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Books for The Early Years and the Primary Grades

A Rainbow of Friends

Friends come in all colours and sizes; they can be funny or serious, musical or athletic, outgoing or quiet. This book reminds children to celebrate their differences because that is what makes each of us so special.

  • Date: 2006
  • Author: P.K. Hallinan
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: Children
  • Topic: Celebrating differences

Anxious Annie

‘This positive and empowering book will help readers of all ages to understand the impact that anxiety, and particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder, can have on the lives of children and youth.’ –Lauren Humphreys, Ph.D.

  • Date: 2006
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Arnie and the New Kid

Top cat Arnie teases Philip because he is confined to a wheelchair. Yet when Arnie falls down the school steps and breaks a leg, twists a wrist, and sprains a tail, he begins to see life from a different perspective. With few books about mainstreaming available, this entertaining story should be welcome to early primary school educators.

  • Date: 2009
  • Author: Nancy L. Carlson
  • Publisher: Turtleback books
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: People with disabilities

Benjamin-Bob Can Do The Job

Benjamin-Bob Can Do the Job is a delightful story that challenges stereotypes. Benjamin-Bob is in many ways the same as everyone else in his community, except that he is much taller. As the local giant, he has been given the job of watching over the hills around his town to scare away bears and other potential predators. Benjamin-Bob feels stuck and decides that it’s time to break out of the role that has been set for him. This story follows Benjamin-Bob as he practices some of his other job skills, exceeding expectations and challenging stereotypes. People with disabilities often have limitations set upon them as well due to assumptions and stereotypes. However, it’s important to recognize and celebrate individual talents, strengths, knowledge, and achievements.

Brian's Bird

Brian is so excited when his parents buy him a pet bird. Everyone is amazed when he teaches it how to talk. When his pesky big brother leaves the door open though, the bird flies out. While Brian’s visual impairment plays a big part in the action of the story, it certainly isn’t the focus of this charming book.

  • Date: 2003
  • Author: Kevin Henkes
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Visual Impairment,difference education

Can't You Sit Still?

Ann, who has cerebral palsy, attends school for the first time. Students learn about cerebral palsy, especially about her wild right and her magic boots.

  • Date: 1992
  • Author: Sara Yates
  • Publisher: Gima B. Publishing
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Cerebral palsy

Dad and Me in the Morning

Early one morning a young boy wakes to his special alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aids and clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they brave the cold as they walk down the dirt road that leads to the beach.

  • Date: 1994
  • Author: Robert Steele
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Physical handicap,difference education

Daydreaming Dakota: The World's Greatest Daydreamer

‘Daydreaming Dakota, like all the others in the ‘We are Powerful’ series, embraces a lovely, supportive approach to assisting parents and other adults to help children find the positives in themselves, despite the challenges they face when dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.’ –Peter S. Jensen, MD, President and CEO, The REACH Institute

  • Date: 2008
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersChildren
  • Topic: Attention Deficit Disorder

Differences: A Coloring Book for Children

A colouring book designed to explore concepts of difference in a positive way, intended for young primary students.

Different is Just…Different!

Written by a teacher and mother of a child with down syndrome, ‘Different is Just…Different!’ is written in order to help all people celebrate their differences. Ideal for incorporation into a lesson plan centered on difference education/special needs.

Dinosaur Diego: The World's Smartest Dude

The story of a very smart young boy with Asperger’s syndrome, written from a first-person perspective.

  • Date: 2008
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Asperger's syndrome/autism

Don't Call Me Special

From the publisher: ‘This delightful picture book explores question and concerns about disability in a simple and resonating way. Younger children can find out what a disability is, and learn how people deal with their disabilities to live happy and full lives.’

  • Date: 2002
  • Author: Laurie Lears
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series Inc.
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents

Eager Eddy - The World's Most Active Dude!

From the publisher: “Eager Eddy is the story of a bright boy who is affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This book describes how Eddy experiences the joys and challenges in his everyday life. Eddy is gifted with enormous amounts of energy and others in his life have grown to love and enjoy his seemingly boundless source of energy and intelligence. Eddy takes you along and explains what his life is like at home and at school. A very exciting journey!”
This book adopts a positive tone end focuses on Eddy’s strengths. A great book with lively and colourful illustrations that children will enjoy.

  • Date: 2007
  • Publisher: Wildberry Publishing
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Felicia McCan

Felicia McCan is a delightful story that promotes diversity, inclusion, and acceptance. Felicia is the centre of attention at her new school. Her appearance and the unfamiliar tool she uses to read raise the interest of the other children. These differences quickly become accepted, and her charm, style, and unbounded energy stand out and win over the crowd. This story teaches young readers the importance of getting to know others rather than making quick judgments based on appearance. It teaches children to celebrate differences rather than focusing negatively on them.

Forgetful Frankie: The World's Greatest Rock Skipper

From the publisher: ‘While FASD has been receiving increased attention
lately, very little has been done to see life through the eyes of children afflicted by FASD. This heartwarming account of a child with FASD is an important book for children with FASD, as well as for Children in general.’

