78 books like Understanding Learning and Related Disabilities

By Martha Bridge Denckla,

Here are 78 books that Understanding Learning and Related Disabilities fans have personally recommended if you like Understanding Learning and Related Disabilities. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Little Ones of Silent Movies

Ann Lewin-Benham Author Of Parsley: A Love Story of a Child for Puppy and Plants

From my list on how infants and toddlers develop literacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by children’s language development and am a word hound. For over five decades I’ve been a teacher, teacher trainer, school founder/director, mentor, founder/executive director of a large children’s museum; author of 6 classic textbooks on how children think and learn, and author/self-publisher of one of my many story-poems. My passions are writing, studying new findings in brain development, and launching top-quality schools in underserved urban areas. Between 1969 and 1990, I founded six schools, five still running, three as private non-profit schools and two as essential entities (one called the “safety-net") in their public school systems. The MELC is the only U.S. school accredited by Reggio's founders.

Ann's book list on how infants and toddlers develop literacy

Ann Lewin-Benham Why did Ann love this book?

At Gianni Rodare Scuola for 3-month to 3-year-olds, I watched 2 to 3-year-olds draw, a year-long project described in the book The Little Ones of Silent Movies by Loris Malaguzzi and Tiziana Filippini: The authors explain:

“Children are born with “insuppressible, vital, eager urges to build conversational friendships... Words that come later are not a sudden event born from nothing but emerge from a submerged silent laboratory of attempts, trials, and experiments in communication using tools children constantly improve through long preparation. The results—words and drawings—show the strong desire to communicate and interact, basic traits of children.”

I love this book because its text explains and drawings show the roots of language. It inspired me to observe babies more closely and introduce paints and markers.

Book cover of The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

Asya Pereltsvaig Author Of Languages of the World: An Introduction

From my list on how human language works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by languages since my teenage years, when, in addition to my native Russian, I learned English, French, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew, and Esperanto to varying degrees of fluency. But it was in college that I decided to pursue linguistics as a profession, in part influenced by one of the books on my list! After 20 years of doing scientific research and teaching linguistics at different universities, I switched gears and now focus on bringing linguistic science to the general audience of lifelong learners. Even if you don’t change your career, like I did, I hope you enjoy reading the books on my list as much as I have!  

Asya's book list on how human language works

Asya Pereltsvaig Why did Asya love this book?

This book is why I decided to become a professional linguist! It’s a classic: it set the bar high for writing about language in a way that’s scientifically accurate yet gripping.

I was utterly mesmerized by a myriad of things Pinker talks about, like Nicaraguan Sign Language, Broca’s area in the brain, and the workings of words like “riff-raff” and “ding-dong” (and why we don’t say “raff-riff” or “dong-ding”). I also love the author’s fascination with, and admiration for, the beauty and complexity of human language and of the human mind. 

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Dazzling... Pinker's big idea is that language is an instinct...as innate to us as flying is to geese... Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations'
- Independent

'A marvellously readable book... illuminates every facet of human language: its biological origin, its uniqueness to humanity, it acquisition by children, its grammatical structure, the production and perception of speech, the pathology of language disorders and the unstoppable evolution of languages and dialects' - Nature


Book cover of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

Norbert Schmitt Author Of Language Power: 100 Things You Need to Make Language Work for You

From my list on learning and using language well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career in 1988 as an English language teacher in Japan. I originally went for a one-year adventure, but soon found myself fascinated by language, and how it is learned and used. This eventually led to a professorship at the University of Nottingham, where I have the good fortune to consult on language issues worldwide. I have researched language extensively, but all of my previous publications were meant for an academic/educational audience. I wanted to produce a book for general readership which outlines all that I have learned in 35 years of language research, and Language Power is the result. I hope you find it useful in your language-based life. 

Norbert's book list on learning and using language well

Norbert Schmitt Why did Norbert love this book?

When researching my book, I consulted many books on literacy, but this is the one I liked the best.

