Welcome to Picture Books for All

Children of all abilities should see themselves in the books they read. That's what makes reading fun. There are many picture books that include characters with disabilities; some are excellent in terms of their portrayal of these characters, some are pretty good, and some miss the mark. This blog features these picture books and evaluates them based on standards for quality in children's books that portray characters with disabilities. For more information, see the first post entitled "Welcome to Picture Books for All." (Click here) Welcome to Picture Books For All

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book #4 My Brother Charlie

Related Information
Name of Book:
My Brother Charlie
Back cover has information about the authors and illustrator, as well as a section called “Why we wrote this book—and how it can help you.” Author Holly Robinson Peete has devoted a large amount of her time to raising awareness about autism and helping families of children who have autism. Here is the link to her foundation:  http://www.hollyrod.org/
Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete with Denene Millner
Authors are the mother and sister of a boy with autism.
Shane W. Evans
Scholastic Press

Year of Pub:

ISBN:     (ISBN-13)

Age range
4-8 (but 9 and 10-year-olds would enjoy it)

Type of Disability

Fiction or Nonfiction
Based on a real family’s experience.
Category:  B

A) books that provide factual information about a disability

B) books that provide information about a disability in a story format in which the character with a disability is integral to the plot

C) books that provide stories that have a character with a disability who may or may not be integral to the storyline and who has been added to the story to achieve diversity and reflect reality

Annotation:  Charlie and Callie, the narrator, are twins. Callie tells of the love Charlie shows and his unique ways of expressing it. She describes Charlie’s interests, whims, and frustrations, expressing understanding of her brother as only a sister can. She shows how Charlie’s disability is part of him and part of their relationship, emphasizing how they enrich each other’s experiences.
Link to publisher:

Links to professional reviews:

Please comment if you know of an award this book has received.


Standards for Quality Portrayal of Characters with a disability
1. Promotes empathy not pity

2. Promotes acceptance, not ridicule

3. Emphasizes success rather than, or in addition to failure

4. Promotes positive images of persons with disabilities or illness

5. Assists children in gaining accurate understanding of the disability or illness
Provides concrete examples of how Charlie’s autism affects his behavior and relationships
6. Demonstrates respect for persons with disabilities or illness

7. Promotes attitude of “one of us” not “one of them.”
8. Uses people-first language
9. Describes the disability or person with disabilities or illness as realistic (not subhuman or superhuman)
10. Depicts people with disabilities as more similar to than different from other people
Emphasizes that Charlie needs the same things as his sister—love, comfort, understanding, friends
11. Shows peoples’ strengths and abilities along with their disabilities
Charlie has several unique abilities and strengths.
12. Represents characters as strong, independent people who others can admire or learn from
13. Represents people with disabilities from different racial and cultural backgrounds, religions, age groups, and sexual orientations
African American; Callie (the narrator) and Charlie (the character with a disability) and their parents are African American
14. Shows people with disabilities in integrated settings and activities

15. Shows people with disabilities in valued occupations and diverse roles.

16. Shows people with disabilities in reciprocal relationships

17. Main character develops and grows emotionally as a result of what happens in the story
The “story” does not have a beginning, middle, or end in that there is a progression of events. Rather, it is a dynamic description of Charlie and the relationship that he has with the narrator. Charlie changes and grows as a result of time and development, but his emotional changes are not due to something specific that happens in the story.


  1. Nice to meet you, Holly! New follower here. Love the idea behind your blog. Wishing you all the best with it.

    1. Thanks Ruth!! Glad to meet you too. Feel free to send the link to your friends and colleagues!