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IRIS Project Booklist 2018

Vanderbilt University has started a project called IRIS, which provides instructional materials for Special Educators. One of the projects they are working on is compiling a list of books for children with special needs. Often, children with learning disabilities have a hard time relating to the characters in books or television who are not experiencing the same difficulties as them. The IRIS project wants to help change that stigma.

Mary Anne Prater, the McKay School dean, has been working collaboratively with Vanderbilt by sending them recommendations of children’s books that have characters with disabilities. Here is the list she created this year. Enjoy!

Title Author Publisher Date ISBN Grade Level
Sidetracked Diana Harmon Asher Harry N. Abrams 2017 978-1419726019 3-7
Small and clumsy for his age, Charles finds acceptance and self confidence on the cross country team.
Superstar Mandy Davis Harper Collins 2017 978-1502824462 3-7
After being home schooled, Lester starts attending school in 5th grade and accidently learns about being on the autism spectrum.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures Julia Finley Mosca Innovation Press 2017 978-1943147304 K-5
Through her love of cows, Temple Grandin finds advanced education and a career.
Leah's Voice Lori DeMonia Halo 2014 978-1612440897 K-3
Logan teaches her friend why her sister behaves differently than other children.
Kids Like Us Hilary Reyl Farrar Straus Giroux 2017 978-0374306281 7-10
Martin and his family move to France where he makes friends with those who don't have disabilities.
Navigating Early Clare Vanderpool Delacorte 2013 978-0307930651 5-7
Jack and Early set out on an adverture of a lifelime on the Appalachian Trail.
How to Say I Love You Out Loud Karole Cozzo Swoon Reads 2015 978-1250063595 7-12
When Jordyn's brother starts attending her school, she doesn't want anyone to know they are related.
Al Capone Shines My Shoes Gennifer Choldenko Puffin 2011 978-0142417188 5-6
Twelve-year old Moose finds a note in a pillowcase and believes it's for him from Al Capone.
Al Capone Does My Homework Gennifer Choldenko Puffin 2014 978-0142425220 5-6
When Moose's father becomes assistant warden at Alcatraz, his family members' lives become more complicated.
Al Capone Throws Me a Curve Gennifer Choldenko Puffin 2018 978-1101938133 5-6
Moose must save his sister from a terrible plot to exploit her with the inmates on Alcatraz.
A Whole New Ball Game Phil Bildner Square Fish 2015 978-1250079763 4-6
Fifth grade will not be what Rip and Red expected with their unconventional teacher and coach.
Rookie of the Year Phil Bildner Farrar Straus Giroux 2016 978-1250115188 4-6
Rip's world is shaken when a new girl joins his classroom and basketball team.
My World of Forever Night M. J. Boegner Cubby Barks 2018 978-1945670602 K-3
A bear explains all the things he can do without his sight.
Run Kody Keplinger Scholastic 2016 978-0062445766 3-7
An overprotected legally blind girl, Agnes, is befriended by Bo, who comes from a less respected home.
Secrets of the Book Erin Fry Two Lions 2014 978-1477847169 3-7
Best friends Spencer and Gregor need to protect two books from getting into the wrong hands.
Wild Hannah Moskowitz Independent 2017 978-1973423881 8-12
Zach has a complex life with his girlfriend who is deaf, his mother who has Alzheimers and preparing for a 100 mile race.
A Sense of Love Haley Gienow-McConnell CreateSpace Independent 2017 978-1981304844 K-3
A young girl explains how she relates to her father who can't hear or speak.
You're Welcome, Universe Whitney Gardner Alfred A. Knopf 2017 978-0399551413 8-12
Julia is expelled from deaf school and meets a rival street artist in her new "mainstream" school.
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess Shari Green Pajama Press 2017 978-1772780178 4-6
Macy doesn't want to accept a new step-family and moving into a new home.
Alexander Graham Bell Answers the Call Mary Ann Fraser Charles- bridge 2017 978-1580897211 K-3
As a boy, Bell was interested in how and why he was able to hear, including speech.
Silent Days, Silent Dreams Allen Say Arthur A. Levine 2017 978-0545927611 3-7
The story of James Mason, an artist who never learned to speak, write, read, or use sign language.
Hello, Universe Erin Entrada Kelly Greenwillow 2017 978-0062414151 3-7
In one day, four children's lives intersect in unexpected ways.
When I Am Asleep, I Can Fly Jill Ostrowski FriesenPress 2017 978-1525513077 K-3
Owen can only walk and talk in his dreams.
Gracie Brave Pamela Krikke & Kate Eldean Mindstir Media 2017 978-0999608524 K-3
