Book Recommendations to Celebrate Disability Pride Month for The Whole Family

Posted by Olivia Lusk

Photo by Yomex Owo on Unsplash

July is Disability Pride Month, a month-long celebration to commemorate the fight for the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and to continue to end the stigma surrounding how our society views disability. There is still a ton of work to do to create an accessible society, and there is no better time than the present to begin dismantling ableism and read some incredible books by disabled writers and activists! Here are book recommendations of all ages and genres to celebrate Disability Pride Month all year round.

Kids

All the Way to the Top by Annette Bay Pimente

Jennifer Keelan was only eight years old when she crawled up the stairs of the US Capitol Building during the Capitol Crawl in support of the Americans With Disabilities Act. This law would make public spaces more accessible for Jennifer as a wheelchair user. Based on the true story of Jennifer’s life and activism, this illustrated autobiographical book is the perfect introduction to disability history, for folks of all ages!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

We Want to Go to School! The Fight for Disability Rights by Maryann Cocca-Leffler and Janine Leffler

In 2022, we often see public schools as a resource for children of all backgrounds to receive an education. However, not too long ago, children with disabilities were denied access to a public school education because of their disabilities. In 1971, seven families in Washington, D.C. petitioned for their children with disabilities to receive a public school education through the case Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia. Co-written by Janine Leffler, one of the eight million kids with disabilities who benefitted from this law, and her mother; We Want to Go to School! The Fight for Disability Rights tells the true story of the fight for equal educational access.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

For Bixby Alexander Tam (affectionately known as Bat), the world can sometimes feel big and overwhelming. However, Bat’s autism is not only accommodated but celebrated within his family and school environments. Bat requires structure and order and one day when his mom is late from work, he panics. Until he discovers her tardiness is a result of an orphaned baby skunk she rescued. Bat falls in love with this new pet and has one month to convince his veterinarian mother that they would be a better home for this critter than a wildlife center.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

Teens

 

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

When Priya was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year at Stanford, it seemed like all of her hard work was for naught. She had worked hard to pursue her dreams of pre-med and now she was back living with her family in New Jersey. Luckily, she has her best friend Brigid and her online support group to vent about our chronic illnesses. Until one day, Brigid suddenly goes offline, and Priya steals the family car to check on his best friend. Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses is a heartwarming and fresh take on chronic illness, perfect for YA readers of all ages!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann

For four young women at the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded, their lives should have never crossed paths. In the early 20th century, disabled people of all ages were taken away and institutionalized for life. Maxine, Rose, Alice, and London have all ended up in this institution after being betrayed by their families or systems that were supposed to protect them. Despite being stuck and labeled by doctors as “morons” and “idiots”, these girls are determined to change their fate. The Degerantes is a spit-fire historical fiction novel recounting the not-so-distant history of how disabled people were institutionalized.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Norah, despite only being seventeen, has accepted that her life will only consist of the four walls of her bedroom. She knows that her fears are just irrational but her obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and agoraphobia leave her feeling that the world is just too big and too scary. This is until Luke appears at her door and does not see a girl defined by her disability. He sees Norah, a girl he loves just as she is. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is an adorable YA book recounting all sides of disability and mental illness, perfect for your TBR.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

Adults

 

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann

If you have never heard of Judy Heumann, then this book needs to go to the TOP of your TBR! After being paralyzed by polio at a young age, Judy Heumann began fighting for her right to exist in the world. She was denied an education at her local public school, claiming that she was a “fire hazard”. She won a lawsuit against the New York Board of Education after they denied her teaching license because of her disability. She even led a sit-in at the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco—the longest takeover of a government building in the U.S. The list of Judy’s accomplishments and activism can go on and on. Is this all brand new history for you? Then you MUST pick up Being Heumann!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

True Biz by Sara Nović

The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf are just like anyone else. They want to make it through the school year, pass their history final, hook up, and stop being pressured on what to do with their bodies. This novel explores the social and political issues surrounding being deaf: cochlear implants, oralism, American Sign Language, isolation, and resistance and joy. This immersive novel cleverly intertwines American Sign Language within the book. True Biz is a real page-turner written with pure love for the Deaf community.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong

Disability Visibility is a contemporary essay collection written by disabled advocates. This essay collection is complete with blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, and stories reflecting on the history of disability pride and a glimpse into the future. If you’re looking for an insightful book to begin your understanding of disability history and issues, Disability Visibility must be on your list.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

After a near-death experience, Chloe Brown realizes the life that flashed before her eyes was less than stellar. Chloe Brown is convinced she needs to get a life, and she has just the plan and the man to do it. Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is the local bad boy with tattoos, a motorcycle, and a rough exterior that makes Chloe blush. As Chloe and Red’s relationship progresses, she learns that he isn’t quite as tough as he seems. Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a hilarious rom com with important dialogue on the significance of living with chronic pain.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

A Book You May Enjoy