10 books like Emmanuel's Dream

By Laurie Ann Thompson, Sean Qualls (illustrator),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Emmanuel's Dream. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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All the Way to the Top

By Annette Bay Pimentel, Nabi Ali (illustrator),

Book cover of All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

This book, for me, is important as the first trade nonfiction picture book about the fight for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I hope and assume more books on this topic are in the pipeline, as there is so much more to share with kids about this crucial social justice movement! Jennifer Keenan’s story is great for kids because she was a kid herself when she crawled up the U.S. Capitol steps to fight for disability rights. This book offers an inspiring, personal entryway into the disability rights movement and the importance of having laws and systems to back up beliefs about access for all.

All the Way to the Top

By Annette Bay Pimentel, Nabi Ali (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked All the Way to the Top as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2021 Schneider Family Book Award Young Children's Honor Book (American Library Association)
Experience the true story of lifelong activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and her participation in the Capitol Crawl in this inspiring autobiographical picture book. This beautifully illustrated story includes a foreword from Jennifer and backmatter detailing her life and the history of the disability rights movement.
This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her.
Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change-even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but…


Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

By Sonia Sotomayor, Rafael López (illustrator),

Book cover of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

I love this picture book that plants compassion, comfort, and connection for kids with all kinds of disabilities. Starting with author (and Supreme Court Justice!) Sonia Sotomayor’s own story of living with diabetes, then award-winning illustrator Rafael López’s story of living with asthma, it introduces readers in first person to an array of diverse kids with various visible and invisible disabilities. Using questions to help make each child relatable and allowing many children to see themselves in a book for the first time, this book opens hearts and minds.

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

By Sonia Sotomayor, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges - and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to…


I Am Not a Label

By Cerrie Burnell, Lauren Mark Baldo (illustrator),

Book cover of I Am Not a Label: 34 Disabled Artists, Thinkers, Athletes and Activists from Past and Present

I chose this illustrated collected biography because it highlights a wonderfully diverse array of real people living with visible and invisible disabilities. Featuring both famous and non-famous people of various races, genders, and sexualities, with both physical and mental health conditions, it’s incredibly inclusive. The people’s stories, at one page or less, are short enough to keep kids’ attention and the back matter includes an important glossary of terms for talking about disabilities. This book celebrates many different ways people live and work with disabilities and encourages openness and inclusion.

I Am Not a Label

By Cerrie Burnell, Lauren Mark Baldo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Not a Label as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Intelligent, politically bold, and beautiful to browse [...] Every bookshelf needs a copy." - Disability Arts Online

In this stylishly illustrated biography anthology, meet 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities, from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.

These short biographies tell the stories of people who have faced unique challenges which have not stopped them from becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates and makers. Each person is a leading figure…


I Talk Like a River

By Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith (illustrator),

Book cover of I Talk Like a River

When my oldest son was little, he was so nervous that he began to stutter. I thought it would be a problem for him, but luckily it was just a phase. That is why the theme of the book, in which the author recalls his childhood as a stuttering child, caught my attention. Regardless of the problem, I think we can all identify with that child who feels vulnerable, who fights against himself, and who accepts himself. We have all felt this way in childhood. And now as adults, we can identify with that father, who serenely accompanies and supports his son. The illustrations are beautiful, they are fresh, expressive, and perfectly reflect the feelings of the protagonist.

I Talk Like a River

By Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked I Talk Like a River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner

 
What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to?
 
Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.

A New York Times Best Children's Book of the Year

I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me.

And I can't say them all . . .

When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he'd…


Malala

By Raphaële Frier, Aurélia Fronty (illustrator),

Book cover of Malala: Activist for Girls' Education

Malala Yousafzai inspires me because she never lost sight of the importance of education and continues to work for justice in the world. Malala was a young student in Pakistan when the Taliban took over her nation and prohibited girls from going to school. Malala spoke out against Taliban actions, advocating for universal education. That was enough to make the Taliban afraid of her. They tried to kill her; she almost died in the attempted assassination. That would have caused many people to retreat in fear, but not Malala. Once she recovered, she became an even more outspoken activist for female education and won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Malala

By Raphaële Frier, Aurélia Fronty (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malala as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A realistic and inspiring look at Malala Yousafzai's childhood in Taliban-controlled Pakistan and her struggle to ensure education for girls" — Kirkus Reviews

Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. When she was just fifteen-years old, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age eighteen Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ensure the education of all children around the world.