  • Date: 2009
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Publishing
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

I Like Myself!

From the publishers: ‘High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here’s a little girl who knows what really matters. At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont’s joyous rhyming text and David Catrow’s wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful – and straight from the heart.’

  • Date: 2004
  • Author: Karen Beaumont
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Social Issues - Self-Esteem and Self‑Reliance

I Will Teach You Everything You Need to Know

From the publisher: ‘A seven-year-old boy has a close relationship with his father. Their relationship changes after the father is spinal cord injured. The boy learns to support and help his father the way his father had always done for him.’

  • Date: 2009
  • Author: Steven Kirshblum
  • Publisher: Christopher & Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Physical disability,difference

I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem

From the publisher: ‘Celebrate liking yourself! Through alternating points of view, a girl’s and a boy’s, Jamie Lee Curtis’s triumphant text and Laura Cornell’s lively artwork show kids that the key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you. Like the duo’s first New York Times best-seller, Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, this is an inspired book to rejoice in and share. I’m Gonna Like Me will have kids letting off some self-esteem in no time!’

  • Author: Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Conduct of life,social situations-new experience,self-esteem and self‑reliance

I'm Smart in My Own Way

I’m Smart in My Own Way is a delightful story that celebrates potential and the fact that we all have different abilities and something to contribute. The main character, Bartley, struggles to get good grades in school. However, his powers of observation help him to observe the signs of an impending crisis. He also observes potential and possibility in a giant vine that encroaches his town.

  • Author: Carolyn MacDiarmid
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: Elementary School Students
  • Topic: Differences portrayed in a positive way,Learning disabilities
  • Source: https://www.ccrw.org/childrensbooks/

Ian's Walk

From the publisher: ‘Julie can’t wait to go to the park. But she’s not sure she wants to take her little brother, Ian, who has autism. Ian does things differently. At the local diner, he doesn’t care about the sandwiches and ice cream. Instead, he wants to watch the ceiling fan slowly turn. At the park, he doesn’t like the tickle of a soft feather, but he loves to lie down and press his cheek against the hard sidewalk.’

  • Date: 1998
  • Author: Laurie Lears
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Autism

It's Okay To Be Different

From the publisher: ‘It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence.’

  • Date: 1998
  • Author: Todd Parr
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Social issues: Individuality,self‑esteem,self‑reliance

Kevin's Story

Kevin exhibits reading problems and is referred for testing with a psychologist who explains reading and learning disabilities to him and his family.

  • Date: 1984
  • Author: Dvora Livingston, Ph. D.
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Dyslexia

Lemon the Duck

From the publisher: ‘Ms. Lake and her class have tended to an egg-hatching project for the past month and are eager to welcome four ducklings into the world. But the students soon realize that the soft little one they’ve named Lemon is different from the other hatchlings. She looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but she can’t stand or walk like a duck. How can Lemon ever be happy if she can’t do all the things ducks love to do? Through working with Lemon, the students learn that acceptance, love, and extra special care can go a long way. They also come to understand that her difference doesn’t make Lemon any less special.’ http://www.powells.com/biblio/2-9781897550250-3

  • Date: 1984
  • Author: Laura Backman
  • Publisher: Lobster Press
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: School and Education,difference

Let's Talk About Being in a Wheelchair

From the publisher: This book discusses the different reasons people use wheelchairs as well as how they work and how to use one for the first time. Whether the student is faced with this challenge or knows someone who is, this inspiring book will offer new insight into a common situation.

  • Date: 2003
  • Author: Melanie Ann Apel
  • Publisher: PowerKids Press
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Physical Impairments,special needs,diet and personal health

My Friend Isabelle

Publisher’s comments: ‘A heartwarming story of two friends, Charlie and Isabelle, a typical child and a child with Down syndrome. Charlie tells about the things they both like to do together, and also how he and Isabelle are different. Lively full-color illustrations dovetail beautifully with the text to bring this simple story to life. Encourages readers to think about what makes friendships special and how our differences can make the world more interesting.’

  • Date: 2003
  • Author: Eliza Woloson
  • Publisher: Woodbine House
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: People with disabilities,down syndrome,individuality

Quite Quiet Hannah

Quite Quiet Hannah describes the struggles and triumphs of a young girl with dyslexia. The book presents an empowering example of how disabilities like dyslexia can be portrayed in terms of what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

  • Date: 2010
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: Teachers, StudentsParents
  • Topic: Dyslexia

Rainbows in the Dark

From the publisher: ‘Abbie is bored while waiting for her mother to finish her shopping. That is, until she meets Joanna and her guide dog, Charlie. Though he is great at helping Joanna to ‘see’, Charlie can’t help with choosing a special outfit for an important and mysterious event. When Abbie saves the day, she also discovers that wishing for rainbows can be magical.’

  • Date: 2003
  • Author: Jan Coates and Alice Priestly
  • Publisher: Second Story Press
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Blindness

Rick Hansen: Canadian Hero

An introduction to the inspiration life and work of Canadian hero Rick Hansen on behalf of disabled persons. An excellent resource for use in combination with the Rick Hansen School Program series.

