We hope these selections serve to educate, entertain, amplify disabled voices, and encourage a dialogue on topics of disability and neurodiversity.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Partially based on the author’s own experiences, this graphic novel is about Cece. Cece is starting at a new school, where she is the only deaf student. Her Phonic ear helps her hear her teacher, but her classmates are having difficulty accepting her.  Cece is looking for a true friend. Will transforming into El Deafo help her in this quest?

Available formats: Book

Emma Every Day: Party Problems by C.L. Reid

Emma is an 8-year-old girl who is excited about attending her best friend’s birthday party. She is also a little nervous because she is deaf and uses sign language. She has a cochlear implant but it doesn’t work well in noisy situations. ASL fingerspelling charts are included. The author has been deaf-blind since childhood, received a cochlear implant as an adult to help her hear, and she uses American Sign Language to communicate. Check out more of Emma’s adventures in the other books in the series.

Available formats: Book

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Bat is on the autism spectrum and has always felt more comfortable around animals. One day, Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. The minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together.  And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla), eBook (cloudLibrary), Audiobook, Audiobook (Hoopla)

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

For middle graders lives converge in this poignant novel. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around.  Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal, which leads to Chet  trapping Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla), eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook, Audiobook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino

Her sister, Emma, is born deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. The world is going to treat Jilly, who is white and hearing, differently from Emma. A big fantasy reader, Jilly makes a connection online with another fantasy fan, Derek, who is a Deaf, Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for help with Emma but doesn’t always know the best way or time to ask for it.As she and Derek meet in person, have some really fun conversations, and become friends, Jilly makes some mistakes . . . but comes to understand that it’s up to her, not Derek to figure out how to do better next time–especially when she wants to be there for Derek the most.

Available formats: Book,  Audiobook (Hoopla)

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly 

Twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. Iris is the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart.  One day Iris learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Iris will put all her talent and heart into creating a song for this whale.

Available formats: Book

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally lands in a new school and she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. 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.  Her confidence begins to grow making it possible for to truly  be herself.

Available formats: Book, eBook (cloudLibrary), eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook,  Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key  by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza’s got courage, the support of his mom, and a some “dud meds,” which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices, which have landed him into the district special-ed program. Joey knows he needs to work on making better choices before its too late. The first book in a heartwarming series that captures the intensity and humor found in the serious challenges that life presents to a kid dealing with hyper-activity and related disorders.

Available formats:  Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Rain Reign by Ann Martin

Struggling with Asperger’s, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.  Aven makes an unexpected friend in this new town. Connor, a classmate, also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than either could have imagined.

Available formats: Book,  eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla),  Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Jason Blake is an autistic twelve-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird-her name is Rebecca-could be his first real friend. Jason is worried Rebecca will not be able to see him for who he really is.

Available formats: Book

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya

Emilia Torres has a wandering mind. It’s hard for her to follow along at school, and sometimes she forgets to do what her mom or abuela asks. But she remembers what matters: a time when her family was whole and home made sense. When Dad returns from deployment, Emilia expects that her life will get back to normal. Instead, it unravels. Author Pablo Cartaya explores the challenges and triumphs of growing up through eyes of a brave, neuro-diverse, preteen.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She has cerebral palsy, which has left her without the ability to walk, talk or write. Melody does have 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 dismiss her intelligence, but Melody refuses to be defined by her disability, and needs to find a way to show everyone her true self.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

It doesn’t seem like Christmas since his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Lolly and his mother are still reeling, and Lolly is trying hard to figure out how to move forward.  His mother’s girlfriend gives him two giant bags of Legos, and after meeting Big Rose, who is on the spectrum, at the community center he begins to build a fantastical Lego city.  Big Rose becomes an unexpected ally, as Lolly fights his way out of his brother’s old crew.

Available formats: Book, eBook (cloudLibrary), eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook,  Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Twelve-year-old Lou Montgomery’s life has been centered on her mother’s terrifying plan to make her a singing star, but a crisis reveals Lou’s sensory processing disorder and people determined to help her address it.

Available formats: Book


Temple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World
by Sy Montgomery

An authorized portrait about Grandin’s life with autism and her groundbreaking work as a scientist and designer of cruelty-free livestock facilities describes how she overcame key disabilities through education and the support of her mother.

Available formats: Book

Greta Thunberg: Climate Crisis Activist  by Matt Doeden

This biography explores the life and impact of  a 15-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg. Greta received her Asperger’s diagnosis when she was eleven years old, but this has not stopped her commitment to climate change. Thunberg’s strikes and blunt speeches to world leaders and all adults ignited a global movement, inspiring millions of people to take action worldwide.

Available formats: eBook (Hoopla)

The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis

Thirteen-year-old Amelie Day loves to bake, so she is thrilled to be invited to compete in the Best Teen Baker of the Year contest, and she is determined not to let her steadily worsening cystic fibrosis get in the way, even if it means lying to her parents, and catching a train to New York on her own. Sneaking away has unexpected consequences when her friend is injured trying to follow her.

Available formats: eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings

After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind, where in spite of her initial resistance she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.

Available formats: eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)


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