Disability representation in children’s books

Author explores book characters and discusses the issue of disability as part of the Guardian’s Diversity in Children’s Books week.

Kim Hood’s debut novel, Finding a Voice is about the friendship between a lonely girl and a disabled girl. However she did struggle to come up with other disabled book characters. “There just are not enough books with unforgettable characters with a disability – because they haven’t been written,” she said. “The more memorable characters in classics tended to have a disability that was cured in some way during the story, as if disability was a “burden”. Talking about current examples of books depicting disabled characters she describes them as “science fiction, dystopian”. She added: “I believe they tend to be more along the lines of teens with a disability that also make them super heroes; again, not reflecting real life, but at least more positive.” “In picture books, I’m happy to see more children with disabilities in illustrations. I sure would like to see more books that include kids and teens in substantial roles, rather than supporting roles for the sake of token inclusion, though.” Our book Heads Up, Tim-Tron depicts a character with a disability and helps children understand brain injury and the effects it has. You can order your free copy here. Kim's top ten characters with a disability.
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