Amputee Coalition Fact Sheet

Resources to Help Children Understand Limb Loss

Web Development Fact Sheet

Updated 04/2019

Introduction

Reading encourages children’s imaginations to grow, and opens their world to new people, places and possibilities. Reading books about difficult concepts, such as limb loss and limb difference, is a safe and familiar way to introduce children to the topic.

These books can help a child with limb difference or limb loss have greater self-esteem as they can identify with characters that “look like me” or are “different like me.” Children can find encouragement to talk about their limb difference openly and answer questions from friends. Some books even help explain how to be fitted for a prosthesis. These books can also be useful for easing fears that children often have about upcoming medical procedures or recovery for themselves, their friends or an adult in their life.

While each of these books is different, a shared theme throughout is that people with limb loss are still just people and have a lot in common with others.

Some adults with limb loss visit classrooms and libraries for story time to help children learn about living with a disability and what it is like to be an amputee. Books often get kids talking and asking questions. This is an opportunity to teach acceptance and to reinforce the old adage that “different is not bad; different is just different.”

Most of the resources below can be purchased online by searching for the title or by ordering from your local bookseller.

Storybooks

5 Fingers and 10 Toes

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 14, 2016).
By Dawn Civitello (author), Francisco Villa (illustrator)

In hopes of spreading awareness to young children and families about limb deficiencies that exist among peers. This book is a great way to explain to children that differences exist and it’s OK to be different; everyone should be accepted for who they are!!

5 Fingers and 10 Toes: Jo-Jo Goes to School

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 1, 2017).
By Dawn Civitello (author), Francisco Villa (illustrator)

A story about a young boy who was born with a limb difference (missing his left hand). This story takes us along on his journey of entering school for the very first time. This story was written by Joseph Angelo’s mom in hopes of helping other children and families address and ease any worries or concerns they may have when entering a new situation.

Amputeddy Helps a Friend

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. (July 2, 2012).
ISBN-10: 1478179511 ISBN-13: 978-1478179511.
By Jean Boelter (author), Kate Policani (author), Marta Creswell (illustrator).
Kindle/digital only.

Brandon Bear’s dad has been hurt while serving in the military, and Brandon is worried. During a playdate with Todd the Amputeddy, Brandon asks his friend some important questions about how his dad will be different. Todd helps Brandon see that his dad will be different, but they’ll figure it out and everything will turn out alright.

Amputeddy Meets Nubby Bear

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC (June 4, 2012).
By Jean Boelter (author), Kate Policani (author), Marta Creswell (illustrator).
Kindle/digital only.

At the park, Amputeddy meets a new friend who is missing an arm. They play together and become friends. While they play, they compare their experiences and trials as amputee kids with their special outlook on life. They are glad to meet another little bear who knows what it is like to be a little different.

Amputeddy books are designed to voice the feelings of children who have an amputation or know someone who does. Todd’s experiences pave the way for communication and understanding.

Barthello’s Wing: A Tale of a Very Brave Bug

East End Pub (December 30, 2006).
ISBN-10: 0943403707 ISBN-13: 978-0943403700.
By Janie DeVos (author), Nicola Joyner (illustrator).

Barthello, a bug with only one wing, learns that being different can be painful and lonely. But when a big, hungry spider threatens to turn the other bugs into lunch one day, Barthello proves to himself and the other bugs that what truly sets him apart is not his one wing, but his very brave heart. Written in rhyme and paired with bright, bold illustrations, Barthello’s Wing is an inspiring story that celebrates both courage and diversity. It is a tale that will continue to touch the reader’s heart long after the last page has been turned.

Boo-Boo’s New Leg: A True Story of Illness, Acceptance and Healing

AuthorHouse (January 25, 2011).
ISBN-10: 9781456715458 ISBN-13: 978-1456715458.
By Mary Garcia.

Sarah is 10 years old. She tells the story of how her grown-up friend is very sick and medicines don’t seem to help her too much. Her foot is bandaged and she can’t get around without the help of a wheelchair and crutches. Sarah is saddened to see her friend in pain. Her friend must go to the hospital to have a special operation, called an amputation, to cure her illness. This is no ordinary or easy operation. But although her life will be forever changed, she will inspire a positive way of thinking in those around her with the greatest gifts one can have: laughter and friendship.

