Maybe it’s just at my library, but many of our kids head straight for the new shelves. They just can’t help themselves. They like the shining covers. The crisp pages. They are drawn to the snappy cover art. Plus, they want to check out the latest and greatest new book–you know, the one all their friends are reading. Even now, Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one of those books for us. While it was published in February of 2012, popularity of it still hasn’t let up–and rightly so.
Okay. But what if all your copies are checked out? What do you give them? Sometimes be hard for us as librarians to bring attention to older–albeit sometimes dusty–titles that may not have yet been read by kids these days. It sure doesn’t hurt to try. If you are looking for some suggestions of good books with characters that are special in their own way, try these.
A Cool Moonlight by Angela Johnson
Nine-year-old Lila, born with xeroderma pigmentosum, a skin disease that make her sensitive to sunlight, makes secret plans to feel the sun’s rays on her tenth birthday.
Quit It by Marcia Byalick
Diagnosed with a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable tics, such as coughing and head jerking, sixth-grader Carrie must cope with the embarrassment and strain of various reactions from family, friends, and strangers.
The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous by Suzanne Crowely
In the small town of Jumbo, Texas, thirteen-year-old Merilee, who has Asperger’s syndrome, tries to live a “Very Ordered Existence,” but disruptions begin when a boy and his father arrive in town and the youngster makes himself a part of the family.
Nobody’s Perfect by Marlee Matlin
Megan, a popular and outgoing fourth-grader, is sure that the “perfect” new girl dislikes her because she is deaf, but persistence and a joint science fair project help Megan see that the two girls have something in common after all.
Singing Hands by Delia Ray
In the late 1940s, twelve-year-old Gussie, a minister’s daughter, learns the definition of integrity while helping with a celebration at the Alabama School for the Deaf–her punishment for misdeeds against her deaf parents and their boarders.
95 Pounds of Hope by Anna Galvada
From his first day, school had been torture for Gregory because of his ADD. Things got progressively worse, until he was expelled in eighth grade, but through all his difficulties, Gregory could count on support from his grandfather, until his grandfather became ill and needed support from Gregory.
The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry
Katy Thatcher was the bright and curious daughter of the town doctor. Perhaps it was her insatiable curiosity that fueled their friendship with Jacob. Although Jacob never spoke to her or even looked at her directly, Katy grew to understand him from the moments they spent together quietly singing to the horses. But when events took an unexpected and tragic turn, it was Katy alone who could unravel the mystery of what had occurred, and why.
The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood
When thirteen-year-old Delrita’s parents are killed in an car accident, she begins to hide from the world. Things change for her when she starts to develop a friendship with her Uncle Punky, an adult with Down’s syndrome.