Many books describe ways to improve reading and writing ability (especially for children), but this one goes beyond that and explains why we need to do them. The answers lie in the way the brain functions, and how it adapted to handle written language over the ages; in essence, how the brain learned to read and write. If we understand that, then the paths towards improving literacy (both child and adult), and addressing problems like dyslexia, become much clearer. 

Maryanne Wolf masterfully weaves historical, psychological, and educational perspectives together to present a fascinating window into the world of reading and writing. Read the book, and the reason for the quirky title soon becomes clear.

By Maryanne Wolf,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Proust and the Squid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Everything about [this] book, which combines a healthy dose of lucid neuroscience with a dash of sensitive personal narrative, delights ... a beautifully balanced piece of popular-science writing' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'For people interested in language, this is a must. You'll find yourself focusing on words in new ways. Read it slowly - it will take time to sink in.'William Leith, Sunday Telegraph
'An inspiring celebration of the science of reading.' P.D. Smith, Guardian

'We were never born to read', says Maryanne Wolf. 'No specific genes ever dictated reading's development. Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago.…


Book cover of From Two to Five

Ann Lewin-Benham Author Of Parsley: A Love Story of a Child for Puppy and Plants

From my list on how infants and toddlers develop literacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by children’s language development and am a word hound. For over five decades I’ve been a teacher, teacher trainer, school founder/director, mentor, founder/executive director of a large children’s museum; author of 6 classic textbooks on how children think and learn, and author/self-publisher of one of my many story-poems. My passions are writing, studying new findings in brain development, and launching top-quality schools in underserved urban areas. Between 1969 and 1990, I founded six schools, five still running, three as private non-profit schools and two as essential entities (one called the “safety-net") in their public school systems. The MELC is the only U.S. school accredited by Reggio's founders.

Ann's book list on how infants and toddlers develop literacy

Ann Lewin-Benham Why did Ann love this book?

Kornei Chukovsky, leading Russian children’s poet, in his book From Two to Five, describes children’s “whimsical, elusive thinking—original, picturesque, amusing speech.” "Children two to five are earth’s most inquisitive creatures with questions evoked by the mind’s tireless need to comprehend its surroundings.” I know of no other author who so brilliantly captures children’s own words. I read this book over and over for inspiration.

By Kornei Chukovsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Two to Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1963.


Book cover of The Real Riley Mayes

Brandon T. Snider Author Of Rube Goldberg and His Amazing Machines

From my list on middle-grade reads full of humor & heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who was both a funny kid and a lover of superheroes, it was always exciting to find a book where those two things crossed paths. In the young readers' books I’ve written for Marvel and DC Comics, I always try to inject humor where I can. Humor can be healing. If I couldn’t laugh, especially about things that have caused me pain, I don’t know that I would be around today. I love books about funny, sensitive kids with big hearts. The world is a cold place sometimes, but whenever I see a young person making positive change and having fun along the way, it reminds me that anything is possible.

Brandon's book list on middle-grade reads full of humor & heart

Brandon T. Snider Why did Brandon love this book?

Riley Mays is a little weirdo. I say that with love! I was also a little weirdo when I was her age. And, just like a lot of little weirdos around the world, her peers don’t always “get her,” which can be tough since she’s desperate to fit in. Been there too, girl.

What I admire about Riley is that, after some consternation, she slowly sheds her insecurities and dives head-first into being her truest self. It’s terrifying, exhilarating, and not without complications! But Riley’s sense of humor keeps her afloat, which, as any fan of comedy will tell you, is the key to survival.

It’s the sweetest feeling in the world to find your people. Author Rachel Elliot shows us how to do it.

By Rachel Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Real Riley Mayes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A Stonewall Book Award Honor * A Sid Fleishman Humor Award Honor

Funny and full of heart, this debut graphic novel is a story about friendship, identity, and embracing all the parts of yourself that make you special.

Fifth grade is just not Riley's vibe. Everyone else is squaded up-except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it.

