The most recommended books about amputation

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to amputation, and here are their favorite amputation books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of amputation book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Izzy, Willy-Nilly

Faye Gibbons Author Of Halley

From my list on coming-of-age for almost any age.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my life I’ve been pushing against limits. Being the oldest of five children born to a farm couple who became mill workers, I was frequently reminded by family that “people like us” did not need much education, didn’t get the good jobs, and shouldn’t “rise above themselves.” Being a girl, I had additional limits. Naturally, when I learned to read, I was drawn to books in which characters broke through unfair restraints to have adventures and accomplish great deeds. I wanted to be one of those people. By the time I came of age, I knew I had a shot at becoming the heroine of my own story!

Faye's book list on coming-of-age for almost any age

Faye Gibbons Why did Faye love this book?

Izzy is a nice girl. She’s pretty, popular, and smart. But one ride with a drunk driver changes her entire life. With one leg amputated, she must embrace a new life and find new friends who see her as more than a girl with a handicap. I liked Izzy so much, and it was thrilling to see her believably move on with her life. I see disabled young people with different eyes since reading Izzy’s story.

By Cynthia Voigt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Izzy, Willy-Nilly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10.

What is this book about?

One moment can change a life forever.
Fifteen-year-old Izzy has it all -- a loving family, terrific friends, a place on the cheerleading squad. But her comfortable world crumbles when a date with a senior ends in a car crash and she loses her right leg.
Suddenly nothing is the same. The simplest tasks become enormous challenges. Her friends don't seem to know how to act around her. Her family is supportive, but they don't really want to deal with how much she's hurting.
Then Rosamunde extends a prickly offer of friendship. Rosamunde definitely isn't the kind of girl Izzy…


Book cover of Finding Balance

Kate Larkindale Author Of Stumped

From my list on YA with amputee characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a YA writer who likes to tackle difficult subject matter. My books cover things like euthanasia, drug abuse, coming out, and accessing sex as someone with a disability. If my books are found by even just one person who needs to see themselves in a story, then I feel like my job is done.

Kate's book list on YA with amputee characters

Kate Larkindale Why did Kate love this book?

This book deals with two different experiences of being a cancer survivor which is not something I've seen in a book before. I liked the way the book explored the idea of visible and invisible disabilities and how people view them differently. It's not a subject I've seen covered often in YA books and it's something so many people deal with every day. Jase was a jerk through a lot of the book, but I felt like this behavior was realistic given his past and his desire not to be seen through the cancer lens. His growth through the book was the most significant and it was gratifying to see the way his friendship with Mari changed his perspective on the world and his place in it.

By Kati Gardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jase Ellison doesnt remember having acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was three years old. His cancer diagnosis only enters his mind twice a year. Once at his yearly checkup at the oncology clinic and one when he attends Camp Chemo in the summer. No one in his real life knows about his past, especially his friends at Atlanta West Prep. Mari Manos has never been able to hide her cancer survivorship. She wakes every morning, grabs her pink forearm clip crutches, and starts her day. Mari loves Camp Chemowhere shes developed a healthy crush on fellow camper Jase. At Camp,…


Book cover of Moon Brow

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Moon Brow describes the social tensions between ideals of freedom, religion, and authoritarianism that provoked Iran’s 1978 revolution, but only increased under Islamic rule. Amir, a formerly rich, wild playboy, flogged by the morality police after a drunken orgy, joins the army to escape shame and find meaning for his life in the brutal and futile 10-year war against Iraq. Commanding artillery in the borderland, he encounters the mysterious, sprite-like woman he calls “Moon Brow,” who, after an Iraqi shell maims him, becomes a magical force in his PTSD hallucinations. Her true identity will come as a rebuke for his comparatively pointless existence, while his sister’s spurning of her rich, pretentious suitor will be another rebuke, of his machismo. A brilliant evocation of the illusions that sustain violence.

By Shahriar Mandanipour, Sara Khalili (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From “one of Iran's most important living fiction writers” (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who’s searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams.

Before he enlisted as a soldier in the Iran–Iraq War and disappeared, Amir Yamini was a carefree playboy whose only concerns were seducing women and riling his religious family. Five years later, his mother and sister Reyhaneh find him in a mental hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, his left arm and most of his memory lost. Amir is…


Book cover of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Kate Larkindale Author Of Stumped

From my list on YA with amputee characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a YA writer who likes to tackle difficult subject matter. My books cover things like euthanasia, drug abuse, coming out, and accessing sex as someone with a disability. If my books are found by even just one person who needs to see themselves in a story, then I feel like my job is done.

Kate's book list on YA with amputee characters

Kate Larkindale Why did Kate love this book?