  • Date: 2005
  • Author: Edward O'Connor
  • Publisher: Pearson Education Canada
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Biography

Russ and the Almost Perfect Day

This is just one in a series of lovely stories about the adventures of Russ. In this one, Russ is having an unbelievably amazing day. It seems nothing could go wrong, until he is faced with a challenging decision that could impact others in a big way. Through the book’s photographs, we learn that Russ, an energetic and popular young boy, has Down syndrome.

  • Date: 2002
  • Author: Janet Elisabeth Rickert
  • Publisher: Woodbine House
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Children with disabilities,down syndrome,special needs education

Sad, Sad Seth: The World's Greatest Writer

‘Childhood depression is a highly prevalent and impairing condition for young people. At times, children and their families are at a loss to understand depression and its deleterious effects. Sad Sad Seth is a much needed resource and adds to the educational materials on childhood depression.’ Robert D. Friedberg, Ph.D.

  • Date: 2011
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Depression

Seal Surfer

From the publisher: A boy and his grandfather watch as a baby seal is born on the rocks near their home and from that day a special friendship is created between them. Despite his disability, the boy is a keen surfer, and he enjoys many afternoons surfing with the seals. One day, however, he gets into trouble in rough seas, and the young seal saves him. Their friendship brings happiness and meaning at the important stages of the boy’s life.

  • Date: 2007
  • Author: Michael Foreman
  • Publisher: Andersen Press
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Disability,difference,ableism

Special People, Special Ways

Publisher’s note: ‘Presenting a positive image of persons with disabilities, “Special People, Special Ways” shares the message that even though being different is painful at times, it can also be glorious. Maguire explains that although people may have something different about them, they share many similarities. Illustrations.’

  • Date: 2000
  • Author: Sheila Bailey, Arlene Maguire
  • Publisher: Future Horizons
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Children with disabilities,special needs education

Susan Laughs

Publisher’s note: ‘Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of activities, from swimming to riding a horse. It’s not until the end of the story that readers learn Susan uses a wheelchair. Color illustrations.’

  • Date: 2000
  • Author: Jeanne Willis
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: People with disabilities,special need,physical handicap

The Black Book of Colours

Publisher’s description: ‘Our eyes tell us about colour. But what if you are blind? Can you still know colours? Using simple language and beautiful textured art, this book shows you how to ‘see’ without your eyes. The pages are black, but using your imagination and your senses you can hear, smell, touch and taste colours!’

  • Author: Menena Cottin
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: disability,visual impairment

The Chick and the Duckling

Publisher’s note: As Duckling sets off to explore the world, Chick is close behind, mimicking each of his actions with a perky “Me too.” But when Duckling decides to go for a swim, his friend is in for a surprise. This charming tale, with brightly colored illustrations by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey, will delight small children who are also discovering the world around them.

  • Date: 1988
  • Author: Mirra Ginsburg
  • Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Difference,inclusion

The Patch

From the publisher: ’ The kids at school want to know why Becca is wearing glasses and a patch. Instead of telling them she has amblyopia, Becca leads her friends on imaginative adventures to explain her new fashion accessory. Illustrations.’

  • Date: 2006
  • Author: Justina Chen Headley
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Eye glasses,self acceptance,difference

Ticcing Thomas: The World's Fastest Arm Flapper

‘Ticcing Thomas is an exceptional opportunity for teachers to raise the consciousness levels of their students, for parents to help shape their children into more tolerant and informed grownups, and for kids to discover new kinds of diversity and uniqueness in their peers.’ –Rosie Wartecker, ED, Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada

  • Date: 2009
  • Author: Jill Bobula and Katherine Bobula
  • Publisher: Wildberry Productions
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Tourette syndrome

What I Like About Me!: A Book Celebrating Differences

From the publisher: ‘The kids in What I Like About Me, are as different as night and day. And, guess what? They love it. Some adore the fact that their braces dazzle and gleam, others feel distinguished when they wear their glasses. Still others wouldn’t trade their big feet for a lifetime of free video games. This fun-loving book, with a mirror included on the last page, proves to kids that, in a world where fitting in is the norm, being different is what makes us special.’

  • Date: 2005
  • Author: Allia Zobel-Nolan
  • Publisher: Reader's Digest Children's Books
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Difference,inclusion

Whoever You Are

From the publishers: ‘Every day all over the world, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. They may not speak the same language. Their lives may be quite different. But inside, they are all alike.’

  • Date: 2001
  • Author: Mem Fox
  • Publisher: Houghtin Mifflin Harcourt
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Individuality,people and places,ethnicity,difference

Zoom!

A little girl named Lauretta once asked Robert Munsch, ‘“Could you Please write a story about a little girl who walks with crutches and uses a wheelchair?” This book is his answer.

  • Date: 2003
  • Author: Robert Munsch
  • Publisher: Scholastic Canada
  • Format: Book
  • Audience: TeachersStudents
  • Topic: Difference,disability
  • Source: http://robertmunsch.com/book/zoom