One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to…


Book cover of The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing

Adele Bates Author Of "Miss, I Don’t Give a Sh*t" Engaging With Challenging Behaviour in Schools

From my list on to shift challenging behaviour in schools.

Why am I passionate about this?

Adele Bates is a Behaviour & Education Specialist who empowers school leaders and teachers to support pupils with behavioural needs and SEMH to thrive with their education. She’s an International Keynote Speaker, a featured expert on teenagers and behaviour for BBC Radio 4, the author of "Miss, I Don't Give A Sh*t", Engaging with Challenging Behaviour in Schools, from Sage & Corwin Press, and is a fully-funded International Researcher on Behaviour & Inclusion, as well as teaching for nearly 20 years. For her tips and resources check out her website above.

Adele's book list on to shift challenging behaviour in schools

Adele Bates Why did Adele love this book?

Whichever way you look at it behaviour of our pupils, is linked to our behaviour - and everyone's behaviour is linked to the wellbeing of an individual and a community...and whilst as educators we know this in theory, the how-to often stumps us. This guide - with 26 expert contributors, covers the wellbeing topic from every angle. Whilst I have experience of what wellbeing looks like in education from some perspectives, what I enjoyed about this book is that it invites me (in small easy, accessible chunks) to get to know about other areas where my blindspots come in.

By Kimberley Evans (editor), Thérèse Hoyle (editor), Bukky Yusuf (editor) , Frederika Roberts (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your essential guide to wellbeing in education.

Despite many school leaders and teaching and non-teaching staff working hard to support children's and their own wellbeing, more needs to be done. This book provides you with the necessary tools and strategies to navigate your way through the changing educational landscape and shape the schools of the future. Written by a diverse range of experts in the field, it explores how all school staff can support their own, their colleagues' and their students' wellbeing, how leaders can lead well and be well, and the importance of relationships within the entire school community…


Book cover of Nightlights

Stephanie Cooke Author Of Paranorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse

From my list on magical middle-grade graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was obsessed with the fantastical, especially when it came to books. I was constantly trying to find my own door to Narnia to go off on an incredible adventure. While I never found a door that led to another world, I found that books offered me a similar experience…and all from the comfort of my fave places to read. Magic is still something I’m enthralled with and love exploring in books I read as well as the ones I write. And these are some of my favorite magical graphic novels.

Stephanie's book list on magical middle-grade graphic novels

Stephanie Cooke Why did Stephanie love this book?

This story plays more on our own insecurities and how that can take on a form of its own that torments us. Young people don’t always have the experience to put to words the things they’re feeling but not knowing if we’re good enough and the anxiety that stems from that is very relatable and universal. Lorena Alvarez does an incredible job of telling a story that weaves that in while presenting stunning, jaw-dropping art to her audience.

By Lorena Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nightlights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in Sandy's bedroom.
Sandy catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room. One day, a mysterious pale girl called Morfie appears at school and is fascinated by Sandy's drawings in a way that no one else has been before. But there is a price to pay for this new friendship...


Book cover of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Shannon Gibney Author Of See No Color

From my list on YA and MG about the Black experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories and storytelling of all kinds – from YA to memoir to journalism to children's picture books. If there is a story worth telling I will pursue it, regardless of genre. I'm particularly fascinated by stories that are out of the mainstream, are hidden, or come from people and cultures at the intersections of place, race, and gender. See No Color, about a mixed Black girl adopted into a white family, was my first YA novel, and it was followed by Dream Country, which chronicles five generations of a Liberian and Liberian American family. I co-edited an anthology on BIPOC women's experiences with miscarriage and infant loss, What God Is Honored Here?

Shannon's book list on YA and MG about the Black experience

Shannon Gibney Why did Shannon love this book?

In 10 short stories set in a single neighborhood in the city, Jason Reynolds skillfully paints a layered picture of adolescence. Each story features a different block in the neighborhood, and a different group of kids confronting bullies, trying to tell their crushes how they feel, and generally inelegantly negotiating the wilds of growing up. The characters are as funny as they are believable, and their approaches to the issues they face will elicit compassion from any reader. 

