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Books & Authors, Diverse Voices

Disability Independence Day

National Disability Independence Day on July 26th commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th, 1990. The ADA provides protection from employment discrimination as well as better access to goods, services and communications for people with disabilities.

Celebrate Disability Independence Day by reading stories--true and fictional--about the lives of Americans with disabilities.

Nonfiction About Disabled People and Disability Rights

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Poet and essayist Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about disability justice, Queer communities, rights, and the necessary tools that can empower those left behind.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong (editor)
This collection of essays from contemporary disabled writers celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act focuses on issues such as disabled performers in the theater and the everyday lives of the community.

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc
Fairy tales shape how we see the world, so what happens when you identify more with the Beast than Beauty? If every disabled character is mocked and mistreated, how does the Beast ever imagine a happily-ever-after? Amanda Leduc looks at fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to Disney, showing us how they influence our expectations and behaviour and linking the quest for disability rights to new kinds of stories that celebrate difference.

Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans With Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights by Lennard J. Davis
Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an acclaimed disability scholar tells the untold story of how a group of leftist Berkeley hippies managed to make an alliance with conservative Republicans to bring about a truly bipartisan bill.

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary
Like many others on the autism spectrum, 20-something stand-up comic Michael McCreary has been told by more than a few well-meaning folks that he doesn't "look" autistic. But, as he's quick to point out in this memoir, autism "looks" different for just about everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma
Documents the story of the first deaf and blind graduate of Harvard Law School, tracing her refugee parents' harrowing experiences in the Eritrea-Ethiopian war and her development of innovations that enabled her remarkable achievements.

How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard
In 2001, Toni Bernhard got sick and, to her and her partner's bewilderment, stayed that way. As they faced the confusion, frustration, and despair of a life with sudden limitations--a life that was vastly different from the one they'd thought they'd have together--Toni had to learn how to be sick. In spite of her many physical and energetic restrictions (and sometimes, because of them), Toni learned how to live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy. This book reminds us that our own inner freedom is limitless, regardless of our external circumstances.

If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures With Disaster and Destiny by Zach Anner
Two months early, underweight and under-prepared for life, comedian Zach Anner entered the world with cerebral palsy and an uncertain future. So how did this hairless mole-rat of a boy blossom into a viral internet sensation who's hosted two travel shows, impressed Oprah, driven the Mars Rover, and inspired a John Mayer song? (It wasn't Your Body is a Wonderland.) Zach lives by the mantra: when life gives you wheelchair, make lemonade.

Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution by Judith Heumann
Judy Heumann was only 5 years old when she was first denied her right to attend school. Paralyzed from polio and raised by her Holocaust-surviving parents in New York City, Judy had a drive for equality that was instilled early in life. Judy's bravery, persistence, and signature rebellious streak will speak to every person fighting to belong and fighting for social justice.

Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig
From disability advocate with a PhD in disability studies and creative nonfiction, and creator of the Instagram account @ sitting pretty, an essay collection based on a lifetime of experiences in a paralyzed body, tackling themes of identity, accessibility, bodies, and representation.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Bedridden and suffering from a neurological disorder, the author recounts the profound effect on her life caused by a gift of a snail in a potted plant and shares the lessons learned from her new companion about her the meaning of her life and the life of the small creature.

What Doesn't Kill You: A Life With Chronic Illness: Lessons From a Body in Revolt by Tessa Miller
A riveting and candid account of a young journalist's awakening to a life of chronic illness, weaving together her personal story with reporting to shed light on how Americans live with long-term diagnoses today.

Fiction Featuring Disabled Characters

Borderline by Mishell Baker
A cynical, paraplegic screenwriter with borderline personality disorder gets recruited to join a secret organization that oversees relations between Hollywood and Fairyland in the first book of a new urban fantasy series from debut author Mishell Baker.

Float Plan by Trish Doller
Hiring a sailor to navigate the boat trip she planned before her fiancé's death, Anna begins healing from a broken heart in the wake of an unexpected romance.

Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
A detective novel set in 1945, about two female private investigators trying to solve the locked-room murder of a society widow.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Emerging from a life-threatening illness, a fiercely organized but unfulfilled computer geek recruits a mysterious artist to help her establish meaning in her life, before finding herself engaged in reckless but thrilling activities.

How Lucky by Will Leitch
Unable to speak or move without a wheelchair, Daniel, spending hours observing his neighborhood from his front porch, believes he has witnessed the kidnapping of a young college student and vows to solve this mystery.

Only When It's Us by Chloe Liese
A frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women's soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate, complete with a matchmaking professor, juvenile pranks, and a smoking slow burn. The first in a series of new novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
A 30-year-old math whiz with Asperger's tries to make her love life as rich as her career by hiring an escort to help her with her lack of knowledge and experience in the dating department.

 

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