Kids Books

A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World

Dorling Kindersley [in association with UNICEF]

Basing each section on particular rights of the child, the book looks at issues for children like housing, food and hunger, disability and disease, education, ideas and opinions, happiness and the future, religion, identity and refugees.

UNICEF, 2002
Available from some Oxfam shops, and through Dymocks or any good book store.

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Brave Mrs Koala

Robin Densley

Mrs Koala is gathering juicy leaves for her family when she falls from the tree. Suddenly she is helpless on the ground, unable to move, unable to scream. Mrs Koala's recovery is long and slow, bringing many changes to her family's life as well as her own.

Julia Farr Foundation, 1997
available through Julia Farr Foundation

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Cherry Pie

Gretel Killeen

This is the story of two girls. They look just like each other. They even share the same name, Cherry Pie. But one of the girls "walks funny" and is difficult to understand when she speaks. The two girls don't talk and play together until, with the help of one small puppy and a bit of magic dust, they become the best of friends.

Random House, 1999

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Don't Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability

Pat Thomas

Hodder Wayland, 2001
age: 5-8
disability topic: physical disabilities

This readable book simply explains issues related to physical disabilities in a way that is accessible to kids. It looks at how people of different ages can deal with a range of disabilities and live purposeful lives.

Good to read in small group context.

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A book for young people who have brothers or sisters with autism
by Fiona Bleach

The National Autistic Society, London 2001
Disability topic: children with autism, and their siblings

Clear, practical material to assist children and young people understand siblings with autism. Useful also for parents of children with autism, and for parents who want to try to explain autism to a young sibling.—A book that offers greater understanding, and thus  the chance of greater acceptance.

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Giraffes Can't Dance

Giles Andrae
Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

Gerald is not a good dancer. Every year he dreads the great Jungle Dance ... until one moonlit night he discovers that all he needs is a different song to dance to.

This is delightful, funny, touching and triumphant story in rhyme, written by the author after a trip to Kenya, where he was struck by the gracefulness of galloping giraffes. - 'I didn't expect such gangly creatures to move so beautifully. This led me to thinking that we can all do things which others don't expect us to. All we need is a little encouragement - just like Gerald.'

A story of encouragement for any child who feels inadequate or 'different', with beautiful colourful illustrations full of life and movement.

Orchard Books, 2000
Softcover $15.95
available all good bookstores

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Hudson HATES School

by Ella Hudson

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2011

Disability topic: dyslexia

Hudson is good at a lot of things, but spelling isn't one of them. In fact, having to do spelling tests is one of the many things he HATES about school. After another horrible day Hudson declares he will never go back to school. But one final very different test helps Hudson understand why he is special... and how he can learn to learn!

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Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism

Laurie Lears
Illustrated by Karen Ritz

Albert Whitman & Co. 1998
Disability topic: children with autism, and their siblings

Julie takes her brother Ian for a walk to the local park. Ian, who is autistic, proceeds to embarrass and anger her with his behaviour—making an ugly face as he smells flowers, sniffing a wall. Then he goes missing, causing Julie to try to figure out where Ian could be by thinking the way he thinks. In doing so she eventually finds him by a bell in the park. She then proceeds to let her brother walk home the way he wants.

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Lucy's Picture

Nicola Moon

disability topic: vision impairment

Lucy takes special care at school to design a tactile piece of artwork for her vision impaired Grandpa.

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Joyce Dunbar & Jane Ray

Orla is a young boy who lives in a bubble of silence. He is deaf to the sounds of the earth. But the magical Moonbird teaches him how to speak with his hands and listen with his eyes. A beautiful new world opens up to the joyful Orla. And eventually, through the help of the Moonbird's song, Orla's parents, the King and Queen, realize how blind and deaf they have been to all that their son could see and hear.

This beautifully written and illustrated fantasy story reminds us that those who are deaf can still speak with their hands and listen with their eyes.

Published by Random House
London, 2005
Softcover $17.95
Available all good bookstores

Disability topic: deafness and blindness
Suitable for ages 5-12


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My Friend Isabelle

Eliza Woloson
Illustrated by  Bryan Gough

Woodbine House, 2003
softcover $14.95
available through all good bookstores

disability topic: Down Syndrome
suitable for ages 3-7

Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They both like to draw dance, read, and play together. The difference between them is that Isabelle has Down Syndrome. But this doesn't matter to Charlie.

