Book descriptions taken from the editorial blurb where possible. For more details and options to buy, please use the hyperlinks below each entry.


I see things differently, P Thomas (2014)

Psychotherapist and counsellor Pat Thomas puts her gentle, yet straightforward approach to work in this new addition to Barron s highly acclaimed A First Look At…Series. This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it. A wonderful catalyst for discussion that will help children to better understand and support autistic classmates or siblings. The story line is simple and easily accessible to younger children, who will learn that exploring the personal feelings around social issues is a first step in dealing with them.

Different like me, J Elder (2005)

Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.

Autism is…  Ymkje Wideman-van der Laanm (2012)

Logan overhears his grandma tell her friend he has autism, and he asks her: “Autism is…?” She explains it to him in this beautifully illustrated story.

All my stripes S Rudolph & D Royer (2015)

In All My Stripes, Zane the zebra feels different from the rest of his classmates. He worries that all they notice about him is his “autism stripe.” With the help of his Mama, Zane comes to appreciate all his stripes – the unique strengths that make him who he is!

When my worries get too big Kari Dunn Buron (2013)

Now with a special section on evidence-based teaching activities for parents and teachers alike, this bestselling children s classic just became even better and more relevant. Engaging and easy to read, this illustrated children’s book is filled with opportunities for children to participate in developing their own self-calming strategies. Children who use the simple strategies in this charming book, illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to focus on work or play!


Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets (Adventures of Everyday Geniuses) B Esham (2015)

David’s teacher asks for a parent conference when David’s behaviour distracts the rest of the class. David, however, comes up with his own wiggle fidget cures that he shares at the meeting, combining creativity and practicality that just may help others with the wiggle fidgets. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.

Shelley the hyperactive Turtle D Moss (2006)

Focusing on AD/HD, this children’s book follows Shelley through some bumpy times at school, on the bus, and with other kids. His worried mother takes him to the doctor, where she and Shelley answer questions about his behaviour, and he plays with puzzles and blocks – activities that a child would typically experience during an AD/HD evaluation.


Strong and Mighty Max K Gray (2016)

Strong and Mighty Max is just like any other child his age, apart from his shorter limbs. He explains how the doctor first told his parents that he was born with achondroplasia and what this actually means. This beautifully illustrated book encourages children to celebrate that each one of us is unique and different in some way. It encourages people to not focus on outward appearances, but to look at the heart. We can all dream big, and, just like Max, your life can be a great adventure. Aimed at 0-7 year olds.


Worries go away K Gray and L Wildish (2015)

When a little girl feels worried she goes into a world of her own. At first the world is full of cream cakes and cola but soon the worries begin to take hold… Only her family and friends can help.

Down’s syndrome

I love you Natty H and M Goleniowska (2014)

Mia, now 10, became a big sister at the age of two. Her parents sought for a bright and modern sibling support book that would explain why her baby sister needed to spend some time in hospital and why she needed a little extra support. Several years on and Mia began leaving notes and poems for Natty. Mum Hayley collected them and they became the basis for Mia’s first book, together with the family’s snap shots.


If you’re so smart why can’t you spell Mississippi? B Esham (2016)

Lovely book to reassure dyslexics everywhere that just because they can’t spell, doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent.

It’s called Dyslexia J Moore-Mallinos (2007)

When we read this book with our 10 yr old Son, he smiled. It made him feel relaxed knowing that he wasn’t the only one experiencing problems with words and reading and, with lots of work and practice he can learn how to listen, read, and write without so much difficulty.
A welcome relief for him from the pressure and worry of everyday school life now that he knows he has Dyslexia, it’s like a big weight lifted from his shoulders.

There are opportunities to discuss children’s reactions to difference in the picturebooks and stories used in class.

Some dogs do Jez Alborough (2011)

On the way to school one day, Sid is so full of happiness that he starts to fly. But no one believes him; dogs don’t fly. Poor Sid is miserable, until his dad lets him into an amazing secret: some dogs do!

A question to ask:

How did Sid feel when none of his classmates believed him when he told them he could fly?

