Five Great Books Featuring Characters in Wheelchairs

It’s always inspiring to be able to find books to read that feature characters in wheelchairs. There are hundreds of books that do so. I am a librarian so it was very hard for me to narrow my list of my favorites. Here are five of my favorite books that feature characters in wheelchairs.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burrnett

This book was one my favorite classics as a child. This book is about Mary who finds the key to a magical garden that was locked up for 10 years.  Mary’s friend and cousin Colin is in a wheelchair because of a spinal condition. He spends most of his time locked up in a room until he meets Mary who takes him into the Secret Garden. Once Colin is in the Secret Garden, he is cured of his condition and able to walk.


Heidi by Johanna Spyri

This book is about an orphan girl named Heidi. In this book, Heidi goes to Frankfurt to take care of her friend, Clara, who is in a wheelchair. A shepherd boy named Peter is jealous of Heidi and Clara’s friendship so he pushes Clara’s wheelchair down a hill and smashes it. Clara wants to see the flowers but is forced to walk without her wheelchair. Her desire is so strong she overcomes her disability. This book has a theme of overcoming obstacles, which can be very inspiring.


Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies; I always forget it’s based on a book. Forrest Gump is a story narrated by Forrest about his life adventures like playing ping-pong and shrimp boating and living through American history such as the Vietnam War. Forrest’s friend Litennaunt Dan is in a wheelchair.  Forrest meets him in the infirmary after the war, and he is missing both of his legs.


The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

The Bone Collector is the first book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. The main character, Lincoln Rhyme, is a quadriplegic due to an accident. He can only exercise his mind, not his body, and needs to stop a killer.  With the help of Amelia, they must work together to catch the Bone Collector.


The Genesis of Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks

In this fantasy trilogy, wise old Owl leads a group of children. She has to navigate her wheelchair through a world ravaged by pollution and genetic engineering. Owl in these books is a strong decisive leader and does let her wheelchair get in the way!


As I said, there are many great books featuring characters with disabilities.  Check out these resources for more recommended reads:

If you’re a Magee patient or visitor, stop up to the Patient Resource Center on the 6th floor to see what books we have. We have a great disability awareness section.

We want to hear from you! Know any other book characters that are living with a disability? Which character is your favorite?


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