Kids of all abilities have similar experiences, dentist appointments, school projects and sports, how they manage the process can be different and require more care. We’ve reviewed several books for kids with special needs and the parents and professionals working with them.

GEMINA coverGEMINA, The Crooked-Neck Giraffe
by Karen B. Winnick
Gemina stood out from the other giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She was the famous crooked-neck giraffe. Everyone who saw her wondered if she was all right. Did her neck hurt? As months passed, Gemina’s neck leaned more and more to the side but it never seemed to bother her. Gemina didn’t let her difference stop her from doing anything the other giraffes did. Told with affection and illustrated with oil paintings, this is Gemina’s story, a celebration of the life of a very special giraffe. All proceeds from the sales of this book were generously donated by the author and go directly to support the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Reasons to Smile: Celebrating People Living with Down Syndrome reasonstosmile_book
by Andrea Knauss & Elizabeth Martins
This compilation of 56 encouraging and eye-opening short writings by a variety of authors across the globe celebrates the lives of people living with Down syndrome. Together with 56 inspiring “slice of life” photos, these candid true stories, including the renowned “Welcome to Holland,” provide inspiration and connection. Parents and families of children living with Down syndrome will discover a wealth of positivity and valuable guidance.


itcantbetrue_bookDK Braille: It Can’t Be True
How big is the sun? What is the smallest bird? Where is the tallest building? Explore astounding facts and stories through high-impact and embossed images in this special book designed specifically for blind or visually impaired readers. The pages combine braille, large print, and high contrast photography with clear and predictive layouts. Fact boxes offer instant information for readers, and the image adapted embossed images make new concepts as clear as possible for the tactile reader. Each spread is based around a fact, so readers can feel a hailstone three times wider than a tennis ball or a bird so small it can sit on the end of a pencil.


onthemove_bookDK Braille: On the Move
All aboard! Learn about the exciting world of transportation. Readers can take fun quizzes and learn amazing facts through high-impact and embossed images in this special book designed specifically for blind or visually impaired readers. From submarines deep in the ocean to hot air balloons in the sky, this book covers nearly all forms of travel and takes readers on their own exciting journey. The pages combine braille, large print, and high contrast photography with clear and predictive layouts. Annotations offer instant information for readers, and the image adapted embossed images make new concepts as clear as possible for the tactile reader.


by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
The historical picture book is the perfect introduction to the life of the 32nd president (and the hard working first lady behind the scenes: Eleanor Roosevelt!). Yet at its heart, it also presents an important story of how a physically disabled president stood up for what he believed in and managed to save a crippled nation. When Franklin was a young man, he wanted to be just like his older cousin—Teddy Roosevelt. He walked like Teddy, talked like Teddy, and of course he dreamed of being president like Teddy. But when Franklin was diagnosed with polio, he soon realized he might never walk like Teddy again; he might never even walk. Yet Franklin would not let a disability get in the way of his dreams. “The governor of New York does not have to be an acrobat!” he said, winning that office, and later the presidency.

ConsciousParentGUideADHDThe Conscious Parent’s Guide to ADHD
Learn how to take a relationship-centered approach to parenting, that engages your child and ensures that he succeeds behaviorally, socially and cognitively. With this guide, you can create a plan that not only addresses the challenges a child with ADHD faces, but also creates a mindful, less stressful atmosphere for the whole family. Also available for Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Anxiety and Autism.

beafriendBe a Friend
by Salina Yoon
What’s black, white and red all over? Dennis! But everyone calls him mime boy because he expresses himself in extraordinary ways. Some children do show-and-tell, but Dennis mimes his. Some kids like to climb a tree, Dennis is happy to be a tree. But being a mime can be lonely. And it isn’t until Dennis meets a girl named Joy that he discovers the power of friendship-and how special he truly is.

Sam’s Top Secret Journal: We Spy
by Dr. Sean Adelman, MD
Sometimes people can have trouble accepting and respecting the differences in others, but through teaching children tolerance, we can help foster understanding. We Spy shows how Sam lives as a fun loving, but often bullied student. A basketball fan and player, Sam lives life to the fullest, while having Down syndrome. When Michael appears, a man with a jagged pink scar on his arm, Sam finds herself surrounded with mysteries. Can she and her brother, John, uncover the truth in time? This inspiring book can teach kids that those around us are not as different as we think.