Elmer David McKee (1964)

David McKee’s first book about Elmer turned this adorable patchwork elephant into a nursery favourite. Deservedly a modern classic, with over two million copies sold worldwide, Elmer’s subtle message, that it is ok to be different, resonates with children across the world.

A question to ask:

Why did Elmer cover up his colours?

Just Because Rebecca Elliot (2014)

‘My big sister Clemmie is my best friend. She can’t walk, talk, move around much, cook macaroni, pilot a plane, juggle or do algebra. I don’t know why she doesn’t do these things. Just because.’ Just Because tells of a brother’s love for his sister. He is so enthusiastic about just how loving and special she is, and delights in telling us about all the fun things they do together. Only as his tale unfolds does the reader begin to realise that his sister has special needs… and by then we just accept as he does all the wonderful things about her.

A question to ask:

Do you sometimes forget that someone might be different?

Sometimes Rebecca Elliott (2011)

Toby knows his sister Clemmie is very brave. When she has to go to hospital, they both have to help each other face their fears. Together they make hospital a much better place.

A question to ask:

Have you ever been to hospital?

Susan Laughs Jeanne Willis (2011)

Susan laughs, she sings, she flies, she swings. She’s good, she’s bad, she’s happy and she’s sad. In fact, Susan is just like everybody else, even though she is in a wheelchair.

A question to ask:

Can someone who uses a wheelchair do the same things as everyone else?

Books for older readers

Wonder RJ Palacio (2014)

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

A question to ask:

Why did Auggie get a prize?

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief Rick Riordan (2013)

I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

A question to ask:

Rick Riordan wrote this story for his son, who is dyslexic and has ADHD. What message do you think he was trying to send him?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J K Rowling (1997)

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Questions to ask:

Do the Durlseys bully Harry?

Why do they behave in the way they do towards him?

Should Harry have to change himself or hide who he really is in order to fit in?

The Goldfish Boy L Thompson (2017)

A story about finding friendship when you’re lonely – and hope when all you feel is fear. Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by crippling OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their business. Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour’s toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing. Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy’s disappearance – with the help of a brilliant cast of supporting characters.

A question to ask:

Do you remember a time when you were afraid?

The Bubble Boy S Foster (2016)

Eleven-year-old Joe can’t remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his ‘bubble’. But then someone new enters his world and changes it for ever.

THE BUBBLE BOY is the story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustrations, and looks – with superhero-style bravery, curiosity and hope – to a future without limits.

A question to ask:

What makes someone a super-hero?

Who let the gods out? M Evans (2017)

Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

A question to ask:

Do you know any children who look after a disabled brother or sister?


Hey Warrior A Book for Kids about Anxiety Karen Young

Kids can do amazing things with the right information. Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does and where the physical symptoms come from is a powerful step in turning anxiety around.

Anxiety explained, kids empowered.

Hole in the heart- Bringing up Beth Henny Beaumont (2016)

With stunning art and refreshing honesty, Henny describes how family life changed the moment the registrar told her and her husband that their daughter might have Down’s Syndrome. She knew that her life was over. How can this weak little baby, who would demand so much more from Henny than her other two children, and who would need an operation in order to survive, provoke such feelings of hatred and resentment? How can Henny learn to love her? And if she can’t trust her own reactions to Beth, how can she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about her condition?

My friend Suhana Shaila Abdullah (2014)

Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heart-warming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy. The girl finds that through her art, she can reach her special friend Suhana.

Websites with lists of books for you to choose from, featuring diverse authors and characters.


For supporting families

The label: A story for families Caroline White (2016)

Being a new parent is nerve-jangling enough as it is, but what happens if your baby is not what you were expecting? How do you deal with the conflicting feelings, a heart assailed by overwhelming love and overwhelming fear, guilt and anxiety as your expectations are rerouted?
This happened to Caroline White. So she pulled together her contrary emotions – the good, the bad and the ugly — and spun them into a poignant and uplifting fable, an inspiration for all new parents who find themselves stumbling along an unfamiliar and unanticipated path. Written with great honesty and love, The Label is anchored by a simple yet powerful central image, a metaphor for all that is limiting and prescriptive, and explores what happens when you let the label go and watch as your child blossoms into their best life untroubled by negative expectations.

Dyslexia friendly reading books

Barrington stoke books