girl in wheelchair

25 Inspiring Children's Books About Characters in Wheelchairs

Hello Goodbye Dog

This is a story of a loyal dog, Moose, and his best girl, Zara. When she heads to school, where there is a strict no-dog policy, Moose refuses to be left behind. In a series of escalating escape maneuvers, Moose always finds his way to be by Zara's side. The focus of this book is not at all about the wheelchair; rather, it's the strength of the connection between a dog and his human. 


Uplifting Children's Books About Wheelchairs

Kids in wheelchairs work to overcoming their physical differences so they can participate in activities that able-bodied children take for granted. Even though schools and playgrounds are equipped with ramps for wheelchairs, there are still so many painfully difficult obstacles that make it hard for these kids to fully engage in play. That's why reading children's books about wheelchairs living full, vibrant lives can be just the inspiration a child needs. Also, be sure to include the best kids' books about limb differences and disabilities for more valuable lessons about living life to the fullest.


girl in wheelchair 


 Best Kids' Books With Characters in Wheelchairs  

No matter how many kind, empathetic friends are part of a disabled child's world, no one really understands unless they themselves are in a wheelchair as well. Reading children's books about characters in wheelchairs is a good way to help a child feel motivated and inspired. These stories validate all of their feelings and struggles and open a door for conversation, expression, and achievement. Also, include the best kids' books about bullying to give them the tools to cope with mean words and behavior from others that may be directed toward them.


Hoops and Hopes

This chapter book is about a 12-year old girl, Autumn, who loves basketball. She also happens to be confined to a wheelchair.  When she attends a basketball camp for kids like her, Autumn is hopeful that she will finally make some close friendships. Unfortunately, she begins to worry that she won't fit in with the rich kids at this camp, and then doubts whether she even deserves a place on the basketball court. Finally, a special friend shows her that she is just as good as everyone else.


When Charley Met Emma

Emma has limb differences that  Charley finds interesting. He is drawn to her at the playground where he learns that he has a lot in common with her. At first he wonders why she doesn't look like everyone else, especially since she is missing hands and rides in a wheelchair. This story helps readers learn how to  ask questions while also respecting the feelings of a disabled child.




Awesomely Emma

Emma may be different, but this is what makes her so special. In fact, she would never have the inner strength and determination if it weren't for her unique physical traits. Sometimes, though, her differences can be problematic. In this story, she goes on a class trip to a museum where she runs into some accessibility challenges...and her friend Charley makes things even worse. Fortunately, she overcomes her obstacles and wins the admiration of her classmates along the way.



Roll With It

A middle-grade chapter book about Ellie, a girl with cerebral palsy who doesn't mince words. She is an ambitious, aspiring chef who also happens to have cerebral palsy. She doesn't paint a rosy picture about her life in a wheelchair, but she also doesn't let is stand in the way of her dreams. When she moves with her mother to a new town, life in a trailer park brings a new set of challenges. But with her resilience and the help of some new friendships, Ellie is ready to face whatever comes her way.




Emily's Big Shot

This illustrated chapter book for beginners is about  Emily, a girl who is not about to let a wheelchair get in the way of her dreams. She loves playing hockey but has always been stuck in the goalie position. When she has a chance to play a new position, her teammates make the perfect hockey stick she can use in the wheelchair. An inspiring sports book for kids in wheelchairs.



Mama Zooms

A book just right for preschoolers that shows the fun-loving relationship between a mother and her son. The mom, who is in a wheelchair, takes her child on exciting rides and snuggles up for quiet time. This short and sweet book helps to normalize parents with physical disabilities.




Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair

Carolyn is a happy, energetic girl with a can-do attitude that will inspire every kid who reads this book. She is a first-grader with lots of interests and she is always helpful around the house. The only thing different about her is that she is in a wheelchair. Lots of kids ask questions about why she can't walk, and she gladly responds to them. A helpful guide contains advice for parents and kids navigating life in a wheelchair.



Woodpecker Girl

 A moving, true story about a girl with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair. With little ability to communicate or express herself, her life is without much purpose. When her supportive family enrolls her in an art class, the teach affixes to her a headband with a paintbrush attached. The girl begins by producing rudimentary artwork, her technique similar to a woodpecker pecking at a tree. With practice, she develops more control over the brush and creates beautiful pictures. 