Minnow is a fascinating character having narrowly escaped the cult she’s been living in for twelve years. They took her hands, but she’s alive and away from the daily cruelties the cult subjected her to. The authorities want her to tell them everything, but Minnow wants her freedom and won’t give up her secrets for anything less. So she’s stuck in a detention center with too much time to remember the events that led to her escape and the carnage she left behind.

By Stephanie Oakes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brought to the Community at age five, the cult has taken so much from Minnow: her childhood, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took her hands, too. Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something -but she's not talking. Sent to juvie, Minnow must learn how to survive in a new situation, and she struggles to make sense of the events that have landed her there


Book cover of A Burnt-Out Case

Joe Kilgore Author Of Misfortune’s Wake

From my list on expat adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

In a previous career, I traveled extensively to many parts of the world. I always found new cultures, old traditions, strange languages, and exotic environments fascinating. Perhaps even more fascinating, were the expats I found who had traded in their home country for an existence far from where they were born and different from how they were reared. In many instances, I’ve attempted to incorporate—in Heinlein’s words—this stranger in a strange land motif in my work. It always seems to heighten my interest. I hope the reader’s as well. 

Joe's book list on expat adventures

Joe Kilgore Why did Joe love this book?

Graham Greene is considered by many to be the acknowledged master of expat tales. This is actually one of his lesser-known novels. It tells the story of Querry, an internationally famous architect suffering from terminal ennui. Life no longer holds meaning for him, or even pleasure. He takes a boat up river in Africa to its last stop, a leper village in the Congo. There, he attempts to lose himself by helping the indigenous afflicted, and in so doing begins to cure his own ills as well. But fate and the white community can’t let well enough alone. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Burnt-Out Case as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GILES FODEN

Querry, a world famous architect, is the victim of a terrible attack of indifference: he no longer finds meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a 'burnt-out case', a leper mutilated by disease and amputation. Querry slowly moves towards a cure, his mind getting clearer as he works for the colony. However, in the heat of the tropics, no relationship with a married woman, will ever be taken as innocent...


Book cover of What Happened to You?

Wanda Luthman Author Of Gloria and the Unicorn

From my list on kids with disabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and I currently work as a High School Guidance Counselor for the past 25 years. I love kids and I love helping them to understand and love themselves and helping them to love and accept others as well. These books, even though the target audience is young (0-11 years old), older kids and adults can learn something from them as well. Sometimes a simple message is more powerful than a bunch of words.

Wanda's book list on kids with disabilities

Wanda Luthman Why did Wanda love this book?

This book is awesome because often when children see someone who is different from them, they ask a question that can be considered rude or hurtful without them meaning to be rude or hurtful. They are just being curious. This book shows how that sort of question can be hurtful and shows children another more important way to interact with someone who is different and that is with empathy.

By James Catchpole, Karen George (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What Happened to You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first ever picture book addressing how a disabled child might want to be spoken to.

What happened to you? Was it a shark? A burglar? A lion? Did it fall off?

Every time Joe goes out the questions are the same . . . what happened to his leg? But is this even a question Joe has to answer?

A ground-breaking, funny story that helps children understand what it might feel like to be seen as different.

'A revolutionary book on disability.' Inclusive Storytime

'Catchpole's beautifully judged, child-friendly words ably evoke the fatigue and wariness of repeatedly being asked…


Book cover of Olympic Gold for Cat and Toby

Valerie Ormond Author Of Believing In Horses Out West

From my list on horses and their humans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in love with horses since I was a toddler and have read more horse books than I can count. My favorite books are about horses and their humans – the bond that holds us together. No other animal reads a human’s soul like the horse does, and it’s one of the reasons for their success in equine-assisted activities and therapy programs. I’ve written horse stories since childhood and am proud of my three award-winning books in the Believing In Horses series featuring horse rescue, equine assisted activities, show competition, and dude ranches. I hope to create and inspire more horse and human connections through my stories.

Valerie's book list on horses and their humans

Valerie Ormond Why did Valerie love this book?

Olympic Gold for Toby and Cat is a middle-grade book about a young girl suffering a tragedy and discovering her strengths through perseverance. After Cat wakes up in the hospital with an amputated leg below the knee, she wants to give up. With therapeutic riding, the tables start to turn.

But everything does not go well at the farm. Cat is conspicuously aware of her injury, and a mean rival doesn’t make things easy for her. Cat’s ready to call it quits until she’s introduced to Toby, a black and white pinto horse who will change her attitude and help her reach for new dreams. Author Sharon Roberts knows both horses and people as the founder of the wildly popular Aging Horsewomen Intl.™ Facebook Page with over 57,000 dedicated members!

By Sharon Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Olympic Gold for Cat and Toby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the uplifting story of a girl's struggle to find herself after tragedy nearly destroys her life. Fourteen-year-old Cat has devoted her life to figure skating and worked tirelessly for Olympic Gold. While driving home from a skating competition, she and her dad are involved in an accident. Cat awakens in the hospital and learns the worst has happened: Her father is dead and her left leg was amputated below the knee.

