July is Disability Pride Month, an opportunity to promote awareness of the disability community, challenge systemic ableism, and honour people with disabilities both visible and invisible.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite reads that celebrate Disability Pride. From fiction to non-fiction, make sure to add these to your must-read list this July.
Happy reading and happy Disability Pride Month!
Out Of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper
From award-winning author Sharon Draper, Out Of My Mind will forever change how we all look at anyone with a disability, perfect for fans of RJ Palacio’s Wonder.
Melody, who is eleven, is a genius—she remembers everything and no one is aware of it. Melody was born with Cerebral Palsy, which makes her unable to walk, talk, or write. But she's determined to talk. Doctors, teachers, and classmates only see Melody's disability but she is determined to show them otherwise.
Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body - Rebekah Taussig
A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate Rebekah Taussig (@sitting_pretty), processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.
Wonder - R J Palacio
Wonder is the story of a young boy named August Pullman, born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, who is ready to go to a regular school for fifth grade. Auggie may be ready for the world, but the world may not be ready for him. "Wonder" is a story about how one community struggles with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law - Haben Girma
Disability, according to Haben Girma, is an opportunity for innovation. She set out on a quest for knowledge, inspired by her parents' refugee story, and travelled the world in search of the secret to belonging.
Haben overcame adversity, earned a law degree from Harvard, and now uses her skills to advocate for people with disabilities. This captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection; it is warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting.
Say Hello - Carly Findlay
Carly Findlay, an Australian disability rights activist, talks about her experience living with Ichthyosis, a genetic skin condition. Findlay's skin is frequently red as a result of her condition. People often make rude remarks or ask intrusive questions when they notice her facial difference.
Findlay's memoir is full of the wisdom and insight she's gained over the years, and it stands in solidarity with other disabled people who may be going through the same things she has.
The Bride Test - Helen Hoang
The Bride Test is the story of Autistic Vietnamese-American Khai Diep. After an accident that killed his cousin, he thinks he's defective for lacking external grief, despite his family's support. He decides he'll never date, but his mother has other ideas. Esme Tran works as a janitor in Ho Chi Minh City to support her daughter and family. Khai's mother offers her a chance to seduce her son in America. She hesitantly agrees, hoping to secure a future for herself and her daughter. The Bride Test has endearing characters and a heartwarming plot!
Borderline (The Arcadia Project Book 1) - Mishell Baker
Millie's legs were amputated after a suicide attempt, and she's in a psychiatric hospital for BPD. Feeling hopeless and adrift, Millie agrees to work for the Arcadia Project despite knowing nothing about it. She joins a group of disabled people tasked with keeping Hollywood's relationship with the fey secret. Millie discovers a plot while investigating the disappearance of a fey. It's the first book in the Arcadia Project series.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century - Alice Wong
In the United States, one out of every five people has a disability. Some disabilities are obvious, while others are less so; however, they are all underrepresented in the media and popular culture. Activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanising collection of contemporary essays by disabled people just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A Room Called Earth - Madeleine Ryan
A Room Called Earth is a nuanced and inspiring novel that takes place over the course of one evening and provides an intimate look into the mind of the autistic protagonist. The novel begins with an unnamed narrator getting ready for a Christmas party in Melbourne, Australia. Awkward interactions with others at the party make her feel even more lonely than before and bring up memories from her past. As the party progresses, however, she finally finds someone with whom she can converse.
Amy and Matthew: A Love Story - Cammie McGovern
Amy is open about her limits—with cerebral palsy, she can't walk or communicate. But locked inside this difficult body is a brilliant mind and a radiant spirit—a girl capable of loving and worthy of love. Matthew's mind is overrun by unwanted repeating thoughts, obsessive rituals, and debilitating terror he can't explain. But behind all the tension is a desire that someone will believe in him. Their narrative is told in Amy and Matthew: A Love Story; it may not be a fairy tale romance or set in another universe but it is a story about real love.
The Pretty One - Keah Brown
Keah Brown is proud of herself, but she wasn't always that way. Her greatest desire as a child with cerebral palsy was normalcy and a haven from the constant barrage of self-hate society instilled in her. She has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community.
These essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (dubbed "the pretty one" by friends), navigating romance, her deep affinity for all things pop culture, her disappointment with the media's distorted view of disability, and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute, all with clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose.
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens - Marieke Nijkamp
Unbroken is an anthology of stories from various genres, all of which feature disabled characters and were written by disabled authors. Interstellar war, a journey to Persia, and a dating disaster are among the stories in this collection. The adolescent characters come in a variety of colours, genders, and orientations, but their disabilities are never hidden.
Image credit: Alice Wong