Malala’s courage and conviction will inspire young readers in this…


Six Dots

By Jen Bryant, Boris Kulikov (illustrator),

Book cover of Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

I enjoy stories of people whose imaginations lead them to invent something important for humankind. Louis Braille, for instance, who became blind in a childhood accident. When he attended the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, no books existed for him to read. Building on the work of earlier educators, by the time he was fifteen years old Braille created a raised dot system by which visually impaired people could read books.

I love this book because Braille used the adversity of his blindness to make a difference for generations of visually impaired persons who have been able to enjoy reading books by Braille.

Six Dots

By Jen Bryant, Boris Kulikov (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six Dots as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille—a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.

**Winner of a Schneider Family Book Award!**
 
Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.
 
Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.
 
And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that…


The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

By Julia Finley Mosca, Daniel Rieley (illustrator),

Book cover of The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

I love this picture book because it's based on a true story! The girl in this picture book was diagnosed with autism. She overcame this disability and has made improvements in the world around her. This story will inspire anyone who thinks differently to know that they have something to offer the world.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

By Julia Finley Mosca, Daniel Rieley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl Who Thought in Pictures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NSTA Best STEM Books for K-12 Selection
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books Selection
Dolly Gray Children's Literature Award Recipient
A Mighty Girl Book of the Year


If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes!

When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals…


The Story of Helen Keller

By Christine Platt,

Book cover of The Story of Helen Keller: A Biography Book for New Readers

When I was a child The Miracle Worker (the film based on Helen Keller’s life) had a profound influence on me. I couldn’t imagine being a deaf and blind child in the 1880s when there were not many resources for deaf-blind people. How would it feel to be unable to communicate with other people? I cheered for Helen’s teacher and friend, Annie Sullivan, who helped Helen unlock a new way of communicating. Keller’s world opened up and she was able to share her remarkable intellect and unusual experience with generations of readers. Keller was the first deaf-blind college graduate and ended up becoming a famous author, teacher, and humanitarian. 

The Story of Helen Keller

By Christine Platt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of Helen Keller as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Help kids ages 6 to 9
discover the life of Helen Keller―a story about hope, courage, and finding your voice

Helen Keller became a celebrated author, educator, and activist who believed in equality for people with disabilities. Before she made history as the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college, Helen was a smart kid who loved learning. She overcame many challenges to learn how to read, write, and talk. She spoke up for other people with disabilities so they could get equal rights. Explore how Helen Keller went from being a young girl in Alabama to the…


Homegoing

By Yaa Gyasi,

Book cover of Homegoing

A recent read for me, and an unforgettable one. Homegoing is a family saga stemming from two African half-sisters who never meet. This beautifully written book delves deeply into difficult topics and leaves the reader feeling as if they have undergone the same long and arduous journey. 

Homegoing

By Yaa Gyasi,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Homegoing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BBC Top 100 Novels that Shaped Our World

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.…


Ghana Must Go

By Taiye Selasi,

Book cover of Ghana Must Go

A propulsive, elegant novel that goes back and forth in time remembering the progressive scattering of a family across the globe because of a singular decision by its patriarch – to leave – and then charting their coming back together. It moved me, putting its finger on the meaning of family in a way that felt true and specific to my own experiences as a son and a brother.

Ghana Must Go

By Taiye Selasi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghana Must Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "buoyant" and "rapturous" debut novel (The Wall Street Journal) about the transformative power of unconditional love

Electric, exhilarating, and beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go introduces the world to Taiye Selasi, a novelist of extraordinary talent. In a sweeping narrative that takes readers from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, it is at once a portrait of a modern family and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are.

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Ghana, people with disabilities, and disability?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Ghana, people with disabilities, and disability.

Ghana Explore 16 books about Ghana
People With Disabilities Explore 46 books about people with disabilities
Disability Explore 46 books about disability