Lucas Makes a Comeback

 Inspired by the author's own life, here is the story of Lucas the Lion. This guy had complete use of his legs until one fateful fall from a ladder. With a broken spine rendering his legs useless, Lucas refuses to let his disability get in the way of living a full life. He overcomes many obstacles to play sports, drive a car, and even become teacher. An inspiring wheelchair book for kids who become disabled due to an accident. 



Cooper's Story: A Puppy Tale

From the best-selling author of A Dog's Purpose series comes this middle-grade novel about a Great Dane puppy. Cooper is quickly adopted by the family of a boy in a wheelchair. He very quickly finds purpose in his life by fetching objects and helping the child wherever he needs it. His most important job of all is just being a constant companion and best friend for a kid who needs it most. 




Swimming with Dolphins

Moving to a new state is never easy for a child. For KT, a 12 year old girl, the transition from Iowa to Florida is both exciting and upsetting. She has to adjust to being the new girl in school, find new friends, and get used to everyone staring at her wheelchair. But there are some upsides to her move. For instance, she finally gets to come face-to-face with dolphins, her favorite animals. With her sister by her side, KT eventually works up the courage to realize her dream of swimming with these beautiful creatures. 




A Very Special Critter

 The new kid in class always gets some extra attention. This is especially so when the child is in a wheelchair. At first, Little Critter isn't sure how to act and he wonders if this new classmate is different in other ways, too. A good story to talk to children about kids with differences and the importance of inclusion.


Days With Dad

A touching dialogue between a little girl and her father, who is in a wheelchair. He feels regret for all the activities he cannot do with his daughter. She lovingly reassures him that she cherishes all of the special moments they share, like enjoying a day on the beach, quietly sipping hot cocoa, and just enjoying each other's company. 


Arnie and the New Kid

It's tough being the new kid at school, but it's even more difficult to make this adjustment in the face of a bully. Philip, who is in a wheelchair, is confronted by Arnie, a kid with a mean streak who makes fun of him. When Arnie himself get injured, he finally understands a little bit about what it's like to be in Philip's shoes. Kids will relate to the experiences shared in this story about empathy. 




Dad Has a Wheelchair

 Written by a dad with a disability, this book about a parent in a wheelchair is positive and upbeat. A little girl shares all of the fun activities she enjoys with her father, like going to the playground, visiting the zoo and camping. In fact, this dad is no different than anyone else with the exception of his wheelchair.




My Friend Uses a Wheelchair

A solid, non-fiction book that offers a very direct, easy-to-understand explanation all about wheelchairs. The mechanics of wheelchairs are covered as well as a diagram of all the parts. Readers learn how to be good friends to kids in wheelchairs and are introduced to all different people who use them. The book also addresses the importance of being empathetic and supportive of children in wheelchairs.




Susan Laughs

A great book for preschool kids about a happy, active child who is not defined by her wheelchair. In fact, readers do not even know she is disabled until the last page in the book. The little girl, Susan, plays, rides horses, goes to school, and lives a very normal, happy life. This story is a short, sweet look at a girl who lives a well-rounded, active life.



Don't Call Me Special

An introductory book for children about people with all different kinds of disabilities. Readers learn about all the different kinds of equipment, like wheelchairs, that help people live their lives to the fullest. The story answers a lot of questions and addresses all the things in common disabled children share with everyone else. A solid book choice for opening up discussion about kids in wheelchairs.



Bouncing Back

A 13-year old basketball star, Carlos, is left disabled after a terrible car accident. His legs may not work, but he has not lost his passion for playing hoops. So he joins a team for kids in wheelchairs where he has to learn to dribble, shoot and score all over again. On top of these challenges, Carlos and his teammates struggle to save their gym as a greedy real estate developer has other plans for the property. A fast-paced book about a teen who reinvents himself in the face of a life-altering tragedy. Truly inspiring book for any kid who is adjusting to a new life in a wheelchair.


I Will Dance

A beautiful and poetic book based on a real life inclusive dance studio established for children with disabilities. In this moving story, Lily has limited mobility due to cerebral palsy. Although confined to a wheelchair, it is her dream to become a dancer. She joins a class at this special studio and realizes that she can finally feel comfortable expressing herself through dance. 