Caitlin sinks into a depression, A family doctor suggests hippotherapy. Reluctantly, Caitlin consents to therapeutic riding. Inspired by the sight of a horse and rider practicing on…


Book cover of The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel

Charline Davis Author Of Rowtu: The New Horizon

From Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Dog lover Artist Dreamer Classical singer

Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Charline Davis Why did Charline love this book?

For all the writers out there, this picture book is an exploration of the “unspeakable horror of the literary life.”

Edward Gorey, in his signature macabre manner, conveys the unconveyable as he takes us through this deceptively insightful story of an author’s journey from the first page, revisions, and finally publication…leaving us to wonder what exactly it is that draws us authors to the lonely aching, hallucinations, and general ennui of the writing life…but loving it all the way!

This was Edward Gorey’s first published book and has his signature pen and ink illustrations in all of their listless glory. A hilarious and relatable read!

By Edward Gorey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On November 18th of alternate years Mr Earbrass begins writing 'his new novel.' Weeks ago he chose its title at random from a list of them he keeps in a little green note-book. It being tea-time of the 17th, he is alarmed not to have thought of a plot to which The Unstrung Harp might apply, but his mind will keep reverting to the last biscuit on the plate." So begins what the Times Literary Supplement called "a small masterpiece." TUH is a look at the literary life and its "attendant woes: isolation, writer's block, professional jealousy, and plain boredom."…


Book cover of The Opposite of Falling Apart

Kate Larkindale Author Of Stumped

From my list on YA with amputee characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a YA writer who likes to tackle difficult subject matter. My books cover things like euthanasia, drug abuse, coming out, and accessing sex as someone with a disability. If my books are found by even just one person who needs to see themselves in a story, then I feel like my job is done.

Kate's book list on YA with amputee characters

Kate Larkindale Why did Kate love this book?

I really enjoyed this book. Both main characters had real problems to deal with and the ways they coped and reacted felt authentic, even when they frustrated me. Jonas and Brennan are sweet kids and I was rooting for them to work out ways to overcome their issues and realize they were better together than they were on their own.  I also liked that their parents were part of the picture and were just as clumsy in the way they dealt with their kids' problems as their kids. It was clear they really loved them and wanted the best for them, but they were no better prepared to deal with these issues.

By Micah Good,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Opposite of Falling Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To get back up sometimes you have to fall down, hard . . .

What's the point of pretending nothing has changed when everything has? It's the last summer before college, and Jonas Avery knows he should be excited. Instead, he hides out at home, avoiding his friends, his family, and everything that resembles his old life. Because nothing will be normal again―because of The Accident, when everything started falling apart.

Brennan Davis knows she needs to stand up and face her anxiety―the deep, dark, debilitating dread that rules her everyday life. Because what stops her from going out into…


Book cover of Alfred and Emily

William Lee Adams Author Of Wild Dances: My Queer and Curious Journey to Eurovision

From my list on surviving dysfunctional families.

Why am I passionate about this?

I sometimes joke that the greatest gift my parents gave me was a troubled childhood. Difficult circumstances taught me about patience and gave me the grit to persevere. My mother’s mood swings and my brother’s violent outbursts turned me into a shrewd observer of people and their unpredictable behavior. That led me to study psychology at Harvard, where so much research seemed to boil down to one goal: giving people context to understand why they act and behave in particular ways. As a journalist who has interviewed thousands of people across dozens of countries, the theme of family – and how we sometimes have to overcome them – remains as salient as ever.

William's book list on surviving dysfunctional families

William Lee Adams Why did William love this book?

I interviewed Doris Lessing about her memoir Alfred & Emily at her home in London in 2008. She was 88 years old, but was still trying to break free of the “monstrous legacy” of World War II, which had left her father, Alfred, broken and her mother, Emily, “demented.”

Growing up in colonial Rhodesia, she was more comfortable in the bush with wild snakes than she was at home with her troubled parents. Yet she acknowledges what they could have been had history not been so cruel. I’ve tried to apply that same grace to my parents, who met during the Vietnam War and later struggled to care for my severely disabled brother.

Acknowledging my parents’ war wounds, as Lessing did with hers, helped pave the way for forgiveness.

By Doris Lessing,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I think my father's rage at the trenches took me over, when I was very young, and has never left me. Do children feel their parents' emotions? Yes, we do, and it is a legacy I could have done without. What is the use of it? It is as if that old war is in my own memory, my own consciousness.

In this extraordinary book, the 2007 Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, each irrevocably damaged by the Great War. Her father wanted the simple life of an English farmer, but shrapnel almost killed him in…