Reads for Disability Pride Month

“Disability Pride” celebrates the important history of the disability civil rights movement and recognizes contributions that people with disabilities make in workplaces and communities. Observed in July to commemorate the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in July, 1990, it’s a time to celebrate people with disabilities which is roughly 15% of the world’s population and 1 in 4 Americans.

Here are some recently published books available with your Livingston Library card, by and about the disabled and differently abled people, so that we can learn more about them, and hear different stories and voices.

About Us: Essays From The Disability Series Of The New York Times 

Based on the pioneering New York Times series, this volume collects the personal essays and reflections that have transformed the national conversation around disability. Speaking not only to those with disabilities, but also to their families, coworkers and support networks, the authors offer intimate stories of how they navigate a world not built for them.

The Beauty Of Dusk : On Vision Lost And Found by Frank Bruni

A  wise and moving memoir about aging, affliction, and optimism after partially losing his eyesight due to a rare overnight stroke.  Bruni hauntingly recounts his adjustment to this daunting reality, a medical and spiritual odyssey that involved not only reappraising his own priorities but also reaching out to, and gathering wisdom from, longtime friends and new acquaintances who had navigated their own traumas and afflictions. 

Being Heumann : An Unrepentant Memoir Of A Disability Rights Activist by Judith E. Heumann

This book is an inspiring call for inclusiveness, courage, equity, and justice as well as a reminder of people’s power to change the world for the better.  One of the nearly 43,000 U.S. children affected by the 1949 polio epidemic, Heumann is a paraplegic who has used a wheelchair since childhood. In 1977, Heumann helped stage a historic sit-in over the failure to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits excluding anyone from a program that receives federal funds. The activists’ pressure set the stage for the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Being Seen : One Deafblind Woman’s Fight To End Ableism by Elsa Sjunneson

A deafblind writer and professor explores how the misrepresentation of disability in books, movies, and TV harms both the disabled community and everyone else.

Blind Man’s Bluff : A Memoir by James Tate Hill

A writer’s humorous and often-heartbreaking tale of losing his sight-and how he hid it from the world. For fifteen years, Hill hid his blindness from friends, colleagues, and lovers, even convincing himself that if he stared long enough, things would come into focus. At thirty, faced with a stalled writing career, a crumbling marriage, and a growing fear of leaving his apartment, he began to wonder if there was a better way.

Demystifying Disability : What To Know, What To Say, And How To Be An Ally by Emily Ladau

A guide for how to be a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible place.

Disability Visibility (ebook from OverDrive) : First-person Stories From The Twenty-First Century

From Harriet McBryde Johnson’s account of her debate with Peter Singer over her own personhood to original pieces by authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma; from blog posts, manifestos, and eulogies to Congressional testimonies, and beyond: this anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. 

Easy Beauty : A Memoir by Chloé Cooper Jones

Jones was born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis, which affects both the stature and gait, and so her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as “less than.” the ways she has been seen–or not seen–has informed her lens on the world for her entire life… But after unexpectedly becoming a mother (in violation of unspoken social taboos about the disabled body), she feels something in her shift, and Jones sets off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied and had denied herself.

Fearlessly Different : An Autistic Actor’s Journey To Broadway’s Biggest Stage by Mickey Rowe

This is the moving, inspirational memoir of autistic actor Mickey Rowe, who pushed beyond the stereotypes and obstacles so many disabled individuals face to shine on Broadway’s biggest stage. It opens up the world of autism to those who feel locked out and helps those with autism feel seen and understood.

I Live A Life Like Yours : A Memoir by Jan Grue

A sensitive examination of the meaning of disability. When he was 3 years old, award-winning Norwegian writer Grue was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative disease that compromised his ability to walk and, doctors predicted, would worsen over time. In a frank and often moving memoir, the author reflects on disability, identity, and difference, drawing on philosophy, sociology, literature, and art: Erving Goffman on the concept of stigma, for example; Joan Didion on grief; Michel Foucault on the clinical gaze.

No Spring Chicken : Stories And Advice From A Wild Handicapper On Aging And Disability by Francine Falk-Allen

A memoir of the author’s adventures living with a disability. Intended as a follow-up to her earlier memoir, Not a Poster Child: Living Well With a Disability—A Memoir (2018), which detailed her contending with the effects of polio, this is an enthusiastic if rambling collection of stories from her life as a world traveler and polio survivor. Falk-Allen’s approach to enjoying travel as a “wild handicapper”—in her case, as someone who walks with an assistive device and has limited stamina—focuses on planning and understanding what to expect upon arrival at one’s destination, particularly researching accessibility options, packing light, and sticking to a budget.

Normal Sucks : How To Live, Learn, And Thrive Outside The Lines by Jonathan Mooney

As a neuro-diverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn’t learn to read until he was twelve, the realization that that he wasn’t the problem–the system and the concept of normal were–saved Mooney’s life and fundamentally changed his outlook. Here he explores the toll that being not normal takes on kids and adults when they’re trapped in environments that label them, shame them, and tell them, even in subtle ways, that they are the problem. But, he argues, if we can reorient the ways in which we think about diversity, abilities, and disabilities, we can start a revolution.

The Pretty One : On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, And Other Reasons To Fall In Love With Me by Keah Brown

From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America. 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.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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