Burgess and Marie Bear: Book I: Beginnings

Dorrance Publishing (October 1, 2014).
ISBN-10: 1480908975 ISBN-13: 978-1480908970.
By Josie Horvath (author), Mary Hovancsek (illustrator).

Burgess Bear has been an amputee since his younger years. But living with just one leg is easy for him — he’ll show how. He wears an artificial leg to help him stand, walk and run normally as the others. With his wife Marie, he begins his day preparing a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, warm oatmeal, wheat toast with honey, and freshly squeezed orange juice — a meal shared with fun and love. This is the start of their adventures.

The Cherry Blossom Kids and the Three-legged Dog

Steveedee Publishing Co. (August 1, 2007).
ISBN-10: 0977498204 ISBN-13: 978-0977498208.
By Dr. Yvette C. Ross Hebron (author), Harold H. Hebron (author)

The Cherry Blossom Kids and the Three-Legged Dog is a story about children with disabilities. The story tells how they adapt efficiently to their impairment(s), allowing them to function in the world and live productive lives. The Cherry Blossom Kids represent the everyday lives of many children with impairments. One child has a congenital amputation of the arm, one has spina bifida, one has cerebral palsy, one has congenital cataracts, and the other is accident-prone. Their dog has only three legs. The story depicts the Cherry Blossom Kids’ positive attitude, how they play, and how they participate in activities that parallel that of the able-bodied child. Along with the three-legged dog, they are living and enjoying life.

Different Is Awesome

Mascot Books (July 7, 2015).
ISBN-10: 1631772155 ISBN-13: 978-1631772153.
By Ryan Haack(author), Wes Molebash (illustrator).

A little boy brings his older brother, born with one hand, for show-and-tell. The students ask him all sorts of questions about how he does things with one hand and realize that he can do anything they can do — he just does it differently. Along the way, they notice that we’re all different in one way or another, leading to the realization that not only are differences a similarity we all share, they are what make us unique — and awesome!

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Schwartz & Wade (January 6, 2015).
ISBN-10: 044981744X ISBN-13: 978-0449817445.
By Laurie Ann Thompson (author), Sean Qualls (illustrator).

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people — but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than 2 miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age 13 to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing 400 miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: Disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of people with disabilities.

Harry and Willy and Carrothead

Greenwillow Books; First edition, first printing edition (March 18, 1991).
ISBN-10: 0688094929 ISBN-13: 978-0688094928.
By Judith Caseley (author, illustrator).

Harry was born with no left hand. When he got to school, the kids asked him what was wrong with his arm. “Nothing,” said Harry. “That’s my prosthesis.” Harry’s hand didn’t keep him from being a good baseball player — or a good friend. Harry and Willy and Carrothead are three of the most real kids you are apt to meet between book covers, and you will like them as much as they like each other!

Henry and Tink: A Remarkable Romance: The Love Story of a Three-Legged Cat and a Two-Legged Dog

Breakthrough Press; 1 edition (January 25, 2013).
ISBN-10: 0988403528 ISBN-13: 978-0988403529.
By Cathy Conheim (author), BJ Gallagher (author), Mercedes Sironi (designer).

The story is first and foremost about self-discovery, acceptance and how what may seem impossible to some becomes a reality. It is the meeting of two innocent souls who don’t see each other as “different,” but realize that we are all “different” in our own way and we are all special in our own way. In working through this discovery, feelings of admiration, love and compassion are born and these two “souls” bond as best friends. The story of their meeting is one of love-almost-at-first-sight, as they are intrigued and entranced-rather than put off by the differences they see in each other. As they get acquainted, with a nuzzle here and a purr there, their hearts touch … and both are transformed. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I Am Sheriauna

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 21, 2017).
ISBN-10: 1540861961 ISBN-13: 978-1540861962.
By Sherylee Honeyghan (author), Ana Patankar (illustrator).

Sheriauna is a vibrant, smart, funny little girl with tons of personality! She has a unique story to share with the world and she loves to help others see differences as strengths. Learn about one little girl’s experience with being different and how we can all be kind to each other, while creating a more inclusive world for everybody.

I Have A Doll Just Like You!

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 14, 2017).
ISBN-10: 153520611X ISBN-13: 978-1535206112.
By Julie Ann Zitterkopf Larson, MD (author), Jacqueline Kerr (illustrator).

