cleft palate

14 Uplifting Children's Books About Cleft Palates and Scars


 A best-selling middle grade novel about Augie Pullman, a boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome. He undergoes numerous surgeries due to abnormalities of his face and head, so he is homeschooled for most of his life. When he reaches 5th grade, Augie enters Beecher Prep where he is faced with a wide array of bullying, teasing, and social difficulties because of the way he looks. Told from the perspective of Augie as well as others in his close circle, this thought-provoking book examines issues of empathy and compassion. Readers will walk away with a heightened understanding of the isolation experienced by those who look a little different.



child hiding face


Kid's Books About Scars, Cleft Palates, and Facial Disfigurement

 Raising self-confident children who are strong enough to face the world is the goal of any parent. When children are born with cleft palates or other facial deformities, they will likely face questions, stares, and curious looks from others. In some unfortunate cases, kids may even be victims of teasing and bullying.

Reading kids' books about characters with scars and cleft palates is helpful. Childrens will learn through these stories how to best handle uncomfortable situations and how to hold their heads high. They will also learn that their scars do not define them. What's inside their hearts and minds is so much more important.



An inspiring true story, Ugly is based on the life of Robert Hoge. He was born with some devastating birth defects, like a tumor in the middle of his face and small, deformed legs. After undergoing several surgeries, Robert had a new nose formed from a toe and some other minor improvements. But there was not much more the doctors could do to make him look normal. Instead of retreating, Robert chose to live a very public life. He was the victim of cruel words directed toward him by both kids and adults. Everyone agreed that he was indeed "ugly". And somehow Robert managed to follow his heart by living a full life. He grew to understand that this nickname actually was a gift that helped him learn about his real self.



Jojo's Tiny Ear

Jojo was born with a condition called microtia, a birth defect in which the external ear is small and not completely formed. He has to wear a hearing aid strapped to a band to help him hear out of that ear. When the little boy is teased in school, he responds by explaining his hearing disability to others. This rhyming story is complemented by appealing watercolor illustrations. At the end, the author offers some words of wisdom to little readers based on her own experiences raising a son with microtia.


These Lips

 A lyrical tribute to all the beautiful children born with cleft lips. Adorable baby animals proudly display their lovely smiles throughout this uplifting story. All types of cleft lips are presented as the animals describe the highs and lows of their journey. The text is simple enough for young toddlers to understand, and touching enough to tug at the heartstrings of their caregivers. Overall, a gentle and loving story perfect for any child born with a cleft lip or palate.


Jack's New Smile

A helpful book written expressly for siblings of babies born with cleft palates, it will prepare them for what to expect. Big brothers and sisters will learn about the new baby's appearance as well as corrective surgeries that will happen in the future. Told in an accessible and straightforward manner, Jack's New Smile answers all the questions that siblings are afraid or don't know how to ask. The book also provides reassurance that cleft palates are not bad or dangerous, and that their new baby sibling will live a happy, healthy life.



The Widest Grin: A Cleft Baby Story

Written by a parent whose third child was born with a cleft lip and palate, this story is a good one to read to older siblings at home. Rather than explain the medical causes of a cleft palate, the author chooses a brighter way to explain the condition. Babies born with this condition simply have too much happiness for their smiles to contain!  While older children will need a more realistic explanation, this short, rhyming upbeat story is the perfect way to prepare toddlers and preschoolers.


My Very Special Scar

A darling book that is perfect for children who undergo surgery or experience trauma that leaves a scar. A little puppy suddenly becomes ill and has to go the hospital for surgery. Although the doctors take care of his problem, the poor pup is left with a scar on his chest that makes him feel sad. His loving and supportive mother knows just the right words to say so that his self-confidence is restored. Kids who have prominent scars on their bodies as a result of medical procedures will relate to this pup's journey.


Cleft Talk for Kids

This is one of the few books about cleft palates for tweens or older elementary children. It's told from the perspective of best friends, Kate and Charlie, who share a connection due to their birth defect. They speak in very straightforward terms about how cleft palates occur and the challenges they face every single day. They share stories about how relationships with their peers have been affected, but most importantly, how they are just like everyone else. The length and depth of information makes this book suitable for kids with long attention spans.



A Scar is Special

Scars come in all shapes and sizes, and they are a result of all kinds of things. Perhaps a child fell of a bike or was in some sort of accident. Scars are also the result of surgeries. In this book perfect for preschoolers, kids will read about how all scars are special and unique. It's a short and sweet story filled with happy children showing off their scars.



How to Make Friends With the Sea

A touching middle-grade chapter book about Pablo, a twelve year old boy who lives with his single mom in the Philipines. After spending many years moving around, he has developed a serious case of anxiety and a longing to call someplace home. His mother is too wrapped up in her career as a zoologist to spend any time with Pablo. And on top of everything, she takes in an orphaned girl with a cleft palate. Through Pablo's relationship with this little girl, he finds the personal strength to conquer his own fears and take care of her as well.


Why Do You Have a Scar on Your Face?

Christian suffers from eczema and he feels ashamed of the scar on his face. Some days he would rather hide than show his scar to the world. This relatable story shares the way Christian overcomes his insecurity and learns to hold his head high. By embracing the scar on his face, this brave child lives an active life without worrying about what others say.


My Scar is Beautiful

Scars tell a story about a child's past and should be worn proudly! This upbeat story celebrates the scars as a beautiful mark and symbol of hurdles a child has overcome. A variety of animals show off scars on their bodies and share with readers the significance of each one. The author is the mother a child born with a congenital heart defect which required surgery. Understanding that the child may be self-conscious about the scar on her chest, she wrote this book to show children that scars are an important part of their history.


The Rough-Face Girl

A haunting, fractured fairytale based on Cinderella. Set in a small village by Lake Ontario, this story is about the importance of inner beauty. There is a very wealthy, handsome, and powerful man whom all the girls want to marry. However, he is invisable to everyone except for one lucky person who makes it past the strict watch of his sister. A Native American girl, covered by burn scars, is determined to upend the efforts of her beautiful, cruel sisters and win the heart of the mysterious suitor. A wonderful message about the value of inner beauty is spun throughout this engaging story.


My Beautiful Scar

Lucy was born with a heart defect and had life-saving surgery. The scar on her chest is a beautiful symbol of survival but, unfortunately, the kids at her new school tease her about it. Instead of feeling upset, Lucy helps everyone understand that her scar makes her unique. The author, who wrote this book based on her own experiences, delivers a warmhearted message about acceptance and kindness. 


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child hiding face

Uplifting Kids' Books About Scars and Cleft Palates 

 Kids can feel quite self-conscious about prominent scars and facial disfigurement from cleft palates. There are lots of things parents say to their children who would prefer to hide behind a mask instead of smiling confidently. Yet no matter how many times kids are told that beauty comes from inside, it can still be difficult to deal with a facial scar or defect. Reading children's books about scars is a good way to help reinforce your message.

The characters in these books share many of the same self-conscious feelings as your child, and encounter plenty of teasing and funny looks from schoolmates and peers. It's important to share these stories and validate the emotions of your own child. These books provide lots of advice and guidance, and open a door to talking to your kids about their own feelings. This is a good first step toward building self-acceptance, self-love, and self-confidence! 



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