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Children's Literature

Books in BU's Juvenile Collection

Chapter Books featuring Individuals with Disabilities

Al Capone does my shirts / Gennifer Choldenko.  2004.  Fic C547a.   A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister. 

Blind sighted / Peter Moore.  2002.  Fic M8236b.  Kirk, a creative misfit who is in trouble at high school because he is bored with his classes, learns to deal with his alcoholic mother, new friends, and life with the help of a blind young woman who hires him to read to her. 

Born on a blue day: inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant: a memoir / Daniel Tammet.  2007.  920.71 T158t.  Daniel Tammet has savant syndrome, a rare condition that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers.  His story from childhood through young adulthood, when he learned how to control himself and to live independently, fell in love, experienced a religious conversion to Christianity, and emerged as a celebrity. 

A boy called hopeless: a David Melton novel / M.J.  1986. Fic M528b.  Fifteen-year-old Mary Jane describes her family’s reactions when they discover that her younger brother is brain injured and their decision to participate in a program of rehabilitation together.

Bucking the Sarge / Christopher Paul Curtis. 2004.  Fic C9783b.  Deeply involved in his cold and manipulative mother’s shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan, fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and becoming a philosopher. 

A corner of the universe / Ann M. Martin.  2002. Fic M379c.  The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie’s small town. 

Crazy lady! / Jane Leslie Conly. 1995.  Fic C7523c.  As he tries to come to terms with his mother’s death, Vernon finds solace in his growing relationship with the neighborhood outcasts, an alcoholic and her mentally retarded son. 

Cry of the wolf / Zane Spencer and Jay Leech.  1977. Fic S7459c. Crippled from an auto accident in which his father was killed, Jim must rise above his sense of guilt and worthlessness to assume some of the responsibilities on the family’s failing ranch.

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time / Mark Haddon.  2004.  Fic H127c.
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. 

Deaf Child Crossing / Marlee Matlin.  2002.  Fic M433d.  Despite the fact that Megan is deaf and Cindy can hear, the two girls become friends when Cindy moves into Megan's neighborhood, but when they go away to camp, their friendship is put to the test. 

Do you remember the color blue?: and other questions kids ask about blindness / Sally Hobart Alexander.  2000.  305.908161 A378d.   Children ask questions of an author who lost her vision at the age of twenty-seven, including "How did you become blind?" "How can you read?" and "Was it hard to be a parent when you couldn’t see your kids?" 

Dog called Homeless / Sarah Lean.   2012.  Fic L437d.   Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a disabled boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates.

El deafo / Cece Bell. 2014.  920.72 B4333b. In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful--and very awkward--hearing aid.

Emily Good as Gold / Susan Goldman Rubin.  1993.  Fic R896e.  Emily Gold, a learning disabled thirteen-year-old, struggles to be independent from her overprotective parents. 

Five flavors of Dumb / Antony John.  2011.  Fic J653f.  Eighteen-year-old Piper becomes the manager for her classmates’ popular rock band, called Dumb, giving her the chance to prove her capabilities to her parents and others, if only she can get the band members to get along. 

Fish in a tree / Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  2015. Fic H9419f.  Every time Ally lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb?  With the help of her newest teacher, Ally learns that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and that there’s a lot more to her than a label.

Gathering Blue / Lois Lowry.  2000. Fic L9212g.  Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians. 

Girls like us / Gail Giles.  2014. Fic G4724g. Schneider Family Book Award, 2015.  Graduating from their school’s special education program, Quincy and Biddy are placed together in their first independent apartment and discover unexpected things they have in common in the face of past challenges and a harrowing trauma.

Going bovine / Libba Bray.  2009.  Fic B8272g.   Michael L. Printz Award, 2010.   In an attempt to find a cure after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen-year-old boy, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital. 

Granny Torrelli makes soup / Sharon Creech.  2003.  Fic C9127g.   With the help of her wise old grandmother, twelve-year-old Rosie manages to work out some problems in her relationship with her best friend, Bailey, the boy next door. 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, artist / Jennifer Fisher Bryant.  1995.  920.71 T725b.  A biography of the nineteenth-century French artist, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, who had a number of congenital disabilities

Hey, Dummy / Kin Platt.  1971.  Fic P719he.  Despite the opposition of his family and friends, Neil befriends the brain-damaged boy newly-arrived in the neighborhood.

Hurt go happy / Ginny Rorby.  2006. Fic R787h. Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis, deaf since the age of six, is used to being left out of conversations because her mother never allowed her to learn sign language. Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari, but as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, everything changes again.

I can't always hear you / Joy Zelonky.  1993.  Fic Z52i.  When Kim, a hearing-impaired girl, begins going to a regular school after having been in a special one, she finds that she isn't as different as she had feared. Everyone she meets has individual differences, too.

