Children’s Books That Celebrate Disability

Disability, whether mental, physical, or intellectual, is just one more form of diversity in the world around us. Sadly. most people do not view it like that and people and people with disabilities are discriminated against. If we can teach our children to be sensible, caring, understanding, and empathic towards their peers who might not be like them in some way, we will not only make children with disabilities feel more included and happy. This will also lead to a better world with lesser discrimination, hatred, and conflict. Here are a few books with disabled protagonists that you can make your child read to help them understand the concept better:

Susie Will Not Speak by Shruthi Rao

This is a cute and fun story about little Susie who is often laughed at and made fun of by her peers and an adult because she speaks with a lisp. It is a charming tale of fun, friendship, disappointment, bullying, and resolve. The author got the inspiration for this book from her own childhood. “When I stammered, people laughed at me, or kept asking me to speak properly, and so I wondered what it would be like if I completely stopped speaking. Then nobody would bother me any longer,” Shruthi says.

My Brother’s Wheeeeelchair written by Salil Chaturvedi

written by Salil Chaturvedi and illustrated by Tanvi Bhat: This picture book tells the story of a child in a wheelchair and his sister, both of whom have a gala time with their little adventures.

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Flute in the Forest by Leela Gour Broome

This book tells the story of thirteen-year-old Atiya and her many fascinating outdoor adventures. Afflicted by polio, which makes her limp as she walks with her wooden walking stick. Atiya is independent and no one can stop her from exploring the depths of the forest and making amazing discoveries along the way.

Against All Odds by Ramendra Kumar

This book about 12-year-old Kartik who is a big football fan and enthusiast and loves the sport dearly. His left arm is not fully formed, but he is independent and his friends at his school in Kolkata are friendly and they have a lot of fun playing for hours in the football field. However, life takes a difficult turn for Kartik when the family moves to Rourkela due to his father’s transfer. His classmates at the new school think he’s a freak and even the football coach feels he wouldn’t be capable of playing the game!

Dhanak-Rainbow by Nagesh Kukunoor and Anushka Ravishankar

This book has been made into an award-winning children’s Hindi drama film. Ten-year-old Pari and her eight-year-old blind brother, Chotu go on a challenging but fun adventure to try and meet Shah Rukh Khan whom, they hear, is shooting for a film in Rajasthan. The plan to meet Pari’s hero stems from a promise she had made to her brother: that she would restore his eyesight before he turned nine.

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Fish in A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This multiple award-winning, New York Times bestselling book tells the story of the struggles of a dyslexic but clever schoolgirl named Ally. Once, she faces a lot of embarrassment when she mistakenly hands over a sympathy card to her new teacher who is expecting a baby. Since Ally couldn’t read properly owing to dyslexia, she didn’t know that it was a card meant to be given to the bereaved and not to someone expecting good news. It is a relatable and remarkable story that tries to portray that even if a child is different from his or her peers or family, they shouldn’t be labeled a loser.

Machher Jhol (Fish Curry) written by Richa Jha

This book traces the journey Gopu, a gritty, determined and independent, blind protagonist goes on to meet his grandmother and back home through the bustling city of Kolkata, with its many sounds, smells, and scenes such as the Durga Pujo pandals, fish markets, slow-moving heritage trams, and hand-pulled cycle rickshaws.

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