Nine inspiring and inclusive books to read on World Book Day

Nine inspiring and inclusive books to read on World Book Day
Posted on Fri 23 Apr 2021

Friday 23 April is World Book Day, and we’re celebrating some of our favourite stories. From championing inclusivity for people living with disabilities to sharing important perspectives, these books are great ways to encourage conversations about inclusivity and celebrating our differences.


When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb and Merrilee Liddiard

When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair, he doesn't know how to react at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn't bad, sad, or strange – different is just different, and different is great!

A book that helps kids think about living with disability, kindness and representation.

Recommended by Keira Watkins

For ages 3-5


Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

A new edition of Bruce Pascoe’s iconic ‘Dark Emu’ book written for young people, this “truer history” is an important work that educates and enlightens readers about Indigenous history.

“Reading this book, I learned about what Australia was like when early European explorers arrived. Aboriginal people were already building homes, dams and wells – and were farming the land. This is a really important book and every kid in Australia should read it.”

Recommended by Daisy McLean

Suitable for primary school children and above


Mighty Miss Maya - See It, Then Be It by Ann Tisdale

An illustrated story about a fierce little girl and her three-legged dog, who doesn't let anything stand in her way – especially not cerebral palsy. Maya walks with the aid of leg braces or a walker, but the plot of the book isn’t about living with disability, but all of her amazing adventures.

Written by a parent of a child living with cerebral palsy to address the lack of representation of children who use assistive aids, Mighty Miss Maya teaches important lessons about overcoming challenges and celebrating differences.

Suitable for young children and above


Wonder by RJ Palacio 

A story about Auggie Pullman, who is born with a severe facial difference. A compelling and emotional illustrated story about empathy, compassion, acceptance and friendship, this New York Times bestseller demonstrates what it would be like to walk in Auggie’s shoes.

Recommended by Andy McLean

For ages 6-14


Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This sensitive account of a girl’s learning disorder is living proof of what Albert Einstein said – that everybody is smart in different ways, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.

“A beautiful book that showed me that life is like a can of alphabet soup and that being different is the biggest gift you can give to yourself.”

Recommended by Isla Mcalary

For children aged 10 and above


The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

The Paper Bag Princess uses a familiar story to explore important themes of identity, happiness and acceptance.

“This book turns the fairy-tale stereotype on its head. The prince needs rescuing from a dragon – so the princess leaps into action and does so. She then realises the prince is a narrow-minded pig and ditches him – it's hilarious!”

Recommended by Andy McClean

Suitable for ages 4-7


Special by Melanie Dimmitt

Special is an uplifting, candid companion for those in the early stages of navigating a child’s disability, offering honest, reassuring and relatable insight into a largely unknown part of our world.

Written by a parent of a child with special needs, the author spoke to many parents of children with wide-ranging disabilities for this book. Special shares real stories, expert guidance and simple coping strategies to soothe anyone whose life has taken an unexpected turn.

Suitable for adults


The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and every capital city. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the colour yellow.

This detective story, written from the perspective of a young boy with autism, brings a unique perspective and a quirky narrative. This recent classic offers a lovely insight into someone living with autism.

Recommended by Katie Wilson

Suitable for young adults and up


The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Many of the above books champion the causes of inclusivity and disability – but May Gibbs’ classic Australian children’s story has helped people living with disabilities in another way. Upon her passing in 1969, Gibbs left the copyright of all her works jointly to two charities, one of which is CPA. As a result of this foresight, many thousands of people living with cerebral palsy and similar conditions have received services and support.

Suitable for all ages

On the evening of Monday, 3rd May Cerebral Palsy Alliance was joined by some very special guests to launch CPActive, a new community of individuals, families, advocates and allies dedicated to creating lasting change for people with cerebral palsy. The full launch video and transcript is now available.

May 12 marks International Nurses Day, making it the perfect date to celebrate and acknowledge the more than 40 nurses working across CPA, providing expertise and support to staff and clients.