Kid’s Books
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Inspiring Books for Children with Learning Disabilities

How Dyslexic Benny Became a Star:  A Story of Hope for Dyslexic Children and Their Parents
Author: Joe Griffith
Story Profile: Benny, who has dyslexia, struggles while his fifth-grade classmates’ skills improve. He is suddenly terrified when he is called upon by his teacher to read aloud.
Reading Level: Juv. Fiction

How Many Days Until Tomorrow

Author: Caroling Janover
Story Profile: Josh is a 12-year-old who has dyslexia. When he spends a summer on an island with his grandparents, he develops his strengths and discovers talents he did not know he had.
Reading Level: Juv. Fiction

Josh: A Boy with Dyslexia
Author: Caroline Janover
Publisher: Waterfront Books, 98 Brookes Ave., Burlington, VT 05401; 1988
ISBN #: ISBN-0-914525-18-2 hardcover or ISBN-0-914515-10-7 paperback
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: The life and adventures of Josh, who has dyslexia, as he moves to a new town and school.
Reading Level: Juv. Fiction

Learning Disabilities and the Don’t Give Up Kid
Author: Jeanne Gehret
Publisher: Verbal Images Press, 19 Fox Hill Drive, Fairport, NY 14450; 1990
ISBN #: ISBN-9625136-0-1
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: A dyslexic boy wants to grow up to be an inventor like Thomas Edison but is constantly frustrated by problems at school. He switches into a small special education class of children with auditory processing difficulties. The teacher gives him more personal attention, using an example from Edison’s life to inspire him.
Reading Level: JF

My Friend Ben
Author: Wanda Gilberts Kachur
Publisher: Peytral Publications, PO Box 1162, Suite 976, Minnetonka, MN 55345; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-0-9644271-4-1
Disability: Head Injuries
Story Profile: Narrated through the eyes of a classmate, this story tells of Ben, a boy with traumatic brain injury who is included in a general education, third-grade class.
Reading Level: JF

My Name Is Brain Brian
Author: Jeanne Betancourt
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; 1993
ISBN #: ISBN-0-590-44921-4
Disability: Dyslexia
Story Profile: Brian, a sixth-grade boy is diagnosed as having dyslexia. His initial trepidation at being singled out for attention and diagnosis is gradually replaced by enthusiasm for learning new ways of learning.
Reading Level: JF

The Best Fight
Author: Anne Schlieper
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723; 1995
ISBN #: ISBN-0-8075-0662-1
Disability: Reading Difficulties
Story Profile: Jamie is an adolescent boy who has learning disabilities that impair his reading. Frustration at his low reading ability combines with alienation due to his placement in special classes. His mixed emotions toward his teachers, friends, and family are explored.
Reading Level: JF

The Flying Fingers Club
Author: Jean F. Andrews
Publisher: Kendall Green
ISBN #: ISBN-0-930323-44-0
Disability: Deafness
Story Profile: Donald is a third grader who is bitter about repeating that grade when he meets Matt, who comes to class with an interpreter because he is deaf; they become fast friends.
Reading Level: JF

The Summer Kid
Author: Myrna Neuringer Levy
Publisher: Second Story Press, 760 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Canada M5S 2R6; 1991
ISBN #: ISBN-0-929005-20-1
Disability: Language Impairments
Story Profile: Karen, a ten-year-old girl who stays at a summer cottage with her grandmother encounters Tommy, a nine-year-old boy with a severe language disorder.
Reading Level: JF

Trouble with School: A Family Story About Learning Disabilities
Author: Kathryn Boesel Dunn and Allison Boesel Dunn
Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852 

ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-57-3 

Disability: Learning Disabilities 

Story Profile: A family’s real-life experiences with learning disabilities follows Allison and her mother as each tells her side of the story of diagnosing and adjusting to Allison’s special learning needs. 

Reading Level: JF

Wrongway Applebaum
Author: Marjorie Lewis 

Publisher: Coward 

ISBN #: ISBN-0-698-20610-X
Disability: Learning Disabilities 

Story Profile: Stanley is in fifth grade when his awkwardness and inability to tell left from right conflict with his family’s interest in baseball. 

