You’ve probably heard the expression, “So many books, so little time,” and perhaps even said it aloud. If you’re having a hard time getting through the day because of the cold, a good book might be like a warm blanket to you. In addition, a good book can convey concepts that are so energizing that they inspire people to take action and give movements their force. “Great novels help you comprehend, and they assist you to feel understood,” says award-winning author John Green.
There are a plethora of excellent works of fiction and nonfiction on the topics of disabilities, accessibility, and inclusion that can be found. And we encourage you to go out and find them. ‘ Here are 10 books about disability, accessibility, and inclusion written by authors who identify as people with disabilities to help you get started on your journey. We sincerely hope you find them as fascinating and educational as we did.
If At Birth You Don’t Succeed: My adventures with disaster and destiny by Zach Anner
It’s an admission Zach Anner makes in his candid and devilishly amusing book, If at Birth You Don’t Succeed, that he botched his own birth. He was born two months early, underweight, and unprepared for life with cerebral palsy. That hairless mole-rat turned into an internet superstar, hosting two travel series, wowing Oprah Winfrey, piloting the Mars rover and inspiring a song from John Mayer. Zach’s life motto is “make lemonade when life offers you a wheelchair.” This amusing and emotional tale about finding your passion and your path even when it’s paved with epic misadventure is titled “If at Birth You Don’t Succeed.”
Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Aspergers by John Elder Robison
From an early age, John Robison craved social interaction, but his eccentric habits—such as his tendency to blurt forth non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, disassemble radios, and dig five-foot trenches (and throw his younger brother in them)—learned him the title of’social deviant.'” John Elder Robinson was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, at the age of forty. His perspective on himself and the rest of the world was forever altered as a result of this discovery. The author’s path from working on KISS’s exploding guitars to raising a family of his own is depicted in this heartfelt, poignantly hilarious memoir. Despite the fact that it is occasionally weird and sly, it is always very human.”
Haben: The deafblind woman who conquered Harvard Law
by Haben Girma
Haben Girma, the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, was hailed by Oprah as the “millennial Helen Keller.” “ Haben spent several of her formative years in Asmara, Eritrea’s charming capital city. As she stood up to a bull she couldn’t see and absorbed her parents’ traumatic experiences during Eritrea’s thirty-year war with Ethiopia, she learned courage and a lasting strength in herself. She was inspired to embark on a journey of self-discovery, traversing the world in search of the secret to belonging after hearing the narrative of her parents’ plight as refugees. Her numerous exploits over the years have ranged from the terrifying to the downright amusing. As the story progresses, HABEN leads readers on a wild goose chase across Louisiana, a perilous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and an unforgettable meeting with President Obama at the White House. It’s a testimonial to one woman’s quest for connection that’s humorous, heartfelt, and uplifting all at the same time.
Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw
In Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare, the twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy explains the difficulties he encounters in his daily life.” With a “you-only-live-once” outlook on life and a sense of humor, Shane deals with everything from awkward handshakes to dating. In addition to discussing difficulties that kids can relate to on a daily basis, he offers a unique viewpoint on what it’s like to live with a life-threatening illness. Nominees for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award were nominated for ‘Laughing at My Nightmare’.
Criptionary: Disability Humor and Satire
by Maria Palacios
This collection of “crip terminology” by Maria Palacios “brings attention to the every day struggles and obstacles faced by persons with disabilities as it transforms the political incorrectness of the word ‘crip’ into a message of disability power and activism through which we reclaim our bodies and our lives,” as stated in the book’s introduction. Criptionary is a hilarious, provocative, and thought-provoking novel.
Pride Against Prejudice: Transforming Attitudes to Disability
by Jenny Morris
‘Jenny Morris takes on the realities of being different in Pride Against Prejudice with passion, authority, and conviction. A wide range of topics are discussed, including the current and historical debates about the quality of life for disabled people, the way disability is represented in Western culture, institutionalization and independence, feminist research and community care, and the politics of disability activism. Morris argues that non-disabled people have had control over disabled people’s lives for far too long, both in defining the experience of disability and shaping it. As a result of a new group of disabled individuals coming together, this essential book was born.
It’s Just Nerves: Notes on a Disability by Kelly Davio
For the first time, Kelly Davio examines what it means to be sick in our modern culture, whether at home or abroad, in her book It’s Just Nerve: Notes on a Disability. Author Sheila Black recommends reading this book if you want to know what it’s like to have a disability in the 21st century. At times, Davio brings us face-to-face with our shared human experience by dismantling the myths of disability that have been perpetuated by the ableist community. She is a brave and hilarious writer. I couldn’t put these articles down once I started reading them; they resonated with me like poetry or truth.”
The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen’s Escape from War to Freedom by Nujeen Mustafa, with Christina Lamb
‘The Girl from Aleppo’ shares the amazing true story of another remarkable young hero: ‘I Am Malala’s’ Christina Lamb (who also co-authored I Am Malala) An inspiring story of a young Syrian refugee with cerebral palsy whose arduous trip to Germany in a wheelchair is the face of the Syrian refugee crisis has been told by Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager who was born with the condition. No matter how limited her mobility was, Nujeen decided to make the long journey to safety and a new life. She refused to give in to hopelessness or to consider herself as a helpless victim. We need to change the world, and this memoir, The Girl from Aleppo, helps us understand why. It also provides inspiration for how we might bring about that transformation.
Welcome to Biscuit Land: A Year in the Life of a Touretteshero
by Jessica Thom
Welcome to the world, Touretteshero. Tourette’s Syndrome affects Jess, who is unable to control her tics. As a first-person account of living with Tourettes, a neurological illness that manifests as both physical and vocal tics, the book Welcome to Biscuit Land is both funny and moving. In a year-by-year account of her life, Jess Thom reveals the full range of her experiences. In spite of her many challenges, such as life-threatening arm and leg tics and an uncontrollable verbal outburst (she says the word “biscuit” an average of 16 times per minute), Jess is able to get by with the help of a close circle of family and friends, as well as random strangers who can be both helpful and harmful at times. When faced with life’s greatest obstacles and with the strength and optimism to meet them head-on, this memoir presents a courageous and inspiring voice, encouraging its readers with a message of resiliency.”
Ugly by Robert Hoge by Jessica Thom
On the forehead of Robert Hoge was a massive tumour, which badly altered the features of his face as well as his legs. His mother wouldn’t even allow him to see her son, much less take him home with her. But he returned home, to a life that, despite all the odds, was full of happiness, optimism, and innocent mischief. The Hoges lived in a Brisbane bayside neighbourhood. When Mary and Vince found out that their son, Robert, had Down syndrome, they vowed to give him an Australian childhood. Along with the regular and often perilous surgeries that made medical history while steadily improving Robert’s quality of life were visits to the neighborhood swimming pool, school camps and aspirations of playing summer sports. Robert’s memoir, Ugly, chronicles his life from conception to the birth of his own daughter. It’s a narrative about how his family’s love and support helped him overcome enormous difficulties. Ultimately, it’s the narrative of an amazing man going about his daily routine in an ordinary way.