Improving learner outcomes

Top 5 inclusive children’s books

Jacqui Webber-Gant

Author Jacqui Webber-Gant

Date 20th Aug 2019


Looking for some reading inspiration over the summer? Our latest blog looks at some influential books for children around diversity and inclusion. Many featuring protagonists with special educational needs, they all talk about inclusion and disability in unique ways and are perfect for teachers and parents to share. 

Maggot Moon
Sally Gardner

Described at ‘The most original publication for years’ by the Times, this award-winning young adult novel, features a highly memorable (dyslexic) hero. Set against the backdrop of a harsh, dystopian society, it is a highly original tale of self-sacrifice, love and courage against the odds. Not only does it help to dispel some of the myths about dyslexia (Gardner has dyslexia) but, it is also a powerful exploration of what it means to stand up for what you believe in.

Freddie and the Fairy 
Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Karen George

This delightful picture book is about a hard of hearing fairy doing her best to grant wishes to a mumbling little boy and has a lot to say about deafness (Donaldson herself is hard of hearing and is a passionate advocate for inclusion in children’s books). It also shares a universal message about the value of communicating effectively and clearly and does it all in a fun, humorous way loved by children, parents and teachers alike.

The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules
Jennifer Cook O'Toole, illustrated by Brian Bojanowski

The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules offers witty insights into baffling social codes, such as making and keeping friends, and common conversation pitfalls. Ideal for all 10-17-year olds with Asperger syndrome, this book provides inside information on over thirty social rules helping Asperkids to navigate the mysterious world around them.

Jacqueline Wilson 

Inspired by the much-loved classic, What Katy Did, bestselling children's favourite Jacqueline Wilson creates an irresistible modern version for the twenty-first century. Through the wonderful protagonist Katy, Wilson gives her readers, disabled or not, a wonderful representation of what it’s like to be disabled. A perfect book for younger readers as it serves as a great introduction to disability.

The Secret Code
Dana Meachen Rau

This book introduces braille to young readers through the characters Oscar and Lucy. Oscar, a blind boy, explains to his classmates that his books are not written in secret code, but in Braille. He then teaches Lucy and, by the end, they can read Braille together. The Braille alphabet is also illustrated in this book so that sighted children can learn to recognize the letters and decipher a note that Oscar sends to a friend.

Further reading

We hope you have enjoyed our top 5 inclusive children’s books. If you have any recommendations of your own, please let us know if the comments section below.

For further reading try The Guardians top 10 inclusive children’s books

Also, try the Independent’s best books for dyslexic and reluctant readers.

About the author

Jacqui is a Director of OnLineTraining. Contact Jacqui at or on Twitter @Team_OLT.


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