JDAIM Book List 2024

Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month

Leo Baeck Library Book List

Title Description
Arnie and the New Kid by Nancy Carlson When an accident requires Arnie to use crutches, he begins to understand the limits and possibilities of his new classmate, who has a wheelchair.
Look Up! By Jung Jin-Ho When a girl in a wheelchair calls to people far below to look up and see her, one finds a way to brighten her day.
Jeremy’s Dreidel by Ellie Gellman Jeremy signs up for a Hanukkah workshop to make unusual dreidels and creates a clay dreidel with braille dots for his dad, who is blind.
The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination by Jimmy Liao A young woman losing her vision rides the subway with her dog in search of emotional healing.
Clifford the Big Red Dog: A Special Friend by Liz Mills Canine pals Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo do not know how to act when they first meet their new friend K.C. because he has only three legs, but they later learn that he is just like them.
It’s Ok to be Me: Just Like you, I can do Almost Anything! By Jennifer Moore-Mallinos The story of a child in a wheelchair who explains how he can do almost anything that other children can do.
Thank you Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.
The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw by Kaethe Zemach Dudley Ellington struggles to learn anything at school, but when his very patient teacher, Mrs. McGraw, is unable to draw a face on the board, he helps her figure out how to do it.
The Hickory Chair (Mature) by Lisa Rowe Fraustino A blind boy tells of his warm relationship with his grandmother and the gift she left for him after her death.
Beethoven Lives Upstairs (Mature) by Barbara Nichol Correspondence between a young boy and his music-student uncle chronicles the upheaval in Christoph’s household caused by the arrival of an eccentric, difficult, and deaf composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, the new upstair’s tenant.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete A girl tells what it is like living with her twin brother who has autism and sometimes finds it hard to communicate with words, but who, in most ways, is just like any other boy.
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

There is a lesson plan in Matan Grades K-2 that goes with this book – see below)

Red‘s factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.
Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved Violin by Tracy Newman Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Despite enormous obstacles—including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life—Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show at only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. 
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr It’s okay to be a different color. It’s okay to dance by yourself. It’s okay to ride in a wheelchair. It’s okay to wear glasses. It’s okay to have a pet worm…. It’s okay to be different!
Kooper’s Tale by Donna Carol Koffman Kooper’s Tale is about how a brilliant yellow Labrador called Kooper became a service dog and transformed the life of a young autistic boy named Reese by helping him navigate through life more safely.
Different Kinds of Special by Donna Carol Koffman This is a story to help readers understand the challenges that non-verbal and differently-abled people face, and the importance of overcoming the discomfort people may feel when communicating with them.
It’s Hard not to Stare by David C. Onley It’s Hard Not to Stare encourages children to look at their world through the lens of compassion and understanding, rather than assumption, judgment or fear. 



