This collection features titles that offer insight into disability, offering guidance for generating meaningful discussion about topics including blindness, deafness, autism spectrum disorder, physical disabilities, dyslexia, and Down syndrome.

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Self Discovery, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction, Disability, Animals

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Realistic Fiction, Disability, Parenting, Children's Literature

Lisa Graff’s Absolutely Almost (2014) is a middle-grade novel about self-acceptance and recognizing one’s own worth. The story follows 10-year-old Albie’s journey along this path. Albie has never been the best at anything, especially anything to do with school. He continually falls short of others’ expectations, especially his parents’. However, his new nanny, Calista, sees him differently—and gradually, she helps Albie discover his strengths and take pride in himself.Graff is an American writer who pens... Read Absolutely Almost Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Disability, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Sociology

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Disability, History: European

A sprawling historical novel, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, explores the overarching theme of lost and redeemed humanity during the waning days of World War II. Told in chapters that alternate between the lives of Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig, each section, or group of chapters, also alternates between these characters’ past lives and the unfolding siege of Saint-Malo by Allied forces in August 1944. Plot SummaryMarie-Laure grows up in Paris... Read All the Light We Cannot See Summary

Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction, Health / Medicine, Disability

A Mango-Shaped Space is a 2003 middle-grade novel by American author Wendy Mass. It tells the story of Mia Winchell, a 13-year-old girl living in Illinois in the early 2000s. Mia has a secret. She associates all letters and numbers with distinct colors, and when she hears sounds, she sees bursts of color across her field of vision. It turns out that Mia has synesthesia, an uncommon but harmless neurological condition where an individual’s senses... Read A Mango-Shaped Space Summary

Publication year 1931Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Identity: DisabilityTags Disability

At around 1,000 words, “A Man Who Had No Eyes” by American author MacKinlay Kantor (born Benjamin MacKinlay Kantor) can be considered an example of flash fiction. The short story was first published in The Monitor in 1931. It is one of Kantor’s early works of fiction and is markedly different from his later works of historical fiction, which earned him literary fame. Kantor was best known for his prolific novels, many of which are... Read A Man Who Had No Eyes Summary

Publication year 2024Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Disability

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Disability, Children's Literature

Nora Raleigh Baskin won the Schneider Family Book Award for the young adult novel Anything But Typical, published in 2009. Anything But Typical tells the first-person fictional story of a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Jason Blake struggles with adolescence in the same ways most 12-year-old boys do, but his disorder makes it more difficult for him to verbally express his experience. Instead, he turns to writing to share his inner world... Read Anything But Typical Summary

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Romance, Disability, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1977Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: FemininityTags Disability

“Average Waves in Unprotected Waters,” originally published in the February 28, 1977 edition of The New Yorker, is one of American author Anne Tyler’s most anthologized stories. Through the third-person-limited point of view of the protagonist, Bet Blevins, Tyler presents the story of a single mother on the day she intends to institutionalize her developmentally disabled son, Arnold. As Bet struggles to navigate her complex emotions regarding Arnold, the story explores themes of the conflicting... Read Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: DisabilityTags Disability, Social Justice, History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 2006Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Disability, Psychology, LGBTQ

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant is Daniel Tammet’s memoir and his first published book. In it, he recalls his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood leading up to the point in his life when he became independent with a partner and a career. Born on a Blue Day was a New York Times best seller following its publication in 2006.Tammet is, as identified in the subtitle, an autistic savant... Read Born on a Blue Day Summary

Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, Religion / Spirituality, Animals, Arts / Culture, Disability, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Boy of the Painted Cave is a 1996 middle-grade Historical Fiction novel by Justin Denzel set 18,000 years ago in prehistoric France. The novel is told in limited third person point of view and follows Tao, a 14-year-old boy with a disability, who longs to be a cave painter for his clan. Tao has difficulty walking with his right foot, and he compensates for this by using a spear as a crutch. The crutch allows... Read Boy of the Painted Cave Summary

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FamilyTags Romance, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Disability

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Disability

Publication year 2016Genre Play, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: DisabilityTags Play: Drama, Relationships, Disability, Drama / Tragedy, Poverty

Cost of Living, a play by Martyna Majok, premiered in 2016 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. It transferred to an off-Broadway theatre in 2017, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, and is slated to debut on Broadway in fall, 2022. The play was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and also won a 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. The title of the play refers not only to the monetary costs of... Read Cost of Living Summary

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature, Disability

Counting by 7s is Holly Goldberg Sloan's first middle-grade novel, published in 2013. A New York Times bestseller, this contemporary story draws upon themes relevant to Sloan's own life. The novel is set in present-day Bakersfield, California, which Sloan says is “emblematic of the characters,” in the sense that it is “often overlooked.”Plot SummaryThe novel's protagonist is 12-year-old Willow Chance, a “highly gifted” girl fascinated by the number seven, plants, and medicine. She knows she... Read Counting by 7s Summary

