Be inspired by the Paralympics in Tokyo with these children's books featuring characters with disabilities that encourage acceptance and perseverance
Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...
Dear Reader. The Paralympics are just around the corner, getting under way in Tokyo on August 24.
Here are some of the best children's books that feature children with disabilities to encourage acceptance and perseverance.
Amazing by Steve Antony
A little boy and his pet dragon are the very best of friends.
They laugh, they sing, they dance, they snooze. They are both amazing - just like everyone else!
A celebration of friendship and being yourself with a positive message about celebrating diversity.
The perfect platform to start conversations about the importance of understanding and acceptance.
Off to the Park by Stephen Cheetham
"Come with us to the park! Which way shall we go? What shall we do? What will we find?
A stunning interactive book for ALL children of all ages, with a delightful surprise at the end.
Conceived and designed in association with Booktrust and developed in consultation with children, families and organisations working with blind and partially-sighted children, Off to the Park is a unique project that seeks to include all children in the reading experience.
Containing tactile features, Braille-style numbering, play elements, high-contrast images and a rhythmic rhyming text, this book is designed to create as sensory and involved an experience as possible out of a familiar and well-loved journey.
Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
"Susan laughs, she sings, she flies, she swings. She's good, she's bad, she's happy and she's sad."
In fact, Susan is just like everybody else, even though she is in a wheelchair.
Told in rhyme, this story follows Susan through a series of familiar activities. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends and even rides a horse.
Lively, thoughtfully drawn illustrations reveal a portrait of a busy, happy little girl with whom younger readers will identify.
Splash! by Claire Cashman and Sharon Davey
Claire Cashmore, MBE and Paralympic gold medallist, was born without a left forearm – but she never let being different stand in the way of her big dreams.
Splash! is based on Claire's real-life experience: this gold medal-winning swimmer really was scared of water - until one day, everything changed!
"These are Claire's big sisters.
They call her Bear and ruffle her hair.
And whatever Claire's sisters can do,
Claire can do too …"
But there is one thing Claire won't do. The water in the swimming pool makes her feel squirmy inside. Follow her sisters? No thank you!
Can Claire conquer her fears? Can she set foot in the water – and what will happen if she does?
Cyborg Cat and the Night Spider by Ade Adepitan
Ade loves playing football and he's amazing in goal, despite the heavy metal caliper he has to wear on his leg.
He can save any ball that's sent his way, from any direction, so his friends have nicknamed him the Cyborg Cat.
But when the Parsons Road Gang stumble upon some unusual graffiti, it starts to have a really weird effect on Ade. Somehow, the art is drawing him into another dimension, where he really is Cyborg Cat!
But that's not all. After seeing the Night Spider's art, Ade starts to feel weak and everything begins to go wrong.
He's banned from a school trip to a safari park because of his disability and the doctors have some bad news about his legs.
How can Ade overcome his challenges and what power does the mysterious Night Spider have over Cyborg Cat? Ade needs all his friends' help to uncover the truth.
An amazing adventure full of fun and friendship from the inspirational Paralympic wheelchair basketball star Ade Adepitan.
The Amazing Edie Eckhart by Rosie Jones
"Hello! My name is Edie Eckhart and I'm 11 years old. I'm a little bit different. I have a disability called cerebral palsy, so I talk slowly and fall over a lot. It's never really bothered me because I've never known anything else."
Edie Eckhart is Excited with a capital E to start secondary school with her best friend Oscar - the fish to her chips, the bananas to her custard. But when she and Oscar are put into different tutor groups on their first day, Edie is devastated. Who will play secret hangman with her in class? Who will she eat sausage rolls with?
But while she's plotting her reunion with Oscar, she accidentally gets cast as the lead in the school play. As Edie discovers a passion for performance, she also finds new friendships, talents and dreams.
After all, it's easy to shine on and off the stage when you're Amazing with a capital A.
Roll With It by Jamie Sumner
Ellie's a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she's going to be all sunshine and cuddles.
The thing is, Ellie has big dreams. She might be eating Stouffer's for dinner, but one day she's going to be a professional baker.
If she's not writing fan letters to her favourite celebrity chefs, she's practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.
But when Ellie and her mum move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school.
Except she's not just the new kid - she's the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town.
It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends.
Now she just has to convince her mum that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!
The Story of Helen Keller by Christine Platt
Helen Keller became a celebrated author, educator and activist who believed in equality for people with disabilities.
Before she made history as the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college, Helen was a smart kid who loved learning.
She overcame many challenges to learn how to read, write and talk. She spoke up for other people with disabilities so they could get equal rights.
Explore how Helen Keller went from being a young girl in Alabama to the world-famous First Lady of Courage.