Inclusion & Disability Recommended Reading

Read Books for Inclusive Schools Week!

*Consider volunteering to read an inclusive book to a classroom during Inclusive Week December 4-8th.

SFUSD aims to ensure that every school's library collection "reflects inclusion and diversity including, but not limited to: materials by or about people of color; with a range of ethnicities, religions, languages, and cultures, people who identify as LGBTQ, family diversity, gender equity, and people with disabilities."

Below are some of the inclusive books which are currently available in every K-5 and K-8 SFUSD school library and which will be highlighted during Inclusive Schools Week.  This list is just a start, our school libraries have many other diverse books in their collections. Reach out to your school librarian to find out more about the inclusive books at your school. SFUSD librarians will continue to add to this collection as more wonderful books are published. 

Take a look at this Virtual Inclusion Library Bookshelf compiled by SFUSD for book selections that are already linked to video read-alouds! 

Classroom teachers are also encouraged to explore the Elementary/History Resources webpage to explore books the resources and libraries provided that go beyond diversity books and truly embody the value of inclusion.

Inclusive Books being Highlighted in SFUSD Libraries for Inclusive Schools Week

  • Bird Will Soar by Alison Green Myers - A heartfelt and hopeful debut about a bird-loving autistic child whose family's special nest is in danger of falling apart.
  • I Talk Like a River by Scott Jordan - What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.
  • My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf - A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves.
  • Olivia Wrapped in Vines by Maude Nepveu-Villeneuve - This quirky picture book is the perfect introduction to the idea of anxiety and those big feelings that seem impossible to manage. 
  • A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott - "A Walk in the Words" by Hudson Talbott brings a new perspective to reading. It follows a young boy as he explains his experience with learning to read. 
  • All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold - All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
  • I am You: A Book about Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli - We may be different, but our hearts beat the same. In southern Africa, there is a belief called ubuntu—the idea that we are all connected. No matter where we’re from or who we are, a person is a person through their connections to other people. 
  • Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka - Niko loves to draw his world: the ring-a-ling of the ice cream truck, the warm of sun on his face. But no one appreciates his art. 
  • Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler - Buildings, bridges, and books don't exist without the laborers who are often invisible in the final product, as this picture book reveals.

Books About the Disability Experience

Here are a few books we recommend to start talking about the disability experience:

For Early Ed & Beyond: We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch, Anne McGuire, and Eduardo Trejos. The story of a mixed-ability group of kids as they creatively negotiate everyday barriers and find joy and connection in disability culture and community.

For Older Elementary & Beyond: I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present by Cerrie Burnell. Short illustrated biographies of people who have faced unique challenges and are trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and artists and legends in their fields.

For Middle School & Beyond: Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally by Emily Ladau. An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible, inclusive place.

Inclusion Book Lists

Reading inclusive books that represent all students and families is an important step in building an inclusive classroom. There are thousands of incredible books that represent all types of student experiences. Below are a few different categories of book lists that you can use when choosing a book or two to read and share with students in your school community.

Do you have an inclusive book you recommend? Fill out this form to share your book and we will add it to our list!

SFUSD Librarian Inclusive Book Lists

SFUSD Librarians list of inclusive picture books and inclusive middle school books available on Hoopla 

Inclusive Book Recommendations from the Inclusion Task Force and the CAC for Special Education

  • Inclusive Book Recommendations from the SFUSD Inclusion Taskforce Inclusion Book List
  • SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education Inclusive Book List 
  • Learning for Justice Diverse Book List - Check out this list for a few of their favorite books for diverse readers and educators! by Crystal Keels, Courtney Wai and Coshandra Dillard.

  • Recommended by Learning for Justice Magazine- Song for a Whale by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly, The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais, Unbroken by Marieke Nijkamp, Being Heumann by Judy Heumann

SFUSD Asian American & Pacific Islander Recommended Reading

Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander PreK-12 EDUCATION BOOK List -

And check out this Recommended Reading list comes from the SFUSD Asian American & Pacific Islander Resource Guide. Check out the guide for many more resources.

Recommended Reading Lists

  • Coolies by Yin
  • Brothers by Yin
  • (Poetry)Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island.
  • Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
  • Life in China (Picture in the Past) by Sally Senzell Isaacs
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  • Drawn Together by Minh Le
  • What will you be Sara Mee? by Kate Aver Avraham
  • Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
  • Mommy Eats Fried Grasshoppers! By Vilayvanh Bender
  • Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S Wong
  • A is for Awesome! 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World by Eva Chen
  • American Born Chinese, graphic novel, by Gene Luen Yang
  • China Boy by Gus Lee
  • Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Paper Sons: A Memoir by Dickson Lam
  • The Arrival, a graphic novel without words, by Shaun Tan 
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thang Nguyen
  • The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women's Anthology by Shirley Lim (Editor), Mayumi Tsutakawa (Editor)
  • Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Bone by Fae Myenne Ng
  • The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, nonfiction book by Katherine Boo
  • "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" by Joanna Ho
  • "Dear America" by Jose Antonio Vargas
  • "Fresh Off the Boat" by Eddie Huang
  • "A Different Mirror" by Ronald Takaki
  • Boxers & Saints, historical fiction / companion graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Nisei daughter by Monica Sone
  • Life and Death in Shanghai, autobiography / memoir by Nien Cheng
  • Dawn Raid (My New Zealand Story), by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith
  • Samoan Heroes (Pasifika Heroes Book 2), David Riley
  • The Best We Could Do, American Book Award winning graphic novel by former OUSD art teacher Thi Bui
  • A Different Pond, by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui
  • Chicken of the Sea, a picture book created by a five-year-old, a teen, and adults 
  • Peaches (poem) by Adrienne Su - Nearpod “Peaches” Mirrors / Window lesson
  • Reading List from EPIC books 
  • 9 Books to Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (KQED)
  • 100 Picture Books That Celebrate Asians in English and Chinese
  • TACT Recommended Reading Lists - The Association of Chinese Teachers 
    • This is the updated, digitized TACT Recommended Reading List. It is divided by grade level. To make it easier for teachers, we have included links to the San Francisco Public Library page (SFPL) and other online Read Aloud videos for each book whenever possible. Click on the title for a link to Amazon. This is an on-going project and new books will be added periodically. We welcome new suggestions.

SFUSD 2021 Filipinx History Recommended Reading

This Recommended Reading List comes from the SFUSD 2021 Filipinx History Resource Guide. Check out the guide for many more resources.

SFUSD Latinx Heritage Month Recommended Reading List

This recommended reading list comes from the SFUSD Latinx Heritage Month Resource Guide. Check out the guide for many more resources.


Recommended Reading Lists


SFUSD Native American Recommended Reading

Diversify your classroom libraries with quality children’s literature and relevant YA titles that doesn’t just focus on trauma, but also the joy and everyday living of First Nation peoples. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education while 27% of children’s literature are stories about animals and 50% are about white children and families, only 1% are about Native children. Yet, there are a growing number of titles to enjoy. Try Good Minds Books, featuring First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Books as a starting place.

This page was last updated on January 9, 2024