Publication year 1985Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Language, Relationships: FamilyTags Disability

Publication year 1964Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Self Discovery, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags Psychology, Education, Parenting, Disability

Publication year 2020Genre Anthology/Varied Collection, NonfictionTags Disability, Social Justice, Diversity

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Disability, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Gender, Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: Fathers, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Immigration, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness, Disability, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2014Genre Graphic Novel/Book, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Relationships: Friendship, Identity: DisabilityTags Humor, Disability, Children's Literature

El Deafo is a 2014 semi-autobiographical, graphic novel by American author and illustrator Cece Bell. Bell, who was born deaf, recounts her childhood in the format of a guide starring an anthropomorphic rabbit, “Cece.” The book endeavors to undermine negative representations of deafness by representing Cece’s difference as valid, even empowering, with the assistance of modern technology. Throughout the book, Cece occasionally assumes a superhero persona, “El Deafo.” El Deafo challenges common misconceptions about disabilities... Read El Deafo Summary

Publication year 1990Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Friendship, Identity: GenderTags Play: Drama, Gender / Feminism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Disability, LGBTQ, Modernism

Fefu and her Friends is a play by Cuban American playwright Maria Irene Fornés. It premiered in 1977 at the Relativity Media Lab, a small venue on New York’s Lower East Side. Set in 1935 New England, the play concerns a group of women who knew one another in college and gather for a reunion as adults. Within six months, Fefu was produced off-Broadway at the American Place Theatre, earning Fornés her second Obie Award... Read Fefu and Her Friends Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Gender, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Bullying, Disability, Children's Literature

Fish in a Tree is a 2015 middle-grade novel by American author Lynda Mullaly Hunt. It follows the story of a middle-school girl named Ally, who is artistically and mathematically talented but unable to read due to her dyslexia. Throughout Ally’s school career, she uses humor, misbehavior, and feigned sickness to distract from her learning difficulty, doing everything in her power to avoid writing and reading tasks. Ally’s struggles are magnified by the fact that... Read Fish in a Tree Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Relationships: Friendship, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Realistic Fiction, Disability

Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction, Bullying, Disability

Freak the Mighty tells the story of two boys—a slow-learning giant and a genius in a disabled body—who become friends, share adventures, and defend themselves against bullies and social rejection. Published in 1993, Freak the Mighty sold two million copies in nine languages, received multiple awards, and was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film, The Mighty, starring Sharon Stone, Kieran Culkin, Gillian Anderson, and Harry Dean Stanton. Max’s adventures continue in a sequel called Max... Read Freak the Mighty Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Sports, Realistic Fiction, Disability

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Class, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Romance, Humor, Health / Medicine, British Literature, Disability

SuperSummary Logo
Stephen King
Guide cover image
Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Class, Relationships: Mothers, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Disability, Identity: Mental Health, Identity: RaceTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Race / Racism, Disability, Health / Medicine

Publication year 1849Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Disability, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: ClassTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Classic Fiction, Gothic Literature, Bullying, Mental Illness, Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Disability

“Hop-Frog” (originally titled “Hop Frog; Or, the Eight Chained Ourang-Outangs”) is among the last short stories by American horror and fiction author Edgar Allan Poe. First published in The Flag of Our Union in 1849, “Hop-Frog” explores themes of revenge, “madness,” and dehumanization. Poe explores similar themes in another short story published several years earlier, “The Cask of Amontillado,” a tale of betrayal and vengeance. Such thematic elements recur often in Poe’s work, given that... Read Hop-Frog Summary

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Disability, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: GenderTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Disability, Drama / Tragedy, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: FamilyTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Diversity, Disability, Bullying

Publication year 1889Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Lyric Poem, Disability

Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Disability

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison is a personal memoir published in 2007. Like Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism and Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day, Robison’s memoir is a personal account of living with autism spectrum disorder. A New York Times best-seller, the book has subsequently been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, and German.Look Me in the Eye details Robison’s life growing... Read Look Me In The Eye Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Historical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Disability, Arts / Culture, American Literature

Lucky Broken Girl is a middle-grade historical novel by Ruth Behar. Main character Ruthie Mizrahi, an immigrant from Cuba, lives with her parents and brother in 1966 Queens. Together they try to quell their homesickness for Cuba while seeking new opportunities in America. When a car accident injures Ruthie, she becomes bedridden in a full body cast for over a year; during that time, challenges and fears she never anticipated give her a new perspective... Read Lucky Broken Girl Summary

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: DisabilityTags Realistic Fiction, Disability, Mental Illness, Grief / Death

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Romance, Disability, Bullying

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: DisabilityTags Drama / Tragedy, Health / Medicine, Disability, Grief / Death, Parenting

