By Wendy Pillard, Bilingual Library Assistant
Learn more about Disability Pride Month, a month celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with some hand-picked choices! We hope you enjoy our picks.
Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally
By Emily Ladau
People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us—disabled and nondisabled alike—don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on the important disability issues you need to know about, including how to appropriately think/talk/ask about disability, recognize and avoid ableism (discrimination toward disabled people), practice good disability etiquette, appreciating disability history and identity among many other learning opportunities.
Disability Pride: Dispatches from a Post-ADA World
By Ben Mattlin
In Disability Pride, disabled journalist Ben Mattlin weaves together interviews and reportage to introduce a cavalcade of individuals, ideas, and events in engaging, fast-paced prose. He traces the generation that came of age after the ADA reshaped America, and how it is influencing the future. He documents how autistic self-advocacy and the neurodiversity movement upended views of those whose brains work differently. He lifts the veil on a thriving disability culture—from social media to high fashion, Hollywood to Broadway—showing how the politics of beauty for those with marginalized body types and facial features is sparking widespread change.
The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me
By Keah Brown
Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective.
In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.
By “smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself” (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty One aims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds.
Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism
by Elsa Sjunneson
As a Deafblind woman with partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids, Elsa Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight, hearing and deafness—much to the confusion of the world around her. While she cannot see well enough to operate without a guide dog or cane, she can see enough to know when someone is reacting to the visible signs of her blindness and can hear when they’re whispering behind her back. And she certainly knows how wrong our one-size-fits-all definitions of disability can be.
As a media studies professor, she’s also seen the full range of blind and deaf portrayals on film, and here she deconstructs their impact, following common tropes through horror, romance, and everything in between. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, part history of the Deafblind experience, Being Seen explores how our cultural concept of disability is more myth than fact, and the damage it does to us all.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
By Gabrielle Zevin
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts. Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.
The Call of the Wrens
By Jenni L. Walsh
An orphan who spent her youth without a true home, Marion Hoxton found in the Great War something other than destruction. She discovered a chance to belong. As a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service—the Wrens—Marion gained sisters. She found purpose in her work as a motorcycle dispatch rider assigned to train and deliver carrier pigeons to the front line. And despite the constant threat of danger, she and her childhood friend Eddie began to dream of a future together. Until the battle that changed everything. Now twenty years later, another war has broken out across Europe, calling Marion to return to the fight. Meanwhile others, like twenty-year-old society girl Evelyn Fairchild, hear the call for the first time. For Evelyn, serving in the war is a way to prove herself after a childhood fraught with surgeries and limitations from a disability. The re-formation of the Wrens as World War II rages is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the world at seventy miles per hour.
Disability Visibility: 17 First-Person Stories for Today
Edited by Alice Wong
The seventeen eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life’s ableism and inequality, its challenges, and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy.
The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential reading for all.
The Disability Experience: Working Toward Belonging
By Hannalora Leavitt
The difference is that PWDs (people with disabilities) don’t have the same access to education, employment, housing, transportation and healthcare in order to achieve their goals. In The Disability Experience you’ll meet people with different kinds of disabilities, and you’ll begin to understand the ways PWDs have been ignored, reviled, and marginalized throughout history. The book also celebrates the triumphs and achievements of PWDs and shares the powerful stories of those who have fought for change..
By Erin Hawley
This book explores disability pride, self-advocacy, and person-first language. Engaging inquiry-based sidebars encourage students to LOOK, THINK, MAKE A GUESS, ASK QUESTIONS, and CREATE. Books are authored by writers with disabilities, feature accessible text, and was developed in partnership with Easter Seals who is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services.
Not So Different: What you Really Want to Ask about Having a Disability
By Shane Burcaw
Shane Burcaw was born with a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, which hinders his muscles’ growth. As a result, his body hasn’t grown bigger and stronger as he’s gotten older―it’s gotten smaller and weaker instead. This hasn’t stopped him from doing the things he enjoys (like eating pizza and playing sports and video games) with the people he loves, but it does mean that he routinely relies on his friends and family for help with everything from brushing his teeth to rolling over in bed.
We Want to Go to School! The Fight for Disability Rights
by Maryann Cocca-Leffler & Janine Leffler
There was a time in the United States when millions of children with disabilities weren’t allowed to go to public school. But in 1971, seven kids and their families wanted to do something about it. They knew that every child had a right to an equal education, so they went to court to fight for that right. The case Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia led to laws ensuring children with disabilities would receive a free, appropriate public education. Told in the voice of Janine Leffler, one of the millions of kids who went to school because of these laws, this book shares the true story of this landmark case.
The Storm Runner
By J.C. Cervantes
To prevent the Mayan gods from battling each other and destroying the world, thirteen-year-old Zane must unravel an ancient prophecy, stop an evil god, and discover how the physical disability that makes him reliant on a cane also connects him to his father and his ancestry.
Aniana del Mar Jumps In
By Jasminne Mendez
Aniana del Mar belongs in the water like a dolphin belongs to the sea. But she and Papi keep her swim practices and meets hidden from Mami, who has never recovered from losing someone she loves to the water years ago. That is, until the day Ani’s stiffness and swollen joints mean she can no longer get out of bed, and Ani is forced to reveal just how important swimming is to her. Mami forbids her from returning to the water but Ani and her doctor believe that swimming along with medication will help Ani manage her disease. What follows is the journey of a girl who must grieve who she once was in order to rise like the tide and become the young woman she is meant to be. A poignant story about chronic illness and disability, the secrets between mothers and daughters, the harm we do to the ones we love the most—and all the triumphs, big and small, that keep us afloat.