Recommendations by Laura M

National AccessAbility Week runs from May 30 to June 5 this year. It is an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities and to recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces removing barriers to inclusion. Please check out how the library supports accessibility and accommodation.

Books are a great way to help children learn about the world around them and about themselves. In this blog post I will highlight a few books from the children’s collection that include themes about disability, accessibility and inclusion and/or feature protagonists who have a disability. Enjoy!

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay book jacket coverMy Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best (4-8 years)

Zulay is the narrator of this story, and as such readers get an inside look at how she’s feeling as she moves through her day at school. She has a great group of friends who help each other out, but Zulay also has a special teacher (Ms. Turner) who gives her extra support.

Zulay is learning how to learn a cane to help her walk, but she has mixed feelings about it – “that fold-ing hold-ing cold-ing cane.” She doesn’t want to stick out, “like a car alarm in the night waking everybody up” but she tries to be patient and practice with Ms. Turner. There is a Field Day coming up, and Zulay surprises everyone by saying she would like to run the race in her new pink shoes.

A Boy and a Jaguar book jacket coverA Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz (4-7 years)

A Boy and a Jaguar is based on Alan Rabinowitz’s life story. Alan has a stutter. As a boy, he is removed from his regular class due to his difficulty communicating. However, Alan has no problems speaking fluently when he talks to animals. One day, he promises the sad, caged jaguar at the Bronx Zoo that he will be a voice for the animals.

True to his word, Alan has dedicated his life to advocating for big cats throughout the world, as well as for people who stutter. 

Black Book of Colors book jacket coverBlack Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria (7-9 years)

This unique and innovative book invites readers to experience what it would be like to only be able see through their sense of touch, taste, smell or hearing.

Illustrations are composed of raised black line drawings on black paper - that can be interpreted by touch. The text throughout is translated into braille, so sighted readers can start to imagine what it’s like to read by touch. A full braille alphabet is included at the end of the book.

El Deafo book jacket coverEl Deafo by Cece Bell (8-12 years)

“Our differences are our superpowers,” is author Cece Bell’s adage. In this funny and perceptive graphic novel memoir, readers are taken on Cece’s journey – learning to lip read and decipher the noise of using a hearing aid. The book is set in the suburban ‘70s and includes all the inflated melodrama of late childhood – crushes, bossy and protective friends and the search for a true friend.

Cece would love not to care what anyone else thinks, but she does. She doesn’t want to be considered “special” and wants to pass for hearing. However, she’s faced with serious challenges when she removes her hearing aids in the summer or when she’s at a slumber party and everyone’s talking after light’s out.

Mascot book jacket coverMascot by Anthony John (8-12 years)

Noah is in a serious car accident that kills his father and leaves Noah paralyzed. He can no longer play baseball, people are treating him like he’s helpless, he’s not making any progress in physiotherapy and he misses his dad.

This is a witty, heartfelt story about the struggle to rebuild identity when what once defined us no longer exists.


Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key book jacket coverJoey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos (9-13 years)

Joey Pigza can’t sit still, or concentrate, or follow the rules – especially when his meds aren’t working. Impulsive Joey knows he’s a good kid who’s just “not wired right,” and he can’t seem to keep from getting into trouble.

 Joey’s first-person narration brings readers along for the hyperactive ride as his meds wear off, giving a front row seat to the chaos that can be caused by unmedicated ADHD and the well-meaning – but also imperfect – adults in his life.

Joey is warm, loveable and goodhearted, and Gantos provides comic relief without sugar-coating the struggles Joey faces living with this often hereditary disability.

This is the first book in a series.