Excellent Books About Disabilities and the Fight for Disability Rights


A book list for debunking disabilities and celebrating diversity.
The Children’s Book Review

Debunking Disabilities: A Book List Exploring the Fight for Disability Rights

These recent reads are great for the whole family, whether you know someone with a physical disability or not. Each of these books highlights the true story of an individual’s struggle of fighting for rights for those with disabilities, a history that many may not even know. What better books to add to our library (and personal book collections) as our classrooms become more diverse than these selections?!

What to expect: Disabilities, Equal Rights

Judy Heumann may not be a name you recognize at first glance, but Maryann Cocca-Leffler brings her story to life in this wonderful story. Judy grew up in a wheelchair after battling polio and faced many roadblocks as she started school. Because of her physical limitations, she was often told no. She had enough and fought for yes! Judy, along with others with disabilities, became activists and helped lay the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The illustrations and text placement work well together, and the end of the story even includes a note from Judy and other resources for the reader.

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We want to go to school: Book Cover

What to expect: History, Disabilities, Equal Rights

An easy-to-read story that focuses on the historic court case Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia, which allowed all children with disabilities to be able to receive the same public education as their peers. Leffler co-wrote the story with her daughter, Janine, who was born with cerebral palsy. Together they could thoroughly explain a heavy topic in terms that small children can understand while introducing new vocabulary along the way. The cartoon-like illustrations flow nicely with the story and entice the reader. The book ends with additional notes about the court case and supplemental resources.

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All the way to the top: Book Cover

What to expect: Disabilities, Determination, History, Equality

A heart-warming true story of Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, who has cerebral palsy and discovered that the road ahead would be bumpy because she was not being treated fairly or equally compared to her peers. Not only did she find that her accessibility was limited, but everyone also treated her differently. Jennifer couldn’t remain quiet. She joined the fight for equality and even participated in the famous Capitol Crawl in 1990 on the steps of the Capitol. The illustrations depict Jennifer’s battle amazingly well. The grit and determination are felt throughout the pages.

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More Enjoyable Books About Kids With Disabilities

When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb

I Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

This book list, Excellent Books About Disabilities and the Fight for Disability Rights, was curated by Anna Iacovetta, Ph. D. Discover more books like these titles by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Disabilities, Equal Rights, and Determination.

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