Kids see the world around them through the books they read. For children with disabilities and special needs, very few books portray their world and experiences.  When they do, characters are often stereotyped as struggling, meek and agreeable.

Even for children without these differences, seeing disabilities and special needs portrayed realistically in children's literature can create empathy and understanding for others.

This Month's TVOParents Book Club explores books that deal with disabilities and special needs.  Are there enough books out there that portray special needs and disabilities, and what books have really broken barriers? 

This time our Book Club includes Author Christina Minaki, Canadian Children's Book News Editor Gillian O'Reilly and Kohai Educational Centre's Barbara Brown, who recommend great stories about and for special people.

Christina's Picks:

Waiting For No One

By Beverley Brenna

Red Deer Press, 2010

Accidents of Nature

By Harriet McBryde Johnson

Henry Holt, 2006

Willow and Twig

By Jean Little

Penguin, 2000


Christina's Works:

Zoe's Extraordinary Holiday Adventures

By Christina Minaki

Second Story Press, 2007

Read Christina's Article in the Canadian Children's Book News.


Barbara's Picks:

How To Talk To An Autistic Kid

By Daniel Stefanski

Free Spirit Publishing, 2011

Oh Brother!: Growing Up With a Special Needs Sibling

By Natalie Hale

Magination Press, 2004

Lisa and the Lacemake

By Kathy Hoopmann

Jessica Kingsley Publishing, 2002

Don't Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability

By Pat Thomas

Barron's Educational Series, 2005

Quite Quiet Hannah

By Jill and Katherine Bobula

Wildberry Productions, 2010

Eagle Eyes

By Jeanne Gehret M.A.

Verbal Images Press, 1995


Gillian's Picks:

The Black Book of Colours

By Menena Cottin

Groundwood Books, 2008

Little By Little: A Memoir

By Jean Little

Penguin, 1989

The Losers' Club

By John Lekich

Annick Press, 2002


Gillian's Works:

Great Number Rumble

By Gillian O'Reilly and Cora Lee

Annick Press, 2007


By Gillian O'Reilly

Annick Press, 2004


More Recommendations from Gillian:

Amazing Women Athletes

By Jill Bryant

Second Story Press, 2001

Forward Shakespeare!

By Jean Little

Orca Book Publishers, 2005

From Charlie's Point of View

By Richard Scrimger

Tundra Books, 2005

Lily and the Mixed Up Letters

By Deborah Hodge

Tundra Books, 2007

Mine For Keeps

By Jean Little

Puffin Canada, 1996

Sandbag Shuffle

By Kevin Marc Fournier

Thistledown Press, 2007

A Screaming Kind of Day

By Rachna Gilmour

Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1999

The Smart Princess and Other Deaf Tales

By The Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf

Second Story Press, 2006