Click on a grade below to see a list of suggested biographies for that level.
Reading Level: Grades 4-7
This memoir traces the life of Robert Hoge from the time he was born in 1972 until he turned 14. Robert was born with enormous tumor in the middle of his face. His eyes were on either side of his face and he had only holes for a nose. Besides the mass on his face, his legs were twisted and stunted. Mary, Robert’s mother was horrified. She thought the baby looked like a monster. She didn’t want to take him home. Her doctor told her to put the baby away in an institution. Her husband, Vince, told her that it was up to her. For over a month the baby stayed at the hospital. Then Mary decided to ask their other kids.Vince and Mary told them about their baby brother; how he looked, his legs and the fact that he might also be mentally challenged. Then Mary pointed to each of her children and asked, “Should we bring Robert home?” All four voted yes. Robert had many operations. The tumor was removed. The unusable parts of his legs were amputated. He got prosthetics and learned to walk.] He went to school and made some friends. Not everyone was nice. He learned to do things his way and to be his own person in a world that thinks he is very, very ugly.
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Another interesting biographies and memiors about living with a disability are:
Small Steps: the year I got polio by Peg Kehret
Med Head : my knock-down, drag-out, drugged-up battle with my brain by James Patterson and
Engrossing stories about kids living with a disability are:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper
Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan and
The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 8
This book was 70 years in the making. It is the story of Michael Gruenbaum and his family, Jews who lived in Prague in 1939 when the Nazis marched in. Written by gifted writer, Todd Hasak-Lowry, it chronicles life for 10- year-old Michael under the Nazis and the family's relocation to Terezin. Told in the first person by a young Michael, it speaks volumes about courage, determination, and humanity.
Reading Level: Grades 8 and older
Sonia Manzano, otherwise known as Maria on Sesame Street, tells the story of her childhood in the Bronx. Detailing everything from her mysteriously appearing older sister, through her father's drunken rages, to her first roll on Broadway, Sonia's story is not for younger, or more sensitive readers.
Reading Level: Grades K - 4
Elizabeth the elephant seal lived in a park in the middle of a busy city. The residents all loved her, but drivers did not because she had a tendency to take naps in the middle of the road. Eventually the government decided that Elizabeth needed to be relocated to an elephant seal colony well away from the city where she would be happy. However, Elizabeth had a different opinion about what would make her happy.