Miss Spitfire: reaching Helen Keller / Sarah Miller.  2007.  Fic M6496m.  At age twenty-one, partially-blind, lonely but spirited Annie Sullivan travels from Massachusetts to Alabama to try and teach six-year-old Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age two, self-discipline and communication skills. Includes historical notes and timeline. 

My Louisiana sky / Kimberly Willis Holt.  1998.  Fic H7585m.  Growing up in Saitter, Louisiana, in the 1950s, twelve-year-old Tiger Ann struggles with her feelings about her stern, but loving grandmother, her mentally slow parents, and her good friend and neighbor, Jesse. 

My thirteenth winter: a memoir / Samantha Abeel.  2004.  920.72 A138m.  Samantha couldn’t tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change-and she was in the seventh grade. 

Out of my mind / Sharon M. Draper.  2010.  Fic D766o.  Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Peeling the Onion / Wendy Orr.  1997.  Fic O75p. Following an automobile accident in which her neck is broken, a teenage karate champion begins a long and painful recovery with the help of her family.

Probably still Nick Swansen / Virginia Euwer Wolff. 1988. Fic W855p. Sixteen-year-old learning-disabled Nick struggles to endure a life in which the other kids make fun of him, he has to take special classes, his date for the prom makes an excuse not to go with him, and he is haunted by the memory of his older sister who drowned while he was watching.

Ray Charles: voice of soul / David Ritz.  1994. 920.71 C476r.  Although blinded by glaucoma at age five, Ray Charles Robinson, a music, mathematics, and mechanical genius, overcame the hardships of poverty, racism, and drug addiction, as well as blindness, to become one of America's most innovative and important musicians. 

Reaching for sun / Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.  2007. Fic Z723r.  Josie, who lives with her mother and grandmother and has cerebral palsy, befriends a boy who moves into one of the rich houses behind her old farmhouse.

Risk n’ roses / Jan Slepian.  1990. Fic S6324r.  In 1948, newly-moved to the Bronx, eleven-year-old Skip longs to shed her responsibility for her mentally handicapped older sister and give her whole attention to her new friendship with the bold and daring girl who seems to run the neighborhood.

Ron Kovic: antiwar activist / Nathaniel Moss. 1993.  920.71 K885m. A biography of the young veteran who wrote of his struggle to create a meaningful life after being crippled during the Vietnam War.

Rules / Cynthia Lord.  2006. Fic L86615r.   Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with a young paraplegic. 

Running dream / Wendelin Van Draanen.  2011.  Fic V217147r.  When a school bus accident leaves sixteen-year-old Jessica an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.

The silent boy / Lois Lowry.  2003. Fic L9216si. Katy, the precocious ten-year-old daughter of the town doctor, befriends a retarded boy.

Small steps / Louis Sachar. 2006.  Fic S1208sm.  Schneider Family Book Award, 2007.  Three years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is trying hard to keep his life on track, but then his old pal X-Ray shows up with a tempting plan to make some easy money scalping concert tickets.

A small white scar / K.A. Nuzum. 2006.  Fic N992s.  Fifteen-year-old Will Bennon leaves his family and begins life as a cowboy, but his mentally retarded twin brother follows him and joins the journey.

Somebody, please tell me who I am / Harry Mazer.  2012. Fic M4762so.  Wounded in Iraq while his Army unit is on convoy and treated for many months for traumatic brain injury, the first person Ben remembers from his earlier life is his autistic brother. 
Stephen Hawking: revolutionary physicist / Melissa McDaniel.  1994.  920.71 H392m.
Describes the life of the renowned theoretical physicist who has taken the study of cosmology further than most in his field, despite his need for wheelchair and computer to travel and communicate. 

Stoner & Spaz / Ron Koertge.  2002.  Fic K785s. A troubled youth with cerebral palsy struggles toward self-acceptance with the help of a drug-addicted young woman. 

Stuck in neutral: a novel / Terry Trueman.  2012. Fic T8667s. Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and cannot function, relates his perceptions of his life, his family, and his condition, especially as he believes his father is planning to kill him.

T4: a novel in verse / by Ann Clare LeZotte.  2008. Fic L6867t.  When the Nazi party takes control of Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula, who is deaf, finds her world-as-she-knows-it turned upside down, as she is taken into hiding to protect her from the new law nicknamed T4. 

View from Saturday / E.L. Konigsburg.  1996.  Fic K823v.  Four students, each with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition. 

Winning / Robin Brancato.  1977.  Fic B816w.  Paralyzed as a result of a football accident, a high school student struggles to accept the reality of his condition and the effect it will have on his friendships and his future.

Wonderstruck: a novel in words and pictures / Brian Selznick.  2011.  Fic S469w.   Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and there meets Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.

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