By Jason Reynolds, Alexander Nabaum (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Look Both Ways as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Carnegie Medal winner
A National Book Award Finalist
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Time Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Today Show Best Kids’ Book of 2019
A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
“As innovative as it is emotionally arresting.” —Entertainment Weekly

From National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason…


Book cover of Geeger the Robot to the Rescue

Stephanie Calmenson Author Of Our Principal Is a Frog!

From my list on funny easy-to-read chapter books in a series.

Why am I passionate about this?

I landed my dream job teaching kindergarten in a Brooklyn public school, but it soon ended thanks to citywide budget cuts.  Wanting to continue connecting with children, I made my way into children's book publishing first as an editor, later as a writer.  I've now written over 100 books including Dinner at the Panda Palace (PBS StoryTime book); May I Pet Your Dog? (Horn Book Fanfare); Dozens of Dachshunds (Scholastic Book Club selection); the Our Principal series (S&S Quix books); and The Adventures of Allie and Amy series, written with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole. I found my new dream job teaching, entertaining, and encouraging children through books.

Stephanie's book list on funny easy-to-read chapter books in a series

Stephanie Calmenson Why did Stephanie love this book?

"Greee-TINGS BEST FRIEND IN THE MILK- eee waaay," says Geeger the Robot. Greetings, Geeger! When Geeger's efforts to cheer his friend Tillie fail, he computes information offered by their teacher to find the best way to help. With Geeger by her side, it's hard for Tillie—or any reader—to be down in the dumps for long. Jarrett Lerner's book is filled with heart and humor and, happily, this book is part of a series. 

By Jarrett Lerner, Serge Seidlitz (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geeger the Robot to the Rescue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

For fans of the Bots books comes the adventures of Geeger, a robot whose best friend needs his help in the third story in a fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book series that’s perfect for emerging readers!

Geeger’s best friend, Tillie, is having a bad day and he wants to cheer her up. But sharing snacks and jokes aren’t working. How will Geeger make Tillie smile again?


Book cover of Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers

Sally J. Pla Author Of The Someday Birds

From my list on neurodiversity and autism representation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up undiagnosed autistic. I got excellent grades and never caused much trouble, so no one could tell what was going on inside. But sensory overload and confusion over social dynamics kept me in a bewildering muddle. Books and stories are what helped me through! But there were no stories featuring neurodivergent kids like me, so, as an adult, I resolved to write some. I want to bust stigmas and write honest, fun, heartfelt stories for kids who might be going through their own ‘bewildering muddles.’ Now, I'm an award-winning author of several children's novels and a picture book. I'm also co-founder/editor of A Novel Mind, a web resource on mental health and neurodiversity in children's literature.

Sally's book list on neurodiversity and autism representation

Sally J. Pla Why did Sally love this book?

Young Gwendolyn Rogers struggles in middle school and with friends. She’s impulsive and makes poor decisions – and longs for a clear diagnosis of ADHD. Author Caela Carter, who has ADHD herself, lets us slip inside her character in such a fascinating way. We see how much Gwendolyn longs to get things right, how much she cares about her family and friends, even though she makes mistakes and does things to annoy them.

By Caela Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifty-Four Things Wrong with Gwendolyn Rogers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of the ALA Notable and Charlotte Huck Honor Book Forever, or a Long, Long Time comes a moving own-voices story that shines a light on how one girl’s learning differences are neither right nor wrong…just perfectly individual. For fans of Alyson Gerber, Cammie McGovern, and Kathryn Erskine.

No one can figure out what Gwendolyn Rogers’s problem is—not her mom, or her teachers, or any of the many therapists she’s seen. But Gwendolyn knows she doesn’t have just one thing wrong with her: she has fifty-four.

At least, according to a confidential school report (that she…


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