Disability Representation in Children's Books
Young readers deserve to see themselves, their friends, their families, their communities, and people they’ve never met reflected truthfully in the books they read. Children’s books portraying diverse representation in ethnicity, gender, or disability, whether visible or hidden, can help cultivate empathy and normalize a different reality for some, highlighting all we have in common as well as our beautiful and unique differences that make us special.
Children’s books about disability are a particularly underrepresented area. Readers need access to authentic disability representation that centers on characters who may be living with challenges, but who also have full lives. They have hobbies, friends, family, goals, and accomplishments. Readers need positive stories on disability with characters who reinforce that we all share the same spectrum of emotions and personalities, who are fully human and not tokenized or reduced to serving as inspiration for others. Readers also need stories featuring characters with disabilities across genres, from contemporary stories like our Emma Every Day series to adventure/sci-fi/superhero stories like The Fantastic Freewheeler series, and everything in between.
We hope these stories will become essential additions to your growing library or classroom collection and facilitate meaningful discussion with your readers and we look forward to creating more of them.
Meet Molly Felder
A hero unlike any other—the Fantastic Freewheeler!
Author Molly Felder brings an authentic voice to this full-color graphic novel series that stars Drew Daniels, aka the Fantastic Freewheeler, a kid superhero with cerebral palsy. With his brain boost superpower, Drew can learn all about something through a single touch and uses this ability to solve problems big and small. Fast-paced and funny, these adventures are perfect for middle-grade readers and anyone who’s looking for inclusive stories. Find out more about Molly and her graphic novel debut.
14 Great Books Featuring Characters With Disabilities
Check out a few of our favorite Capstone books that feature main characters with disabilities. These titles represent a wide range of mirrors and windows because sometimes you need a text that skillfully explores a specific disability, while other times you simply want a story of realistic kids experiencing real life—and some of them may happen to have a disability, but that's not the focus of the storyline.
Emma Every Day
Emma Carter loves swimming, writing, and biking. She also loves her pet goldfish and tacos. Emma is Deaf and uses a cochlear implant to help her hear. She uses sign language as well. Every day is a new chance to have fun, and Emma tries to do just that by conquering daily challenges with a positive attitude and nonstop determination.
The Emma Every Day early chapter book series, written by authentic voices author C. L. Reid, includes an ASL fingerspelling chart, ASL fingerspelling in the text, a glossary, and content-related questions.
Praise for Emma Every Day
Emma Every Day Resources
Q&A With Author C.L. Reid
Sense of Play
In her new picture book Sense of Play, author Dana Meachen Rau describes a simple, joyful day between siblings, one who is Blind and one who has sight. The sweet story celebrates the senses beyond sight—the sounds, smells, tastes, and textures that make playing together so much fun. Learn more about Dana’s personal connection to the story in her Author's Note.
Books For Your Disability Representation Collection
Looking for more children's books that depict people with physical or intellectual disabilities? Explore our collection of titles featuring fictional main characters with disabilities and nonfiction biographies of notable people.