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Working with Print-Disabled Youth: Books

A guide on reading, literacy, and access to information for adults who support print-disabled children.

The list of books on this page, a mix of award-winners and bestsellers, is a resource for adults looking to read to children or provide recommendations for younger readers. The annotations beneath each book give a short synopsis (pulled from publisher or author websites), what award (if any) the book has won, where the title can be accessed, and the book medium. Audiobooks are represented with AB; Braille books are represented with B; Large-print books are represented with LP.

We have tried to include many books that represent characters with print disabilities. Where books do not include those characters, they instead include characters with other underrepresented identity categories.

Book List

Books for Ages 0–7

  • Looking Out for Sarah by Glenna Lang
  • Synopsis: In this story of friendship, loyalty, and trust, readers spend a day in the life of Sarah and her guide dog, PerryBook cover of Looking Out for Sarah. A black labrador dog in a guide dog harness is held by its owner.. Perry helps Sarah go shopping, to the post office, and take the train to school. Sarah, a blind musician and teacher, entertains the children and tells them about the time she and Perry walked from Boston to New York to show the world what a blind person can accomplish with the help of a guide dog like Perry.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Schneider Family Book Award, 2004
    • Published: July 1, 2003
    • ISBN: 9781570916076
       
  • Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Robert A. Parker
    • Synopsis: Jazz musician Art Tatum, who was born with limited vision and lost much of it as he grew, never felt sorry Book cover of Piano Starts Here. A young boy sits at a piano.for himself. In this fictionalized biography, children learn that Tatum often forgot that “his eyes weren’t good” as he gave himself to his music, because “with his piano, he had everything he needed.”
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Schneider Family Book Award, 2009
    • Published: January 26, 2016
    • ISBN: 9780553533927
       
  • Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant
    • Synopsis: Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live likeCover of Six Dots. A young boy with his eyes closed holds a book outside of a window. everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS 
    • Schneider Family Book Award, 2017
    • Published: September 6, 2016
    • ISBN: 9780449813379

 

Books for Ages 7–12

  • The Hickory Chair by Lisa Rowe FraustinoBook cover of The Hickory Chair. A young boy sits in his grandmother's lap.
    • Synopsis: Louis and his grandmother are inseparable. They know each other so well that Louis feels he can even see his grandmother, though he has been blind since birth. That love carries him through the very worst moments when Gran is gone, and when Louis seems to be forgotten.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Published: February 1, 2001
    • ISBN: 9780590522489
       
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
    • Synopsis: This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, thisBook cover of The One and Only Ivan. An adult gorilla and baby elephant sit back to back. illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Newbury Medal Winner, 2013
    • Published: January 17, 2012
    • ISBN: 9780061992254
       
  • Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
    • Synopsis: Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in Book cover of Merci Suarez Changes Gears. A preteen girl rides her bike through the streets of her neighborhood.her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; LP from Heiskell Library
    • Newbury Medal Winner, 2019
    • Published: September 11, 2018
    • ISBN: 9780763690496

 

Books for Ages 12–14

  • Things Not Seen by Andrew Clement
    • Synopsis: Bobby Phillips is an average fifteen-year-old boy. Until the morning he wakes up and can't see himself iBook cover of Things Not Seen. A teen boy's face is shown in profile above a city skyline.n the mirror. Not blind, not dreaming--Bobby is just plain invisible. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to Bobby's new condition; even his dad the physicist can't figure it out. For Bobby that means no school, no friends, no life. He's a missing person. Then he meets Alicia. She's blind, and Bobby can't resist talking to her, trusting her. But people are starting to wonder where Bobby is. Bobby knows that his invisibility could have dangerous consequences for his family and that time is running out. He has to find out how to be seen again--before it's too late.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Schneider Family Book Award, 2004
    • Published: March 4, 2002
    • ISBN: 9780399236266
       
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander 
    • Synopsis: Josh and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more thanBook cover of Crossover show the silhouette of teenage boy holding a basketball on his pointer finger. basketball in his blood. He's got mad beats too, beats that tell his family's story in verse. But both brothers must come to grips with growing up, on and off the court, as they realize breaking the rules can come at a terrible price, resulting in a game-changer for their entire family.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare
    • Newbury Medal Winner, 2015
    • Published: March 18, 2014
    • ISBN: 9780544107717
       
  • Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender
    • Synopsis: Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit onlyBook cover of Hurricane Child shows a young black girl standing in a boat surrounded by flowers. she can see won't stop following her, and—worst of all—Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend, and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother, before Caroline loses her forever.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Lambada Literary Award, 2019; Stonewall Honor Book Award, 2019
    • Published: March 27, 2018
    • ISBN: 9781432869502

 

Books for Ages 14+

  • Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
    • Synopsis: Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus awayCover of Piecing Me Together shows a black teenage girl's face in front of a city. Her hair is tied back with a colorful scarf. from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But some opportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding ways to be real, to make a difference.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner, 2018; Newbury Award Honor, 2018
    • Published: February 14, 2017
    • ISBN: 9781681191058
       
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    • Synopsis: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew Book cover of The Poet X shows a young girl whose hair bleeds into a painted background also covered in various words. into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS; LP from Heiskell Library
    • Pura Belpré Award Winner, 2019; National Book Award Winner, 2018; Odyssey Award Honor, 2019
    • Published: March 6, 2018
    • ISBN: 9780062662804
       
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 
    • ‚ÄčSynopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic Book cover of Children of Blood. A young person with dark skin stares straight out from the cover. Their hair is white and resembles flames.disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for an enemy.
    • Medium: AB from Bookshare; B from NLS
    • Audie Award Winner, 2019
    • Published: March 6, 2018
    • ISBN: 1250170974

Book Awards

Audie Award "honors the best titles in audio publishing." (Audio Publishers Association)

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards "are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood." (ALA)

The Lambada Literary Award identifies and honors "the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books." (Lambada Literary)

The National Book Award was "established in 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America." (National Book Foundation)

The Newbery Award "was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." (ALSC)

Odyssey Award "is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States." (ALSC)

Pura Belpré Award "is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth." (ALSC)

The Schneider Family Book Awards "honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences." (ALA)

The Stonewall Book Awards, given in three different categories, "are presented to English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered experience." (ALA)