Books to Celebrate Differences


Different children have fun in different ways, learn in different ways and see the world in  different ways. These books feature these unique children. All are available to check out from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

board book

“I Like Berries, Do You?”
by Marjorie W. Pitzer
This board book is all about yummy, healthy food. In this book, photographs show young toddlers eating healthy fruits, vegetables and more. This board book features children with Down syndrome enjoying food and asking the reader if they enjoy the food, too. Share this book with your littlest ones while enjoying the foods featured.

I Like Berries
All covers provided by publishers.

picture books

“Meesha Makes Friends”
written and illustrated by Tom Percival
Meesha enjoys making things, but one thing she has trouble making is friends. Meesha can’t seem to pick up on social cues and feels discouraged. Once she connects her special talent with making friends, she gives it another go. This picture book is a great read-aloud book for children who find they don’t always pick up social cues others think they should.

Meesha Makes Friends
All covers provided by publishers.

“Can Bears Ski?”
by Raymond Antrobus, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Little Bear can feel the world around him, but something is missing. As his family and friends try to communicate with him, all he can hear is “can bears ski?” When Dad Bear takes him to an audiologist, they learn that Little Bear is experiencing deafness and will wear hearing aids, seen on the cover of this picture book. Now Little Bear can hear his friends and family, revealing that the question all along was “can you hear me?”

Can Bears Ski
All covers provided by publishers.

“Powwow Day”
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by
Madelyn Goodnight
River is attending a powwow, and she longs to dance. She’s recovering from an unnamed illness. As she watches on the sidelines, she is determined to participate the next time. This Native American story is filled with beautiful illustrations and traditions, and it includes additional information about the history of powwows.

Powwow Day
All covers provided by publishers.

“Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is OK!”
by Clay Morton and Gail Morton,
illustrated by Alex Merry
This nonfiction picture book is written from a perspective we don’t see very often in nonfiction books about autistic people. It is told from the point of view of the autistic child, who is confused by a neurotypical (NT) friend’s odd behavior. Johnny doesn’t act the way the narrator thinks he should, but that’s OK because he’s just NT! This work looks at how autistic children may view their friends and the world.

Why Johnny Doesnt Flap
All covers provided by publishers.


easy reader & chapter book

“Aven Green Sleuthing Machine”
by Dusti Bowling, illustrated by
Gina Perry
Third grader Aven Green is a detective and has been for a whole month. She’s got a knack for sleuthing, but can she solve two very important cases at the same time? With her great-grandma’s dog missing and her teacher’s lunch missing, Aven is on the case! This easy chapter book is filled with humor, mystery and black-and-white illustrations. Aven is determined to solve the cases, letting nothing stop her—not even her lack of arms! A cute series-opener features a fun character and hijinks.

Aven Green
All covers provided by publishers.


middle-grade books

“Marshmallow & Jordan”
by Alina Chau
Jordan was a basketball superstar until an accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. Now she’s feeling left out even when she’s surrounded by her teammates. When she befriends a magical elephant, Marshmallow, she begins to see that her athletic career may not be over. Jordan discovers water polo, the strength of her friendships and her own determination.

Marshmallow Jordan
All covers provided by publishers.

“The View from the Very Best House in Town”
by Meera Trehan
Sam and Asha have been friends forever. When Sam is accepted into a private school, these two autistic best friends find themselves drifting further apart. This middle-grade novel is filled with broken friendships, a mystery and a not-so-nice classmate. The story touches on not only ableism but classism as well. What makes this middle-grade novel unique is that it’s told from three points of view that include the house with the very best view.

View From Best House
All covers provided by publishers.

“Just Roll with It”
by Lee Durfey-Lavoie and Veronica Agarwal
Maggie is starting middle school not knowing anyone, but if she rolls the right number, everything will be OK right? Maggie’s anxiety and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) seem to rule her days. She doesn’t feel like she can make any decision, at school or at home, unless her 20-sided dice rolls the number she needs. This dependence gets her into some trouble and she needs to figure out a way to make things right. This middle-grade graphic novel is a realistic portrayal of what anxiety and OCD can do to a child. The ending isn’t perfect, but it’s hopeful!

Just Roll With It
All covers provided by publishers.

“I Am Not a Label:
34 Disabled Artists, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present”
by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Lauren Mark Baldo
This collection of short biographies features 34 disabled people from the past and present. Learn about people who used their differences to make it to the top of their field, whether it is art, sports, science and more. These tales will help motivate children to try their best no matter the obstacles standing in their way. Discover a nonfiction book to pick up and browse at your leisure to learn more about famous, and not-yet famous, people doing amazing things.

Not A Label
All covers provided by publishers.


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