It’s never too early to teach the lesson, “We are all special, just the way we are!” As kids begin exploring the world with their senses and making their first friendships, children who don’t use their senses or communicate in the same way as others can quickly become stigmatized.
Whether you teach students with special needs or not, these 10 read alouds offer sweet, simple stories about celebrating differences to get your kids thinking about the idea that it is our differences that make us special.
Special People, Special Ways
This rhyming book helps little ones understand and accept all our differences. The beautiful, brightly-colored illustrations include children who are differently abled.
This charming book explores the many comforters babies use, from fuzzy blankets to stuffed animals: everyone’s noo-noo is different! The book promotes acceptance of children who need a little help with self-soothing from a plush pal.
Can I Play Too?
In this Elephant and Piggie book, a snake comes to join in the fun during a game of catch—but how can a snake play ball?! This simple story helps kids learn about including others and celebrating our differences.
My Friend Isabelle
Written by a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, this book follows the friendship of her daughter Isabelle and a boy named Charlie. My Friend Isabelle helps children understand what friendship is all about.
Don’t Call Me Special
This book is designed for young readers to learn more about people with disabilities. It shares information and stories in a way appropriate for young ages and in situations that they can relate to. It is great for opening up conversations and dialogue about differences and acceptance.
This simple book uses minimal words to tell the story of a little girl named Susan who swims, goes to school and rides a horse. At the end of the story, little readers will learn that Susan also uses a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop her from having fun like other kids.
This Little Movers book celebrates how kids love to move their bodies. Jump! also includes illustrations of children moving using different mobility aids like crutches and safety helmets.
Our Stripy Baby
When Zara’s baby brother Zack is born, she is surprised to discover that he has stripes instead of spots! Our Stripy Baby will help readers learn to accept differences in others and may be helpful for children whose siblings have been born with special needs.
A younger brother has so much fun with and so much love for his older sister. She can’t walk or talk or do all of the same things that others can, and he doesn’t quite understand it. She is that way “just because.” As he tells his story you begin to realize his sister has special needs, and the story tells of her uniqueness and how others around her accept her and celebrate her.
In My Mind
It may look like she’s staring at the wall, but in the mind of an autistic child, she’s imagining a colorful adventure! This book helps kids understand the difference between how we act on the outside and the world of imagination and color in our minds.
More Fantastic Read Alouds
Looking for more great book recommendations? We have several lists, including: