Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

21 Jul

I’ve finally taken the plunge into Top Ten Tuesday and thankfully I didn’t have to rate these books, so they’re alphabetical. This week’s list focused on celebrating diversity or diverse characters and I chose to focus solely on disabilities as I feel books that feature children with disabilities are overlooked when discussing diverse books. These are ten books that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and have taught me something about the disability they highlight and the people who live with these disabilities every day.  Hopefully, you’ll find one to add to your “to be read” list or give me a suggestions of something else to add to mine!

A historical fiction story set on Alcatraz deals with the way people say disabilities before they were understood.  Moose knows his sister is different, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to catch a glimpse of the notorious Al Capone.


Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin is the story of Jason, a young boy on the autism spectrum who is more comfortable interacting with people online than in person and although he deals with issues just like any other kid his age, almost every moment is amplified by his reaction or the reaction of someone around him in reference to his disability.  This is an eye-opening story about people on the autism spectrum.


El Deafo by Cece Bell is an entirely new take on disabilities in children’s literature – a memoir played out in graphic novel form.  It’s an extremely effective format that has provided us with some interesting conversation during book discussion.  We paired this with Cece Bell’s interview which gave the kids a whole new appreciation for her.

book8Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos is about a young boy who has trouble in school because he’s been diagnosed with ADHD.  His home life doesn’t help the matter, but Joey continues to strive for excellence even though it’s sometimes in a backwards manner.  Gantos does an amazing job of making the reader feel on edge and somewhat disconnected to reality in how he writes Joey Pigza’s story.  And the reader can’t help but want to help Joey make the best choices possible for himself.

book10A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass is about a different type of disability called synesthesia, which in this case Mia can see colors for every letter, number and sound.  Mia tries to navigate middle school while keeping her secret until her senses become so overwhelmed, she must share her secret with her parents.
book3Out of Mind by Sharon M. Draper opens the reader’s mind to the viewpoint of girl with cerebral palsy, she has no mental retardation, but she cannot speak leaving her with thoughts she has trouble expressing.  This book is near and dear to my heart because my aunt has cerebral palsy – she’s in a wheelchair and is also nonverbal.  Over the years, we’ve gotten better at communicating with her, but as my grandma read aloud this book to her, she was very adamant that she felt the same way – being trapped without a way out.

A new book, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin is the story of Rose, on the autism spectrum focused on prime numbers, homophones, and following the rules.  When her dog Rain (rein, reign) is lost during a storm, Rose knows that she must find her and do the right thing, even if it breaks her heart.
Rules by Cynthia Lord is the story of a young girl with a brother on the Autism Spectrum.  She is constantly making rules for him to follow to make his (and her) life easier.  But, it’s her friendship with Jason who is paraplegic and nonverbal that she discovers that normal isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one of my favorite books of all time (I know, not an easy thing for a librarian to say!) but the discussion this book has created among kids, adults, families and more.  The power this book has had on conversation is absolutely amazing and teaches an amazing lesson for everyone who reads it!  Choose Kind.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick focuses on deafness in a brand-new way with half the story done completely in illustrations which makes the focus on disability that much stronger.  I love the way Brian Selznick has created a new genre with his mixture of text and illustration and I think it works really well in this story.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.


5 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters”

  1. Tori @InToriLex July 21, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    Anything But Typical, sounds like a great read. Awesome Books Suggested. Check out my Top Ten Tuesday

    • literacious July 21, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      I love your Top Ten Tuesday list, I’ll have to add a few to my ever-growing TBR list!

  2. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction July 22, 2015 at 12:25 am #

    I didn’t realize that Wonderstruck was about a deaf character. How intriguing – now I’ll need to check it out!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • literacious July 22, 2015 at 10:50 am #

      It’s actually about two characters who are deaf! It’s a really interesting story and the way the characters connect is so interesting!


  1. #ReadYourWorld | literacious - January 28, 2017

    […] 10 Books that Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters […]

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