Sometimes you just really, really want to know that other people like you are out there, facing – and winning – the same daily battles. For kids and young adults with speech disorders finding “someone like me” in the media isn’t always easy, but a great book could be the ticket. Imagine that – finding a story your kid can relate to and benefit from, while at that the same time giving them one more reason to explore the joy of reading
Whether you’re the parent of a preschooler, a kid in grade school or a teenager navigating the complexities of high school, you – and you’re child – can use all the help you can get.
Here’s our top recommendations for kids of all ages.
Preschool & Elementary
- A Boy and His Jaguar, Alan Rabinowitz and Catia Chien
This visually captivating, award-winning children’s book tells the true story of Alan, who is only fluent when speaking or singing to animals at the Bronx zoo. While it’s complex ideas may be best for upper-elementary aged children, further exploring Alan’s current grown-up life via the internet should boost the confidence of those who think stuttering makes them “stupid” or “less than”. You can buy the book here.
- Maya’s Voice, Wen-Wen Cheng
Children with selective mutism often feel alone and different, especially at school. This sweetly illustrated book is perfect for preschool and early elementary students who wonder if there is anyone else out there like them. Maya’s Voice is available here.
- The Mouth With a Mind of It’s Own, Patricia L. Mervine and Nayan Soni
Written by a speech-language pathologists, this book follows Michael, a boy with apraxia whose mouth just won’t cooperate with what his brain wants to say. Touching on school, speech therapy, and the frustration of having a speech disorder this book will give your elementary-aged child a friend who’s “been there”. The book is available here.
Others to Consider:
- Sweet Pickles: The Girl Who Would Not Speak (Selective Mutism, here)
- Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand (Stuttering, here)
- The Pirate Who Couldn’t Say “Arrr” (Articulation Disorders, here)
- Leo’s Words Disappeared (Selective Mutism, here)
- Hooway for Woodney Wat (Articulation Disorders, here)
- Josh’s Road to Recovery (Aphasia, here)
- hi My nAMe is MiLLY (Apraxia, here)
- Paperboy, Vince VawterWinner of the prestigious Newberry Honor award, Paperboy follows 11-year-old baseball ace Victor, who dazzles on the field but stutters impossibly in the real world. When he takes over his best friend’s paper route for a month Victor encounters accidental friendship and unexpected danger behind the doors of the houses on his route. Paperboy can be purchased here.
- Being Miss Nobody, Tamsin Winter
Rosalind can speak at home, where it’s safe, with family. But in out in the bigger world? The words just won’t come out. In the face of teasing and loneliness at her new school, Rosalind starts a blog: Miss Nobody. Now she has a place for her voice to be heard. But what happens when the bullied starts to become the bully herself? Much loved by pre-teen and young teen girls, Rosalind’s story can be found here.
- True (…Sort Of), Katherine Hannigan
From the much-loved author of Ida B., True (…Sort Of) follows the irascible Delly, whose love of adventure is about to land her in reform school. When Delly becomes friends with Brud, a boy who stutters and Ferris, the new girl in town who doesn’t speak, each child experiences deep changes only the influence of true friendship can bring about. True (…Sort Of) can be found here.
Others to Consider:
- The Zoo at the Edge of the World (Stuttering, here)
- The BFG (The giant has aphasia, here)
- Katie: The Little Girl Who Stuttered and Then Learned to Talk Fluently (Stuttering, here)
- 7 Riddles to Nowhere (Selective Mutism, here)
- Gabriela 3 Book American Girl Series (Stuttering, here)
- Jacky Ha-Ha (Stuttering, here)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
As if being the only native American in an all-white farming town wasn’t awkward enough, fourteen-year-old Junior also stutters and speaks with a lisp. This witty, edgy novel pulled in a National Book Award and the applause of even hard-to-please teen boys across the US. Best suited for older audiences, you can purchase the book here.
- My Fight /Your Fight, Rhonda Rousey
Olympic gold medalist, UFC champion, and Hollywood Star—Rhonda Rousey’s life demonstrates that even severe speech disorders don’t have to hold a person back. Though the disorder is never mentioned by name in the book, Rousey’s battle to overcome apraxia was just one of the many difficulties she faced on the road to success. Best suited for older teens, the book can be purchased here.
- The Luster of Lost Things, Sophie Chen Keller
This magical story follows a boy and his dog as they journey through New York City as they search for a Very Important Book. Walter Lavender Jr. doesn’t let his motor speech disorder or the disappearance of this father prevent him from exploring the world and becoming the person he was meant to be. The Luster of Lost Things can be found here.
Others to Consider:
- The Things I Didn’t Say (Selective Mutism, here)
- Tending to Grace (Stuttering, here)
- A Quiet Kind of Thunder (Selective Mutism, here)
- Girl Detached (Stuttering, here)