I Have A Doll Just Like You is a children’s story about amputation and limb deficiency. It was written with the goal of teaching children that people come in all shapes, sizes, colors and abilities. This book is a fictional, illustrated story for children about a little boy with a congenital amputation of his left arm. It also includes a glossary of amputee terminology, a letter to parents and teachers, and a series of discussion starters for families and classrooms. All of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to send children with limb difference to amputee camp.

The Journey of NEM

Bantry Bay Publishing (April 7, 2018).
ISBN-10: 0997754311 ISBN-13: 978-0997754315.
By Erika Brannock (author), John F. Baker III (illustrator)

When injuries from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing took preschool teacher Erika Brannock’s leg, she decided to write a book to let young children know that when a hard thing happens to them, it is not going to defeat them; to understand that it’s OK to be different, because we are all different in our own ways. The main character, a dragonfly named NEM, represents perseverance and strength, and guides the reader through adversity to a happy ending.

Knockin’ on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates

Lee & Low Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2012).
ISBN-10: 1600609805 ISBN-13: 978-1600609800.
By Lynne Barasch (author).

Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates was one of the legendary tap dancers of the 20th century. As a young boy, Clayton loved to dance, but when he lost his left leg in a factory accident at age 12, no one thought he would ever walk again, let alone dance. But Clayton’s musical spirit was still alive. Soon he was dancing again, first using crutches, then a peg leg. Within a short time, his peg leg matched the dancing ability of his other leg. Peg Leg Bates performed throughout the United States and Europe, winning the hearts of audiences with his unique style of dancing. He was an amazing showstopper and an inspiration to everyone he met. With determination and a love of life, he turned misfortune into triumph. His most lasting achievement might just be the extraordinary example he set for us all.

Let’s Go

FriesenPress (December 21, 2018).
ISBN-10: 1525539760 ISBN-13: 978-1525539763.
By Brenda E. Koch (author).

What makes you unique? For some of us, part of what makes us unique is that we need help doing the sorts of things that other people do without thinking. Bobby is just like that. Sometimes, he wears a prosthesis to help him walk; other times, he needs a wheelchair to get around. It can be hard for some of us to imagine what that would be like, but Bobby is happy to explain his experiences. Along the way, Bobby explains big words like “prosthetics” and “accessibility.” He wants to help us understand what it’s like to live with a disability, so that we won’t be afraid of, or feel bad for, people who are different from us. Come along as Bobby demonstrates how we are all just people, and we can all be friends. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s Go!

Let’s Play

FriesenPress (December 3, 2018).
ISBN-10: 1525539744 ISBN-13: 978-1525539749.
By Brenda E. Koch (author).

Everyone is unique. That is one of many things we all have in common. Some of us have two arms and two legs, and some of us don’t. Some of us can see and hear, and some of us can’t. We are all different from one another in many ways, but we are all perfect just the way we are. Bobby is special. He has only one eye, one ear, and one leg, but Bobby is not broken — he is just unique. And he is excited to meet you! So, what are we waiting for? Let’s Play!

Little Arm and Me

Vision Works Publishing.
ISBN-10: 978-0-9816254-2-3.
By Mutiya Vision (author), DeAriesha (illustrator).

Kiomi is a very “handy” and “capable” girl born with a little arm. As she works to find her purpose in the world, her example helps others realize that her potential goes far beyond her physical limitations. Kiomi doesn’t let the world’s limited perception of her influence how she sees herself. As she overcomes challenges, she learns to find value in the masterpiece she was born to be. Since she was created to be in the spotlight, Kiomi decides to be an inspiration by living a life filled with love, courage and accomplishment.

Little Miss Jessica Goes to School

Jessica Smith; 2 edition (May 30, 2016).
Kindle edition only.
By Jessica Smith (author), Joel Blakeley (illustrator).

Little Miss Jessica is a series of children’s books that focus on accepting differences, disability awareness and positive body image. The first book in the series is titled Little Miss Jessica Goes to School, and is about Jessica’s very first day. She experiences what it is like to feel different because of her appearance, but by the end of her first day at school, Jessica and all the other students in her class realize that being different is OK! This is a fabulous book for all children to read. It allows young children the opportunity to read about characters that represent what and who they see in real life.