Out of My Mind

Melody, confined to a wheelchair, is trapped in a body that is paralyzed by cerebral palsy. With only having use of her thumbs, she relies on caretakers for all of her needs. But Melody is highly intelligent with a photographic memory, something that no one knows about her. All of her doctors, teachers, and peers assume she is mentally disabled, and Melody is determined to prove them wrong. An important chapter book about a character in a wheelchair that every child should read.


Dancing With Daddy

The big father-daughter dance is approaching and Elsie is overwhelmed with excitement. She has been practicing all her wonderful dance moves and can't wait to show them off. But when a winter storm threatens to cancel the event, Elsie wonders if she will ever get her chance to enjoy a night out with her daddy. A sweet book for every kid in a wheelchair who still loves to dance.




Best Day Ever!

It's an incredible day for a little puppy until things take a turn for the worse. His owner, who happens to be a boy in a wheelchair, has to scold him for his poor behavior. Suddenly this bright, sunny day seems rather gloomy and the dog wonders if he can turn things around. A poetic story about the friendship between a boy and his dog that will appeal to lots of readers. 


Ali and the Sea Stars

Ali Stroker is the very first Broadway actress to appear on stage in a wheelchair. In her first picture book, she draws on personal experiences to inspire anyone who dares to dream big. The story centers around a talented little girl who can sing, dance and act. With the encouragement of her friends and family, she decides to make her directorial debut and put on her very own show. There is so much to be done, from holding auditions to designing the set.  But Ali proves that with hard work and the right attitude, nothing can stand in her way.


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Why Read Picture Books for Kids about Wheelchairs 

Most picture books for children show able-bodied characters going about their business. For kids who are confined to a wheelchair, parents should seek out books that also show kids who are just like them. Even for non-disabled kids, it's important for them to see illustrations of kids in wheelchairs across the pages of books they read. By normalizing disabilities, children will develop empathy while also learning that these kids are not nearly as different as they might seem. 

Check out these best-selling children's books about disabilities.





Wheelchair Toys and Gifts for Kids

Life is full of challenges for kids who don't have use of their legs. Parents of disabled children invest a lot of time seeking out wheelchair accessible activities outside of the home. At the same time, it's important to provide children with wheelchair toys and figures. The more opportunities they have to engage in playtime that embraces their disability, the more normal and included they will feel.  


Wheelchair and Crutch Set

Compatible with wrestling action figures, Barbie sets, and many other toys. This set includes a wheelchair, crutches, gurney and leg casts.


Incredibles Car Cover for Wheelchair

Convert a child's wheelchair into a car based on The Incredibles. This easy-to-assemble kit includes support bars and felt car pieces with logo. Perfect as a Halloween costume or every day imaginary playtime.



Doll Wheelchair, Crutches and Accessories

This adorable set is compatible with 18-inch dolls. Children will love playing with the crutches, pushing their doll around in the wheelchair, and putting the cast on a broken leg. This wheelchair toy not only encourages imaginary play, but it's a valuable gift for kids who also live the life on wheels.


Playmobil Patient in Wheelchair

A great stand-alone toy or addition to a larger Playmobil toy. This figure in a wheelchair comes with lots of fun accessories. 




Barbie Ken with Wheelchair and Ramp

Ken comes with a wheelchair that rolls forwward, backward, and has working breaks. A ramp that is compatible with the Barbie Dreamhouse  (which includes wheelchair accessible elevator) comes with this inclusive set.


Princess Lap Tray

 This Disney princess tray fits snugly into the lap of a child in a wheelchair. Perfect for coloring, working on homework, eating a snack, or many other activities.




Playmobil Handicap Accessible School

A fantastic toy for hours of imaginary play! This set comes with lots of accessories, and best of all, there are ramps and large bathroom stalls that easily accommodate figures in wheelchairs.




Barbie Becky Special Edition

 Even a Barbie in a wheelchair is a glamorous woman who has an active lifestyle. This iconic line of toys always includes dolls who are fashionable and have long, luscious locks. This doll just happens to have a wheelchair as an extra-special accessory.


Friends With Diverse Abilities Figure Set

An excellent strategy for promoting inclusivity in children is by seeking out toys that represent all kinds of people. The set of sturdy figures includes a a young man in a wheelchair partipating in a game of basketball. It's an important toy that shows children that kids with disabilities can enjoy playing sports, too.



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