Title Description
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling After navigating middle school, ninth-grader Aven, born without arms, struggles with the challenges of high school, which test her confidence, strength, and sense of self.
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Ten-year-old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.
Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper Considered by many to be mentally disabled, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.
Left Out by Tim Green All Landon Dorch has ever wanted is to be like everyone else. His deafness and the way he talks have been obstacles all his life. But now he finally sees his chance to fit in. Bigger and taller than any other seventh grader in his new school, Landon plans to use his size to his advantage and join the school’s football team. But the same speech problems and the cochlear implants that help him hear continue to haunt him. Just when it looks like Landon will be left out of football for good, an unlikely friend comes along. But in the end only Landon can fight his way off the bench and through a crowded field of bullies bent on seeing him forever left out
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
Rules by Cynthia Lord Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with a young paraplegic.
Deaf Child Crossing by Marlee Matlin Despite the fact that Megan is deaf and Cindy can hear, the two girls become friends when Cindy moves into Megan’s neighborhood, but when they go away to camp, their friendship is put to the test.
El Deafo (Graphic) by Cece Bell Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher.
Waiting for Sarah by Bruce McBay After teenager Mike Scott loses his family and his legs in a car accident, he withdraws until he meets the mysterious Sarah, a girl who is not what she seems.
Up for Air by Lori Morrison Learning disabilities make school painful for Annabelle, thirteen, but a summer of swimming with the high school team is fantastic until a prank goes wrong, spoiling everything
I Funny (series) by James Patterson Resolving to become the world’s greatest stand-up comedian despite less-than-funny challenges in his life, wheelchair-bound middle school student Jamie Grimm endures bullying from his mean-spirited cousin and hopes he will be fairly judged when he enters a local comedy contest.
Fleabrain Loves Frannie by Joanne Rocklin In early 1950s Pittsburgh, Franny, a young girl of imagination, curiosity, and stubbornness, begins a correspondence with a flea named Fleabrain while recovering from polio.
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar When his wealthy uncle, a champion bridge player who has lost his vision, asks seventeen-year-old Alton to be a cardturner for him, Alton has no idea how much he will ultimately learn from his eccentric relative. Includes appendix by Syd Fox with information about bridge.
Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno Since her father’s death, Cora, twelve, longs for a permanent home for herself, her special-needs sister, and their mother while navigating middle school and studying trees using her father’s field notes.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year-old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City, and meets there Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben’s story is told in words; Rose’s in pictures.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.
My Life as a Cartoonist by Janet Tashjian Twelve-year-old Derek wants to train his pet monkey, who is going to be a service animal, to help Umberto, a new student who uses a wheelchair, but Umberto would rather steal Derek’s cartoon ideas.
Save me a Seat by Sarah Weeks Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.
Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt Ally’s greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn’t know how to read
Knees: The Mixed up World of a Boy with Dyslexia by Vanita Oelschlager A boy talks about living with dyslexia
Double Dutch by Sharon Draper Three eighth-grade friends, preparing for the International Double Dutch Championship jump rope competition in their home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, cope with Randy’s missing father, Delia’s inability to read, and Yo Yo’s encounter with the class bullies.
Looking for X by Deborah Ellis When Khyber’s mother decides to move her autistic brother into a special home and her homeless friend goes missing, Khyber’s special world is suddenly turned upside down.
Al Capone does my Shirts by by Gennifer Choldenko A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana Arnold When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter. Bat, who has autism, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently
Catch that Pass by Matt Christopher Everyone knows Jim will be the star linebacker on the team if he can only conquer his fear of being tackled, but it takes a boy in a wheelchair to teach him that kind of courage.
Lisa and the Lacemaker by Kathy Hoopman


As Lisa learns more about lacemaking and the lacemaker her great-aunt Hannah knew, she uncovers a secret about Hannah and grows in understanding about her own Asperger’s Syndrome.



Title Description
Boy in Motion: Rick Hansen’s Story by Ainslie Manson The story of an active boy who ends up spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille by Russell Freedman Invented Braille
Ray Charles by Sharon Mathis A biography of the African American musician who became famous despite his blindness.
Paralympic Sports Events by Robin Johnson
Jim Abbott: Against All Odds by Ellen Emerson A biography of the one-handed pitcher for the California Angels baseball team.
Jean Driscoll: Dream Big, Work Hard! By Michael Sandler About a wheelchair racer who overcame many setbacks.
All About Stephen Hawking by Chris Edwards A biography of Stephen Hawking who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of twenty-one who overcame that challenge to become an expert on the origin of the universe and black holes.
Emily Included: A True Story by Kathleen McDonnell Emily Eaton was born with severe cerebral palsy. Denied access to classes at her local school, she and her parents challenged the local board of education for her right to be educated with non-disabled children in a regular classroom. Her case took years and went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in the late nineties and is considered an important step in the fight for inclusive education for both physically and mentally challenged people. Emily went on to graduate from high school, proving the skeptics wrong. Emily’s fight to be treated like a “normal”, everyday kid in a regular classroom, at a time when children with CP were segregated, was groundbreaking.
Who was Helen Keller by Gare Thompson

A Girl Named Helen: The True Story of Helen Keller by Bonnie Bader

Helen Keller by George Sullivan

Helen Keller: Courage in Darkness by Emma Berne

The World at her Fingertips: The Story of Helen Keller by Joan Dash

Helen Keller: A Determined Life by Elizabeth MacLeod

I am Helen Keller by Brad Meltzer

Both blind and deaf before the age of two, Helen Keller’s story is one of courage, perseverance, and inspiration.
Ugly Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs, but he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life. This is the true story of how he embraced his circumstances and never let his “ugly” stop him from focusing on what truly mattered
The Jacob Stories by Jill Hertzman Stories about a disabled boy named Jacob.
Hero of Lesser Causes by Julie Johnston In 1946 twelve-year-old Keely is devastated when her older brother Patrick is paralyzed by polio, and she starts a campaign to reawaken his waning interest in life.
See Me for Me by Dana Geall

See Me for Me is inspired by triplets, Taylor, Cole, and Brody, who were born prematurely, and as a result have cerebral palsy. All three children use wheelchairs and live full and happy lives.


by: Rabbi Noam Katz, Dean of Jewish Living

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