Look What Kate Can Do: One Hand Works as Well as Two

Mascot Books (March 6, 2018).
ISBN-10: 163177171X ISBN-13: 978-1631771712.
By Katie Leatherwood (author), Paul Leatherwood (author).

Kate was born with symbrachydactyly, a big word for an upper-limb difference. How does a little girl feel about growing up with one hand? How does she answer people’s questions? Here’s Kate’s story in her own words.

The Making of My Special Hand: Madison’s Story

Peachtree Pub Co Inc; 1 edition (January 1, 1998).
ISBN-10: 156145186X ISBN-13: 978-1561451869.
by Jamee Riggio Heelan (author), Nicola Simmonds (illustrator).

This touching true story offers a rare look at the making and fitting of a prosthesis through the excitement and promise in one little girl’s world. Experience the bright curiosity of Madison, a small girl born without her left hand, as she tells her story of being fitted for her “special” hand. Her helper hand, a prosthesis, will allow Madison to easily pick up toys, throw a ball, and carry her doll. This enlightening story explains in a relaxed and informal narrative how the medical team from the Children’s Amputee Program worked with Madison and her family, and reminds readers that with a willing spirit and an enjoyment of life, nothing is impossible.

Molly the Pony: A True Story

Square Fish; Revised/Updated edition (June 5, 2012).
ISBN-10: 9780312611217 ISBN-13: 978-0312611217.
By Pam Kaster (author).

Molly is abandoned during Hurricane Katrina. After she is rescued, she is attacked by a dog and must undergo a rare surgery for horses: amputation of her front leg. Now fitted with a prosthetic limb, Molly re-learns how to walk and embarks on a new mission as a therapy horse.

My Brand New Leg

Northstar Entertainment Group LLC (August 30, 2003).
ISBN-10: 9780974154404 ISBN-13: 978-0974154404.
By Sharon Rae North (author), Tony Ross (illustrator).

In a story about a young girl who is questioned about her prosthetic leg by a schoolmate, the young amputee shows that she can rise to many physical challenges, such as running and bicycling. The two girls also learn lessons about friendship and acceptance.

My Dad the Superhero!

Piscataqua Press (December 15, 2015).
ISBN-10: 1944393048 ISBN-13: 978-1944393045.
By Sara Cook (author).

Everyone is a hero in someone’s eyes! This is a book about a dad who is an amputee, and his son, Milo, who thinks his dad’s prosthetic leg is magic and that his dad is a Superhero. Join them at show-and-tell to learn more! This story is meant to shed a light on physical disabilities and educate children about prosthetics.

My Little Leg

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 24, 2015).
ISBN-10: 1511609664 ISBN-13: 978-1511609661.
By Robyn Lambert (author).

With this book, the reader can be part of the story. Yadsi is a little girl who just happens to have a lower-limb difference. She is not concerned with all the fuss over her leg. She just wants to have fun! Many children like Yadsi wear a prosthetic leg, enabling them to be mobile. These children need to feel comfortable with or without their prosthesis and be accepted for who they are; rather than having their lower-limb difference define them.

Oliver’s High Five

Health Press (NM) (April 1, 1998).
ISBN-10: 0929173260 ISBN-13: 978-0929173269.
by Beverly Swerdlow Brown (author), Margot J. Ott (illustrator).

Oliver Octopus only has five arms, but it doesn’t bother him! Young children with any kind of “disability” or “differences” will enjoy reading about Oliver’s adventures above the sea, and how, through his determination and positive attitude, he corrects the misconceptions other people have about physical challenges.

Purr-fectly Lucky

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 9, 2018).
ISBN-10: 1984364804 ISBN-13: 978-1984364807.
By Kimberly Palmucci (author), Brandi McCann (illustrator).

Purr-fectly Lucky is inspired by the real-life story of Meesta, the three-legged cat, and his strength, spirit, and love. Meesta and his adoptive mom, Kimberly, are on a mission to spread the message that regardless of where your story begins, who you are, or what makes you special and different, everyone deserves a happy ending!

That’s My Hope

Early Light Press, LLC; Second edition (September 15, 2008).
ISBN-10: 0979917913 ISBN-13: 978-0979917912.
by Marlene Lee (author), Lil Ingram (author).

