama Zooms from Amazon here

By Amy Webb, Merrilee Liddiard

Buy When Charley Met Emma from Waterstones here

By Cerrie Burnell, Laura Ellen Anderson

Buy Mermaid from Waterstones here

Buy We’ll Paint the Octopus Red from Waterstones here

By Kristin Meyer, Kevin Cannon

Buy Hiya Moriah from Waterstones here

By Jon Roberts, Hannah Rounding

Buy Through The Eyes Of Me from Waterstones here

The Abilities in Me Tube FeedingGemma Keir, Adam Walker-Parker

Buy The Abilities In Me from Amazon here

Simply MaeKyle Fiorelli, Kellen Roggenbuck

Buy Simply Mae from Amazon here