Our Favourite Books for Kids About Special Needs

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Whether or not you have a child with special needs, it is important for your kids to understand special needs and develop compassion for others. Five of our kids have special needs, so I am always on the lookout for good children’s books on the topic.

Whether or not you have a child with special needs, it is important for your kids to understand special needs and develop compassion for others. I am always on the lookout for good children's books on the topic.

These are some of our family’s favourites in no particular order:

1. My Brother Charlie written by Holly Robinson Peete and her 12 year old daughter Ryan is based on their real life experience as Ryan’s twin brother has autism. While it certainly speaks about the differences that a child with autism may portray, it also speaks about their strengths.

2. In Jesse’s Shoes…Appreciating Kids with Special Needs by Beverly Lewis is also about a sister learning to accept and appreciate her brother’s special needs.
3. Nathan’s Wish: A Story About Cerebral Palsy by Laurie Lears is a great book for opening conversation with kids about very obvious differences in others such as them being in a wheelchair.
4. Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload by Jennifer Veenendall is an especially good book for explaining sensory processing disorder to kids.
5. We’re Different, We’re the Same (a Sesame Street book) by Bobbi Jane Kates is a great book. We use it for talking about differences in terms of race and looks and in terms of special needs.
6. When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety by Kari Dunn Buron is one of the few books that deal with childhood anxiety, something talked about very little but it is all too real for those families living with it.
7. Forgetful Frankie, the World’s Greatest Rock Skipper, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder does a really good job of explaining in easy to understand language the positives and some of the challenges of FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder).
8. Ellie Bean the Drama Queen: A Children’s Book About Sensory Processing Disorder by Jennie Harding is another cute book about sensory processing disorder. There are actually quite a few good books out there on this particular topic so it was hard to just pick two for this list.
9. Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook is a book to explain anxiety disorders in children to children. Again, this is not a subject that is talked about very much and yet more and more children are suffering from anxiety related issues.
10. Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy by Bob Sornson, PhD is more of a general book but can be used to open dialogue with kids who may have questions about special needs or who may be struggling with how to relate to kids they see as different.

11. Let’s Hear it for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer tells the story of a girl who loses her hearing and gets cochlear implants. As the mom of a daughter who has gone deaf and gets many questions from other kids about her hearing equipment, I would love for more kids to be educated about this.

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  1. What a great list of books. I haven’t read a single one.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Great list! We own a few of those and In Jesse’s Shoes is my favorite by far. LOVE IT. I’m so glad that books are being published now that help kids understand. 🙂

  3. Sosu’s Call and Jonathan James and The Whatif Monster are a little different than the other ones that you mentioned, but both applicable.

  4. Lisa Eichlin says:

    I have a book to add to your list of special needs books. The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew, teaches a great lesson about friendship and acceptance between a boy named Michael and his best friend who is disabled.

  5. Hi, you have a great list of books. We have a new series out, Sam’s Top Secret Journal, inspired by our daughter with Down syndrome. I would love to send you a set (3 books): 1-We Spy, 2-Secret Island and 3-Memorial Day.
    Enjoy and thanks for all you do,

  6. Britney Lane says:

    Interested in checking out Wilma Jean. Another good book to add to your list is Lucy’s Amazing Friend.

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