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Picture Books Featuring Protagonists with Disabilities. October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, and while our kids might not be out on the job market yet, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to learn about people who might be different from them. #PictureBooks #ProtagonistsWithDisabilities #ChildrensBooks #NationalDisabilityEmploymentMonth

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, and while our kids might not be out on the job market yet, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to learn about people who might be different from them. Check out these six excellent picture books featuring protagonists with disabilities!

QUESTIONS AND FEELINGS ABOUT HAVING A DISABILITY BY LOUISE SPILSBURY (AUTHOR) AND XIMENA JERIA (ILLUSTRATOR)

Many children with a disability feel left out. How can you help address this issue? Written for both abled and disabiltied children, the “Questions and Feelings About” series is inclusive and accessible, using child-friendly text and examples to explore that very question. It includes a helpful section with advice, practical tips and activities for caregivers and teachers.

EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH BY LAURIE ANN THOMPSON (AUTHOR) AND SEAN QUALLS (ILLUSTRATOR)

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah’s inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel’s Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and eventually became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

Thompson’s lyrical prose and Qualls’s bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

THE GIRL WHO THOUGHT IN PICTURES: THE STORY OF DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN BY JULIA FINLEY MOSCA (AUTHOR) AND DANIEL RIELEY (ILLUSTRATOR)

If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in then there’s a name you should know. Meet Dr. Temple Grandin―one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes!

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events and even a note from Temple herself!

THE SEEING STICK BY JANE YOLEN (AUTHOR) AND DANIELA TERRAZZINI (ILLUSTRATOR)

The same story that captivated readers in 1977 is back in a stunning new edition! Hwei Min, the only daughter of the emperor of China, has been blind since birth. Her father offers a reward to anyone who can find a cure for the little girl. It seems that no one, from magicians to physicians, can help her. Then one day a wise old man with a mysterious seeing stick visits the princess. Will he be able to teach Hwei Min that there is more than one way to see the world?

ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP BY ANNETTE BAY PIMENTEL (AUTHOR), NABI ALI (ILLUSTRATOR) AND JENNIFER KEELAN-CHAFFINS (FOREWORD)

Experience the true story of lifelong activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and her participation in the Capitol Crawl in this inspiring auto-biographical picture book. This beautifully illustrated story includes a foreword from Jennifer and backmatter detailing her life and the history of the disability rights movement.

This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her.

Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change―even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but the way the world around her was built made it hard to do even simple things. Like going to school or eating lunch in the cafeteria.

Jennifer knew that everyone deserves a voice! When the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that would make public spaces much more accessible to people with disabilities, was proposed to Congress, Jennifer went to the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them and ensure the law would pass.

How did she do this? Without her wheelchair she climbed the steps of the Capitol building.

ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!

THE LITTLE KING AND HIS MARSHMALLOW KINGDOM BY LOUIS ROTELLA III (AUTHOR) AND MARK CHICKINELLI (ILLUSTRATOR)

King Louie the IV rules over Marshmallow Kingdom where the sun always shines and every meal is a picnic with yummy marshmallows for dessert. Follow King Louie as he helps his friends understand that even though he is unique and different, he still loves to do kid-like things!

Picture Books Featuring Protagonists with Disabilities. October is National Disability Employment Awareness month, and while our kids might not be out on the job market yet, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to learn about people who might be different from them. #PictureBooks #ProtagonistsWithDisabilities #ChildrensBooks #NationalDisabilityEmploymentMonth

Did we miss your favorite? Tweet us @CardinalRulePrs to share your favorite selections for National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

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Martina Rethman is an editorial intern with Cardinal Rule Press. She is currently a senior at Carnegie Mellon University.

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