Reading Level: JF

Zipper, the Kid with ADHD
Author: Caroline Janover
Publisher: Woodbine House, Inc., 6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-95-6
Disability: Attention Deficit Disorder
Story Profile: Zachary (nicknamed Zipper), a fifth grader who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has trouble concentrating and controlling himself until a retired jazz musician recognizes his talent, believes in him, and gives him the motivation to start trying to do better.
Reading Level: JF

Down the Aisle
Author: Hope Benton
Publisher: Open Minds, Inc., PO Box 21325, Columbus, OH 43221-0325; 1996 

ISBN #: ISBN-1-888927-80-1; ISBN-1-888927-27-5 

Disability: Physical Disabilities 

Story Profile: The story of two sisters, one of whom has a physical disability (Kathryn), as they prepare to participate in a wedding. 

Reading Level: YA

Dyslexia My Life: One Man’s Story of His Life with a Learning Disability
Author: Girard J. Sagmiller 

Publisher: DML, PO Box 537, Smithville, MO 64089-0537; 1995 

ISBN #: ISBN-0-9643087-1-1 

Disability: Dyslexia 

Story Profile: Girard’s autobiography dealing with dyslexia chronicles his struggles to overcome the ignorance and prejudice of his friends, family, and society in order to succeed in school, business, and life. 

Reading Level: YA

Probably Still Nick Swansen
Author: Virginia Euwer Wolff 

Publisher: Holt
ISBN #: ISBN-0-8050-0701-6
Disability: Learning Disabilities
Story Profile: Nick is 16 and in special ed classes with “Down” kids and some “hyperactive” students, too. He can’t figure out if there’s a word for his placement in special ed.
Reading Level: YA

Reach for the Moon
Author: Samantha Abeel
Publisher: Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, 210 West Michigan, Duluth, MN 55802; 1997
ISBN #: ISBN-1-57025-013-8
Disability: Learning Disabilities
Story Profile: Samantha, a 13-year-old girl with a learning disability in understanding mathematical concepts, provides a collection of illustrated poems and stories. She writes about her difficulties in middle school, including coping with her disability and the accompanying emotional challenges and the 
encouragement received by her English teacher to develop her writing talent.
Reading Level: YA

The Worst Speller in Jr. High
Author: Caroline Janover 

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, 400 First Avenue, North, Suite 616, 
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730; 1995 

ISBN #: ISBN-0-915793-76-8 

Disability: Dyslexia 

Story Profile: Katie Kelso, an adolescent girl with dyslexia, describes her struggles with issues of peer acceptance, dating, and academic achievement, all of which are complicated by her dyslexia. 

Reading Level: YA

Turning Around the Upside-Down Kids: Helping Dyslexic Kids Overcome Their Disorder
Author: Harold Levinson and Addie Meyer Sanders
Publisher: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 216 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017; 1992 

ISBN #: ISBN-0-87131-700-1 

Disability: Dyslexia 

Story Profile: Continuing with the eight characters from The Upside-Down Kids, these students and their compassionate teacher Ms. Jensen, examine the various successful treatments for each child’s unique symptoms in a way that is both comprehensive and simple to understand. 

Reading Level: YA

Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
Author: Donald Meyer, Ed.
Publisher: Woodbine House, Inc., 6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817; 1997

ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-98-0
Disability: Disabilities
Story Profile: Forty-five siblings share their experiences. The children whose essays are featured range in age from four to 18 with a variety of special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, attention deficit disorder, hydrocephalus, visual and hearing impairments, Down syndrome, and Tourette syndrome.
Reading Level: YA

My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir Samantha Abeel
Orchard Books
ISBN: 0439339049
208 pages
Though she is only 25 years old, author Samantha Abeel has a lifetime of experiences to share. MY THIRTEENTH WINTER chronicles her childhood and teen years with dyscalculia, a learning disability that prevents her from telling time, counting change accurately, and performing simple math — functions that most people take for granted.

A majority of the book focuses on her struggles in school. Because she did exceptionally well in most classes, especially English, administrators and even her parents couldn’t figure out why she was unable to learn math. She was therefore kept out of both gifted and remedial classes. Abeel describes some coping mechanisms she used to get along in classes without really understanding the material. But by the time she reached algebra courses, there was no way to hide her problem any longer, and her life began to disintegrate while she tried to find answers.
There are many valuable insights in this memoir that make it an important read for teens and adults alike. Abeel provides startling descriptions of the attitudes toward kids in special education, including an example whereby someone asked why she was in that type of math class when she was a “nice girl.”

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