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Private and Confidential

Marion Ripley

When Laura gets her first letter from her new Australian pen friend she's delighted. She writes to Malcolm but doesn't receive a reply. Finally Malcolm's sister writes telling her that Malcolm has gone into hospital for an eye operation, as he's nearly completely blind. Laura decides to learn Braille so  she can send him a get-well card, Soon they are corresponding in Braille, making their letters private and confidential. Including an information spread about Braille and a Braille sample, this book shows children that having a disability should not be a barrier to friendship, and that communicating in a different way can be fun.

Published by Francis Lincoln Publishers 2005
Softcover $14.95
Available all good bookstores

Disability topic: deafness
Suitable for ages 5-12

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Thank-you Mr Falker

by Patricia Polacco

Publisher: Philomel, 1998

Disability topics: dyslexia

Little Trisha, overjoyed at the thought of learning how to read, struggles when she finds that all the letters and numbers get jumbled up. Her classmates make matters worse by calling her dummy. Finally, in fifth grade, she is lucky enough to have a teacher who recognizes Trisha's incredible artistic ability — and understands her problem, and takes the time to lead her to the magic of reading.a.

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The Race

Christobel Mattingley

Illustrated Anne Spudvilas

Greg wants to join in but he doesn't quite belong. And he's always last - in spelling, in mental arithmetic, and in races, even though he can run very fast. Then one day a new teacher arrives... and Greg finds what he had lost - the words he didn't hear.

Children's Book Council of Australia Honour Book
Scholastic, 1999

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The Wrong Stone

Russell Deal
Illustrated by Ray Bowler

'I want you to build me a wall with only perfect stones,' said the big architect. All the stones tried to put their best faces forward. They hid their ugly bits. They tried to climb to the top of the pile. But there was one stone that didn't seem to fit anywhere... and all the others were laughing at him. What is it like to be different, to stand out, to feel unwanted? The Wrong Stone knows... will it be the crusher and the end of the road for him?

An important book for those who feel 'wrong' or different or unwanted.

Solutions Press, 2002

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Toad Rage

Morris Gleitzman

Limpy the cane toad has a 'crook' leg and is certain that humans hate cane toads. He sets out to persuade them not to squash any more of his family with their car tyres. His quest takes him to the Olympic Games where he becomes a hero by helping a human. He narrowly escapes the awful consequences of fame and returns home to Queensland with a very good idea.

Puffin Books, 1999

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What's Happening to Grandpa?

by Maria Shriver

Publisher: Little Brown &  Co.
$6.20 hardcover
Ages: 6-10

Disability topics: Alzeimers Disease; dementia

Young Kate loves to spend time with her Grandpa, but she begins to notice that he keeps telling the same stories, and forgets her name. After talking with her Mum she decides to create a photo album of favourite shared memories to help the two of them cope with his progressing Alzeimers Disease.

A helpful book for enabling young children come to terms with a family member who is living with dementia.

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Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

Mem Fox
Illustrated by Julie Vivas

Young Wilfrid Gordon lives next door to a nursing home and is best friends with 96-year-old Miss Nancy, to whom he tells his secrets. When she loses her memory he decides to find it for her with the confidence only an innocent young child can have.
This is a beautiful, gentle book that treats the frail aged, and their accompanying disabilities, with dignity.
A great book to help kids learn more about the elderly, in a fun way.
A great book for adults to read with kids.

Kane Miller Book Publishers, 1989
Softcover $14.99
Available all good bookstores

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Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Scholastic Inc., 2004
softcover $9.95
available through all good bookstores

disability topics:  kids with disabilities, wheelchairs
suitable for ages 4-8

Strong-willed Lauretta is taken by her Mum to buy a brand new wheelchair. But Lauretta isn't satisfied with any old slow chair, she wants a 92-speed, silver and gold, dirt-bike wheelchair. Whilst on a one day try-out with the chair she gets a speeding ticket, and her parents tell her that the chair has to go back to the store. But then her older brother has an accident and only Lauretta and her speedy chair can get him to the hospital in time. Her parents decide she can keep the chair.

This is a fun story that portrays children with disabilities in a positive light.

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