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Characters with disabilities?


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Initial post: Sep 17, 2008 10:43:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 17, 2008 12:20:40 PM PDT
Mary Kate says:
I just finished FarWorld, a new book by J. Scott Savage. (I enjoyed it, by the way.) The hero, Marcus, has a physical disability and while reading, I thought of how seldom I come across characters with disabilities in fiction - particularly the central character.

And now I'm curious... Can anyone suggest more books featuring a character with a disability (of any kind)? I'm sure there are many and would appreciate being pointed toward some. I'm most interested in children's or young adult fiction where the disability is not the focus of the story - just one characteristic of the person.

Thank you!

Note: I posted this same question in the young adult forums.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 7:17:31 PM PDT
K. Foucher says:
I have not yet read but know of a book called Tm 3000 where one of the main characters is in a wheelchair. It is available on Amazon and you can read more about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 7:41:31 PM PDT
A. Quinn says:
Educating Esme

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 9:54:02 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 11, 2012 4:37:10 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2008 8:19:42 AM PDT
PlainJayne says:
Try the Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos. Joey has ADHD, it the stories remind me so much of my own students who struggle with that disability.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2008 1:30:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2008 1:35:32 PM PDT
R. Perkins says:
"Freak the Mighty"...it was made into a movie called the Mighty. It is about the friendship between a big kid everyone thinks is stupid, and a smart, small kid with some physical disabilities. A tear jerker, but a wonderful little novel.

There is another book called "The Raging Quiet" which is set in the past (might be slightly fantasy, but no big fantasy elements, maybe just the setting). A strange young man comes to town and everyone thinks he is possessed or crazy until one young woman figures out he is just deaf. This is a YA book and kind of a romance, but I thought the depiction of how a deaf person would have been perceived in the past and the wonderful way the two main characters learned to communicate was really well done.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2008 5:21:51 PM PDT
Try _The Warrior's Apprentice_ and the other's in the series by Lois Mcmaster Bujold. Miles is stunted, has brittle bones, massive allergies, is VERY hyperactive, and still manages to suceed.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2008 6:27:13 PM PDT
M. Anderson says:
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Diary of Bess Brennan ~ Barry Dennenburg
Part of the "Dear America" series. The main characters are a pair of twins, one of whom is blind and attending a school for the blind during the 1930s.

Stuck in Neutral ~ Terry Trueman
Several of Trueman's books have to do with a family with a son who is disabled to the point where he cannot communicate or move on his own--his family considers him to be a vegetable. "Stuck in Neutral," takes place inside the son's mind, which is probably why it is my favorite of those books.

Ghost Boy ~ Ian Lawrence
The protagonist doesn't have a handicap, but he is albino, and in his town, he is definitely considered an outcast for that. He runs away to join the circus and befriends the "freaks," but his skin tone allows him to straddle the fence between "normal" and "abnormal." An interesting read, but I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for.

Eva ~ Peter Dickenson
This might be a long shot from what you're talking about, but a girl who was in a horrific accident is saved by having her brain transplanted into that of a chimp, so she has to learn how to deal with her new body and her changing concept of "self."

The Last Universe ~ William Sleator
The mysterious garden in the back yard holds a dark secret...and possibly the path to salvation for her brother, who is suffering from a strange, debilitating disease. It's more SF than fantasy, but it's still an excellent book.

Flowers for Algernon ~ Daniel Keyes
I'm not sure if this is actually considered YA or not, but I do remember reading it in class in 8th grade. The main char is a mentally handicapped young man who befriends Algernon, a lab rat. When offered the chance, the man takes it--with surprising results.

Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head that (as of when I started) no one else had mentioned...good luck~!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 7:55:21 AM PDT
Jennifer says:
There's a great picture book called Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis. You don't find out until the end of the book that Susan is in a wheelchair.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 9:57:53 AM PDT
Uncle Melvin by Daniel Pinkwater - picture book about a kid visiting his sweet, mentally ill uncle

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S Wilce - amazingly good YA fantasy. Flora's dad has PTSD or some kind of psych problem & a drinking problem. I really liked how Flora reacted both positively & negatively to him.

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages - a girl whose father is working at Los Alamos has 1 leg shorter than the other & can't run. Book is about her friendship with a tomboy girl.

I totally second the recommendation for The Warrior's Apprentice. It's one of my favourite books (as is Flora Segunda).

