Disability in Kidlit

A variety of reviews of children’s books about disabilities can be found at disabilityinkidlit.com

From their About Us page:

Disability in Kidlit is dedicated to discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. We publish articles, reviews, interviews, and discussions examining this topic from various angles—and always from the disabled perspective.

We believe that a thoughtful portrayal of disability requires more than memorizing a list of symptoms; we hope that sharing disabled people’s thoughts on stereotypes, pet peeves, particular portrayals, and their own day-to-day experiences will help our readers learn about the realities of disability, which are often different from what we see in popular media.

See also Books to help teach kids to be inclusive and compassionate by Suzanne Nelson in the Washington Post.

Joan Blaska suggests ten criteria for evaluating books featuring children with disabilities:

  1. Promotes empathy not pity.

  2. Depicts acceptance not ridicule.

  3. Emphasizes success rather than, or in addition, to failure.

  4. Promotes positive images of persons with disabilities or illness.

  5. Assists children in gaining accurate understanding of the disability or illness.

  6. Demonstrates respect for persons with disabilities or illness.

  7. Promotes attitude of “one of us” not “one of them.”

  8. Uses language which stresses person first, disability second philosophy, i.e. Jody who is blind.

  9. Describes the disability or person with disabilities or illness as realistic (i.e., not subhuman or superhuman.)

  10. Illustrates characters in a realistic manner.


“The catalogue for IBBY’s 2015 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities is now available online. The selection of books in the biennial catalogue represents the best international books from the past four years for or about children and teens with disabilities.

This year’s catalogue featured four Canadian books. An introduction by Leigh Turina of Toronto Public Library delves into the selection process, answering the question ‘How do we pick outstanding books?'”


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