Gracie applies some strategies she's been taught to keep her spirits high while visiting her grandma.
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B Teresa Totem Delacorte 2015 978-0553507867 7-9
Adam and Robyn befriend one another in their OCD support group.
Turtles All the Way Down John Green Dutton 2017 978-0525555360 7-12
Aza and Daisy try to solve a billionaire's disappearance reuniting Aza with his son.
Mosquitoland David Arnold Speak 2016 978-0147513656 7-9
Mim seeks to return to Ohio from Florida to be with her mother after her father remarries.
Because You'll Never Meet Me Leah Thomas Bloomsbury 2017 978-1681190211 9-12
Ollie, who is allergic to electricity, and Moritz, who has a pacemaker and is without eyes, become friends through letters.
Pablo Pineda Albert Bosch & Maria Sala Cuento de Luz 2016 978-8416733231 K-5
Supports and advocacy Pablo receives through school help him achieve his goal of graduating from college.
This is Ella Krista Ewert FriesenPress 2017 978-1525513619 K-3
Ella may look different and have trouble speaking, but she is more like other children than different.
The Prince Who Was Just Himself Silke Schnee Plough 2015 978-0545846615 K-3
Prince Noah is slower than expected but touches the hearts of everyone.
Prince Noah and the School Pirates Silke Schnee Plough 2016 978-0874867657 K-3
For schooling, hildren are segregated by disabilities on different ships, but they come together at the end.
Jasmine Can Bena R. Hartman Ferne 2011 978-1933916873 K-3
Jasmine struggles to read, but develops confidence enough to read aloud to her classmates.
Tom's Special Talent Kate Gaynor Special Stories 2009 978-0956175106 K-3
Tom uses his special talent, drawing, to draw the talents of his classmates.
The Soggy, Foggy Campout (Here's Hank #8) Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver Grosset & Dunlap 2016 978-0448486604 1-3
Hank's family goes camping to give him inpiration to write a poem.
Always Watch Out for the Flying Potato (Here's Hank #9) Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver Grosset & Dunlap 2017 978-1101995839 1-3
Hank messes up an important order when he tries to help him mom at the deli.
Horray! My Butt Left the Bench! (Here's Hank #10) Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver Grosset & Dunlap 2017 978-1101995860 1-3
When Hank finally gets on the school basketball team he becomes their "secret weapon".
Me and Mr. Bell Phillip Roy Nimbus 2013 978-1927492550 4-6
With his encounters with Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller, Eddie, gains confidence in learning to read and write.
The Truth as Told By Mason Buttle Leslie Connor Katherine Tegen 2018 978-0062491435 3-7
The death of Mason's best friend is difficult until he meets a new best friend, Calvin.
The Silver Gate Kristin Bailey Harper Collins 2017 978-1619638457 8-12
Erlic tries to save his younger sister, Wynn, who society thinks should have been abandoned years ago.
Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability Shane Burcaw Roaring Brook 2017 978-1626727717 K- 5
Shane answers typical questions about his spinal muscular atrophy disorder.
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes Candlewick 2018 978-0763696047 K-3
After Jessica's loss of her legs, she and her service dog, Rescue, help each other find happiness.
Look Up! Jung Jim-Ho Holiday House 2016 978-0823436521 K-3
A boy in a wheelchair encourages others below him to look up!
How to Keep Rolling After a Fall Karole Cozzo Swoon Reads 2016 978-1250079282 7-12
After being shunned for cyperbullying, Nikki meets Pax, who has his own challenges to overcome.
Roxy the Raccoon Alice Reeves Kingsley 2018 978-1785924514 K-3
Roxy can't join in the fun with her friends until they find a way for her to do so.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus Dusti Bowling Sterling 2017 978-1454923459 5-8
Although Aven was born without arms she shows inner strength as she moves to a new school and has to make new friends.
We're All Wonders R. J. Palacio Alfred A. Knopf 2017 978-1524766498 K-3
Augie can't change the way he looks, but suggests maybe others could change the way they see.
Kids of Appetite David Arnold Speak 2017 978-0147513663 7-9
Vic runs away from home and is befriended by other struggling kids.
Holding Up the Universe Jennifer Niven Knopf Books 2016 978-0385755924 7-12
Once dubbed "the world's fattest teen," Libby returns to school and meets Jack who is struggling with his own problems and secrets.
Three Times Lucky Sheila Turnage Penguin Group 2012 978-0142426050 5-7
Sixth grader Mo and her friend work on solving mysteries, locating Mo's birth mother and a local murder.


To see the lists from previous years, go to: