Picture books can be powerful teaching tools to help your children and students understand that every person’s life has meaning and value. Use these picture books about Down syndrome and disabilities to spark discussions with your children to help them understand the beauty of every human being’s life.

You Are Special by Max Lucado

YouAreSpecialChildren love to be reminded that they are special—and why shouldn’t they? The conversation you have with your children about the sacredness and dignity of every human being’s life starts with reminding them that every person is unique and created in the image and likeness of God.

In You Are Special by Max Lucado, Punchinello feels inadequate next to the other Wemmicks. He can’t do all the the wonderful things they can. As a result, the other Wemmicks give him dots instead of gold stars. But when Punchinello meets Eli, the woodcarver who created the Wemmicks, he realizes how much Eli cares about him, no matter how many dots he has. A Wemmick’s—or a person’s—value does not depend on what other people think about him. You Are Special is a wonderful reminder of how valuable each person is simply because of God’s love.

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

OctopusAs an older sister, Emma dreams about all the things she will do with her new little brother when he is born. When her dad tells Emma that her new little brother Isaac will be born with Down syndrome, Emma tries to figure out everything Isaac can and can’t do. In the end, Emma realizes that Isaac will be able to do everything with her help and patience.

This modern classic helps readers understand what having Down syndrome means.  

My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson


This sweet story describes Isabelle, a little girl with Down syndrome, from the perspective of her friend Charlie. Through all the activities they do together, Charlie knows that it sometimes takes Isabelle a little longer. Charlie learns to be patient because that’s what friends are for.

My Friend Isabelle shows children that friends who are different make life more interesting.

The Prince Who Was Just Himself by Silke Schnee

ThePrinceWhoWasJustHimselfEvery child is a blessing and a special gift—even a child who has disabilities. A recently translated book from Germany entitled The Prince Who Was Just Himself touches on several pro-life themes—from the blessing of children to the value of every human being. In the story, the king and queen long for a third child. When Prince Noah is born with Down syndrome, his family immediately loves him and welcomes him into the family. But not everyone sees Prince Noah’s value and some of the subjects say mean things about him. When the terrible knight Scarface rides into the kingdom, Prince Noah is the only one who can save the day. The Prince Who Was Just Himself reminds us how each person has a special mission from God in this world, no matter what his abilities.

47 Strings, Tessa’s Special Code by Becky Carey


Tessa’s mom wrote this charming story to explain Tessa’s Down syndrome to her son Casin. This book explains why Tessa is extra special. She has a special code—the extra chromosome in her DNA. And it teaches why her brother needs to sometimes help her. This book is a good reminder for kids that we all have special talents and abilities. 

 American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program emphasizes the culture of life as an integral part of every academic discipline. CLSP is dedicated to helping students become effective communicators of the pro-life message.