That’s My Hope is designed to foster understanding and communication among children and adults about disabilities, trauma, illness — and hope. Twelve children and 16 adults contributed artwork and shared real-life vignettes, including: the service and sacrifice of war, surviving Hurricane Katrina, juvenile diabetes, amputation, cancer, stroke, polio, homelessness, premature birth, and more. The real-life vignettes blend with the fictional story of a young girl and her father who suffers a traumatic injury and becomes an amputee. Father and daughter share a love of bike riding before his injury — and again afterwards when adaptive bike riding is introduced. That’s My Hope is suitable for children 6-to-12 years of age.

Tibby Tried It

Magination Pr; 1 edition (January 1, 1999).
ISBN-10: 1557985588 ISBN-13: 978-1557985583.
By Sharon Useman (author), Ernie Useman (author), Cary Pillo (author, illustrator).

Tibby the tree swallow cannot fly because he has a crooked wing, but the other animals teach him skills that come in handy when a baby robin falls from its nest.

Uniquely Brave

Mascot Books (May 2, 2017).
ISBN-10: 1511609664 ISBN-13: 978-1511609661.
By Trace Wilson (author).

Every child worries about being different. Follow one brave little boy as he embarks on a wild adventure and learns to understand, accept and love the differences that make him unique.

Uniquely Me

Mascot Books (January 5, 2016).
ISBN-10: 1511609664 ISBN-13: 978-1511609661.
By Trace Wilson (author).

Every child worries about being different. Follow one brave little boy as he embarks on a wild adventure and learns to understand, accept and love the differences that make him unique.

What About Me? I’m Here, Too!

Breakthrough Press; 2 edition (February 21, 2013).
ISBN-10: 0967957672 ISBN-13: 978-0967957678.
By Cathy Conheim (author), BJ Gallagher (author).

Dolly’s life was perfect in every way. She was an “only dog,” beloved by her human companions. She got all the attention, all the treats, and all the love a dog could want. But all that changed one day when a tiny striped kitten came into her life — an injured kitty named Henry, who needed lots of tender loving care to recover from losing his leg. Dolly suddenly found herself with an uninvited houseguest — and a cat at that! Her life would never be the same. Dolly lost her special place as the only pet in the house, but she had much to gain. Hers is a story of mixed and confusing feelings. Together, Dolly and her human companions learned many valuable lessons in empathy, understanding, patience and compassion.

What’s the Matter With Henry?: The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat

Breakthrough Press; 6 edition (February 8, 2013).
ISBN-10: 0988403536 ISBN-13: 978-0988403536.
by Cathy Conheim (author), BJ Gallagher  (author).

When Henry was found, his left front leg dangled uselessly from his shoulder. That could have been the end of the story for this little striped kitten. Instead, it was the beginning of an unlikely adventure as two dog lovers rescued him.

Coloring Books

The following websites have limb-loss-related coloring pages to download:

Coloring Pages for Kids
People with Disabilities Coloring Pages. Print coloring pages with prosthesis wearers running, skiing and others participating in wheelchair sports.
coloring.ws/disabilities3.htm

Creative Solutions for Amputees
Download and print “Tara Bakes a Cake for Bella’s Birthday” and “Adventures of Amy and Her Dog Pipi.” These cool heroines have upper-limb difference.
cs4a.org

Helping Children Cope With an Adult’s Limb Loss

“What Happened to Your Leg, Grandma?” / Christina DiMartino. Knoxville, TN: Amputee Coalition, 2003. Article from inMotion, November/December 2003. Summary: This article looks at how to talk to a child when a grandparent or other loved one needs to have an amputation or has had an amputation.

amputee-coalition.org/resources/what-happened-grandma

amputee-coalition.org/resources/spanish-what-happened-your-leg-grandma/ (PDF)

“When a Parent Loses a Limb: Helping Children Cope.” / Pat Isenberg. Knoxville, TN: Amputee Coalition, 2001. Article from inMotion, May/June 2001. A list of tips on how to help a child adjust to a parent with limb loss.

amputee-coalition.org/resources/helping-children-cope (PDF)


It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.

National Limb Loss Resource Center, a program of the Amputee Coalition, located at 900 East Hill Ave., Suite 390, Knoxville, TN 37915 | 888/267-5669

© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.