One Track Mind: 15 Ways to Amplify Your Child’s Special Interest
OneTrackMindby Andrea Moriarty
If your child has dyslexia, autism, Down syndrome or any other learning challenge, one thing is certain: he or she will need extra love and support throughout life. It can feel like they are continually measured against standards of what is “normal” and subjected to expectations that are neither helpful nor kind. In the process of parenting a special needs child, you might find yourself wondering, “What am I going to do with this kid?” The mother of a son with autism, Andrea Moriarty asked that very question. She found a simple yet profoundly life-changing answer: identify your child’s special interest—whether it’s music, Zorba the Greek, or bottle caps. Dive into it wholeheartedly with him or her. Then, leverage that passion into a life of purpose. One-Track Mind shares the story of a boy named Reid whose love for music became the therapy-and theme-that transformed his life.


TwoStepDiabetesTwo-Step Diabetes Cookbook: Over 150 Quick, Simple, Delicious Recipes
by Nancy S. Hughes
Nearly everyone is looking for quick, simple recipes that can be prepared in a snap, and people with diabetes are no different. Perfect for weeknight meal plans or last minute dinners, this cookbook is a fantastic resource for those looking to better manage their diabetes and eat healthier. Quick, healthy, delicious recipes include Ham and Swiss Savory French Toast, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Phyllo Bites, “2-Minutes-To-Fix” Italian Meatloaf, Creamy Pasta Parmesan with Bacon, Portobello Burgers with Blue Cheese Garlic Spread, Peppermint Chocolate Java Frozen Pie, and much more.


I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autismiseethingsdifferently

The topic of autism is explored in a way that encourages positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The story line is simple and easily accessible to younger children, who will learn that exploring the personal feelings around social issues is a first step in dealing with them. Full-color illustrations on every page.


lucalashesLuca Lashes and His First Trip to the Dentist

The first trip to the dentist can be scary to all children. This is the third story in the award-winning, multilingual, interactive Luca Lashes series that centers around main character, Luca, the boy with the magic eyelashes that help make him brave during his many “firsts”. The Luca Lashes series is intended for children under six, and they can also help children with special needs or late developers. Parental sections accompany every story and assist parents with making the “first” experience more comfortable.


mythreebestfriendszulayMy Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay

Zulay and her three best friends are all in the same second grade class and study the same things, even though Zulay is blind. When their teacher asks her students what activity they want to do on Field Day, Zulay surprises everyone when she says she wants to run a race. With the help of a special aide and the support of her friends, Zulay does just that.


mychildhasautismMy Child Has Autism: What Parents Need to Know

There are no words to describe the changes in the lives of families when they learn that a child they love has been diagnosed with autism. This book was written for those families. It explains autism in simple terms, discusses the major characteristics associated with autism, and offers simple strategies for helping children with autism function in their homes, at school and in the community.





The Special Needs School Survival Guide

The Special Needs School Survival Guide is a handbook for anyone teaching, living with, homeschooling, or working with students who have: autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral concerns, handwriting difficulty, fine motor delays, trouble with transitions, homework concerns, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and more! It contains an easy to read Q&A format. Every section answers common questions teachers, parents and homeschoolers ask about teaching a student who has special needs.


thepocketotThe Pocket Occupational Therapist for Families of Children With Special Needs

If you are unsure about what occupational therapy (OT) is and how it can help your child, this accessible overview is for you. Answering all of the common questions about the issues an occupational therapist might address with a child with special needs, including core muscle strength, feeding, fine motor skills, sensory sensitivities, transitions and life-skills, this book also offers simple activities to practice at home that are inexpensive, fun and, most-importantly, OT-approved. This will be an illuminating and essential guide for parents and carers of children with physical and developmental disabilities or parents of children in rehabilitation from illness or injury. Professionals who want to learn more about the principles and practicalities of occupational therapy will also find it useful.