Several new children’s books are claiming honors alongside the famed Newbery and Caldecott Medals for featuring storylines focused on the experiences of those with disabilities.

The American Library Association named three winners and six honorees of its Schneider Family Book Awards this month.

The annual awards recognize an “author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences” and are handed out in three categories targeting various age groups — kids up to age 8, those ages 9 to 12 and teens.

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In the young children’s category, this year’s winner is “Henry, Like Always,” the story of a boy with autism who must adapt to a change in routine at school. Honor books in this category include “Dancing Hands,” a picture book about friendship and sign language, and “What Happened to You?,” a story about the experience of a boy with only one leg.

The middle grades award went to “The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn” about a girl with autism who goes on a journey of self-acceptance and self-advocacy as she learns to surf after a wildfire forces her and her dad to evacuate to a trailer on the beach. The honor books for this age group are “Good Different” about a neurodivergent girl who learns to celebrate what makes her different and “Simon Sort of Says” which centers on the impact of trauma on a boy who survived a school shooting.

The winner for teens is “Forever is Now” about an activist who deals with an anxiety disorder after witnessing a violent incident of police brutality. Honors were also given in this category to “Where You See Yourself” about a girl who’s factoring her wheelchair accessibility needs as she chooses a college and “Tilly in Technicolor,” a story about a relationship between two neurodivergent teens.

The Schneider Family Book Award winners were announced during an American Library Association gathering last week in Baltimore. Authors and illustrators will be honored with plaques and $5,000 prizes during a ceremony at the organization’s annual conference in June.

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