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 11:38:02 AM PDT
Lilycloud says:
In percy Jackson and the olympians he has ADHD and Dyslexia.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 1:29:25 PM PDT
Jp Padilla says:
Hello there, my book JOHNNY BIG EARS, the FEEL GOOD FRIEND doesn't deal with disabilities but it does offer good advise and words to make kids feel good about themselves. It talks about ones looks and it also deals with teasing and bullying and how a kindergartner kid, JOHNNY BIG EARS deals with it as he goes to school for the fist time and teaches other kids to accept themselves no matter how they look on the outside. I can tell you wonders about it but if you are interested please feel free to read my reviews instead posted on amazon.com and you can see its a great book for kids to develope skills in being more confident and feel special just being who they are! thanks and best of luck :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 1:29:28 PM PDT
Jp Padilla says:
Hello there, my book JOHNNY BIG EARS, the FEEL GOOD FRIEND doesn't deal with disabilities but it does offer good advise and words to make kids feel good about themselves. It talks about ones looks and it also deals with teasing and bullying and how a kindergartner kid, JOHNNY BIG EARS deals with it as he goes to school for the fist time and teaches other kids to accept themselves no matter how they look on the outside. I can tell you wonders about it but if you are interested please feel free to read my reviews instead posted on amazon.com and you can see its a great book for kids to develope skills in being more confident and feel special just being who they are! thanks and best of luck :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 6:02:31 PM PDT
CC says:
Try the Don't Give Up Kid and Learning Differences by Jeanne Gehret. My students love it...it is told from a boy's perspective that has difficulties learning to read...and how he comes to terms with it. C. C.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 9:10:24 PM PDT
Boric says:
Warrior Scarlet by Rosemary Sutcliff and The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli - these are both historical fiction. And there's The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 9:16:09 PM PDT
CLM says:
I recommend Mine for Keeps/Jean Little (the heroine has cerebral palsy, and has just returned home from a special school and must learn how to cope) and Light a Single Candle/Bevery Butler (blind heroine). There is also the famous Karen by Marie Killilea.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 9:43:15 PM PDT
K. Hobbins says:
I'm not sure how old you are, but two adult fiction novels I've read within the past year are "Icy Sparks" about a girl with Tourette's Syndrome, and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" about a boy with autism. Both were wonderful books that I had a hard time putting down. The characters were so endearing, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2008 10:24:26 PM PDT
One of the main characters is blind in A Slip In Time: The Book Of Eventide.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2008 9:59:00 PM PDT
waagbuck says:
The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, by Dori Jones Yang, is a really good, moving story. The main character is diagnosed with the social anxiety disorder called selective mutism. Published by American Girl.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 12:11:32 AM PDT
Boric says:
Since my first post I've read another new book, Thornspell by Helen Lowe, where one of the main characters is mute. It's very cool, especially as the character (Rue) is such a strong and positive character.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 3:45:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2008 3:48:00 AM PDT
Lyranel's Song, by Leslie Carmichael is a good fantasy about a girl with a physical disability, and my book, Knowing Joseph, about a boy with autism, from the perspective of his brother is a great one for the classroom. Also RULES, by Cynthia Lord is an award-winning book with a boy with autism and another boy with CP as significant characters in the story.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 5:40:17 AM PDT
DMC says:
Hi Mary Kate:
Switcher by Diane Mayer Christiansen is a book about kids who don't fit in. The author has a learning dissability (dyslexia) and the message in her books is about embracing what makes you different. Check it out!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 6:48:34 PM PDT
Wayward says:
Treasure of Green Knowe has a character with a disability. Not really central, but she's important. :-)

There are of course, lots of books about Annie Sullivan (tutor and close friend of Helen Keller) and HK herself. Annie was blind, had her vision restored and then later went blind again.

There's also Summer of the Swans. And Deenie.

Ugly is the story of an Ugly Duckling. And then there are some Dick King-Smith books that revolve around the idea of being "different". Not necessarilly disabilities. Talking pig, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 7:35:33 PM PDT
Melissa says:
If you go to http://www.dddcec.org/secondarypages/dollygray/Dolly_Gray_Children's_Literature_Award.html, you can find a lot of books with characters with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism, Asperger syndrome, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities). The Dolly Gray Award started in 2000 and is given to fictional or autobiographical picture and chapter books that portray individuals with developmental disabilities.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 7, 2008 7:42:10 AM PDT
MOwoman says:
Dad, Jackie and Me by Uhlberg is a picture book and Hurt Go Happy by Rorby have deaf charactures. The 1st is a picture book, and the 2nd would be for 6th graders and up. Million Dollar Putt by Gutman is about a blind boy. It is about 4th grade reading level. All are very interesting
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  32
Total posts:  36
Initial post:  Sep 17, 2008
Latest post:  Nov 10, 2012

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