My Sister’s Keeper is a 2004 novel by bestselling author Jodi Picoult centered on the controversy of savior siblings. In the novel, Anna Fitzgerald fights for medical emancipation in order to have a choice in whether or not she will donate a kidney to her sister, Kate, who has leukemia. In 2009, the novel was adapted into a feature film released by New Line Cinema. The movie was directed by Nick Cassavetes and starred Cameron... Read My Sister's Keeper Summary

Publication year 1937Genre Novella, FictionTags Classic Fiction, American Literature, Disability

American author John Steinbeck published his novella Of Mice and Men in 1937. Despite its place in the classical canon, the novella is one of the most challenged books of the 21st century due to its depiction of violence and use of profane, racist language. The novella’s title is an allusion to Scottish poet Robert Burns’s 1785 poem “To a Mouse,” in which a farmer unwittingly and regrettably kills a mouse while plowing. Of Mice... Read Of Mice and Men Summary

Publication year 1997Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Society: Education, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: LanguageTags History: World, Disability

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Disability, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Art, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Realistic Fiction, Disability, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Music, Identity: DisabilityTags Children's Literature, Realistic Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Disability

Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind, based on her own experiences parenting a disabled child, is a New York Times Bestselling novel told from the first-person perspective of 10-year-old Melody Brooks. Melody is a fifth-grade girl who, due to cerebral palsy, is unable to communicate verbally and is wheelchair-bound. The struggles and prejudice that Melody encounters provide a more intimate and personal view of the lives of people with physical disabilities. Atheneum Books for Young... Read Out of My Mind Summary

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Disability

Paperboy by American author Vince Vawter explores themes of The Acceleration of the Civil Rights Movement, The Treatment of People With Speech Disorders, and Independence in Childhood through its singular voice. Published in 2013, Paperboy was a Newbery Medal Honor Book in 2014. Vawter, who worked for more than 40 years in the newspaper business, wrote Paperboy as a lightly fictionalized version of his own childhood, which contributes to the text’s authenticity. This guide references... Read Paperboy Summary

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Fantasy, Children's Literature, Action / Adventure, Disability, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Animals, American Literature

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is a middle grade novel by Jonathan Auxier originally published in 2011. The novel encompasses a variety of genres: fantasy, the heroic quest, and even some Dickensian orphan flourishes, for good measure. It was a BookPage Magazine Best Book of the year, an ABA New Voices selection (2011), and a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for science fiction and fantasy.This study guide references the edition published by Amulet... Read Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes Summary

SuperSummary Logo
Ben Mikaelsen
Guide cover image
Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Disability, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Historical Fiction, Disability, Mental Illness, Health / Medicine, Religion / Spirituality, Bullying, Post-War Era

Petey is middle grade novel written by Ben Mikaelsen and published in 1998. Mikaelsen is the author of 10 novels for young adults and the winner of several awards for his work. Petey is dedicated to and based on the life of Clyde Cothern, a Montana man with cerebral palsy who was misdiagnosed as intellectually disabled and confined to Montana State Hospital in the 1920s. Mikaelsen and Cothern shared a close personal friendship, and while... Read Petey Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Disability, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, Disability

Rain Reign is a work of middle-grade contemporary fiction written by American author Ann M. Martin and published in 2014. The novel was chosen for the 2014 New York Times Notable Children’s Books list. Martin is the original author of the best-selling Baby-Sitters Club series of books and has written over 100 books for young readers. She has received numerous awards over the course of her career, including the Newbery Medal in 2013 and a... Read Rain Reign Summary

Publication year 24Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Identity: Disability, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Gender / Feminism, Disability, Relationships

American author, educator, filmmaker, and civil rights activist Toni Cade Bambara published her short story “Raymond’s Run” in 1971. It first appeared in a collection edited by Bambara, Tales and Short Stories for Black Folks, and later in her first short story collection, Gorilla, My Love in 1972. During this time, Bambara became prominent in the contemporary Black women’s literature space, emerging as a notable writer and editor alongside contemporaries such as Toni Morrison and... Read Raymond's Run Summary

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Language, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Disability, Science / Nature, Technology, American Literature

Riddley Walker (1980) is a dystopian science fiction novel by Russell Hoban. The novel is famous for its use of a phonetic, idiosyncratic version of English, spoken by the characters who live in a post-apocalyptic society. Riddley Walker won numerous awards, including the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1981.Plot SummaryA young boy named Riddley Walker lives in Inland, the name given to the south of England 2,000 years after a nuclear war sent human... Read Riddley Walker Summary

Publication year 2002Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: MusicTags Disability

Riding the Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey is the New York Times bestselling author Rachel Simon’s 2002 memoir chronicling her experiences with her intellectually disabled sister, Beth. Over the course of a year, Simon rides the bus with Beth and writes about the journey. She learns to confront her own ignorance about her sister’s condition and forms a close bond with her. The book chronicles Rachel’s emotional and spiritual growth, as Rachel’s... Read Riding The Bus With My Sister Summary