July is Disability Pride Month: a celebration of the history, achievements and experiences of the disability community. July 26 marks the 33rd anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark law that lowered many barriers to access and inclusion.
People with disabilities are represented in – and write – many books you’ll find at the library. This month, we encourage you to pick up one of these titles for your children or yourself.
For e-books and audiobooks featuring disabled characters and writers, check out the Disability Pride shelf in cloudLibrary.
Children’s Picture Books
All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel
This book tells the true story of activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins who participated in the Capitol Crawl when she was 8 years old to make sure the Americans with Disabilities Act passed Congress. Without her wheelchair, she climbed the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC, making a powerful case for disability rights.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Ben Trockman
Uncover the life of former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who relied on a wheelchair and leg braces for mobility. As part of the My Itty-Bitty Bio series, this book was written in partnership with Easterseals and written by a member of the disability community.
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott
This award-winning picture book tells the story of a young boy who stutters. After a walk by the river with his father, his perspective shifts and he begins to find his voice. Jordan Scott’s powerful writing is based on his own experience with stuttering and a life-changing walk he took with his father along the Fraser River in British Columbia.
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
First-grader Zulay, who is blind, and her three best friends are all in the same class and enjoy learning together. When their teacher asks what activities they would like to do for Field Day, Zulay declares she wants to run a race and does just that – with some help from her friends and a special aide.
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky
Based on a real-life partnership, this charming book tells the story of love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog, Rescue. When Rescue learns that his plans to become a Seeing Eye dog have changed and he’ll become a service dog instead, he worries he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica: a girl who relies on Rescue to accomplish everyday tasks.
What Happened to You? by James Catchpole
Joe just wants to play pirates at the playground, but he’s constantly asked what happened to his leg. Based on the author’s childhood experiences, this honest, heartwarming story shows what happens when the other kids finally learn they don’t need to know what happened to Joe and get back to playing with him.
Middle Grade Books
Air by Monica Roe
Twelve-year-old Emmie is raising money for a special wheelchair she needs to participate in wheelchair motocross (WCMX), when a mishap on a poorly designed ramp at her school throws everything off. Instead of replacing the ramp, her school’s solution isn’t what she wants. Emmie and her friends devise a way to get her dreams off the ground and show her community that she’s ready to do things on her own terms.
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
ZJ’s dad – a pro football star – is acting differently these days. He has trouble remembering things and seems angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains that it’s because of all the head injuries he had during his career, but 12-year-old ZJ still has to figure out how to hold on to family traditions while making space for the difficulties his family is facing.
The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz
Thirteen-year-old Nat is obsessed with musicals – but she’s never actually been in one, or even seen an actor use a wheelchair for mobility on stage. When her family moves to New Jersey, she auditions – and gets into! – a kids’ production of Wicked. But things go awry a week before the curtain opens, forcing Nat to grapple with her fears and insecurities.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
One of this year’s Reading Olympics selections, El Deafo is a graphic novel that introduces Cece to a new elementary school, where she’s sure the kids are staring at her hearing aid. But she quickly discovers she can hear her teacher anywhere: the hallway, the teacher’s lounge, even the bathroom! Now it’s up to Cece to channel her superpower into finding the thing she wants most: a true friend.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Aven likes to tell people she lost her arms in harrowing ways – an alligator wrestling match, a wildfire in Tanzania – but really, she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running a western theme park in Arizona, she knows she’ll have to answer the same questions over and over again. But her new life takes an unexpected turn when she meets a classmate who also feels isolated from others.
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
This critically acclaimed book introduces readers to the true story of a thriving deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century. A century after the community’s settling, 11-year-old Mary Lambert – who communicates in sign language like everyone else on the island – is proud of her lineage. But tensions mount as a cunning young scientist arrives, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. Mary finds herself a “live specimen” in a cruel experiment from which she must save herself.
Novels for Teens/Adults
You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
A unique YA novel! Julia finds a slur about her so-called best friend on a wall of the Kingston School for the Deaf and covers it up with a beautiful but illegal graffiti mural. When she’s expelled, her mothers send her to a public school in the suburbs, where she’s treated poorly by the other students. The only thing she has left is her graffiti, and she paints everywhere she can – until someone starts adding to her tags, making them even better.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Put this rom-com on your to-do list! Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a list of seven items she needs to do to “Get a Life.” But she needs a teacher – and she knows just the man for the job: Red Morgan, a rough-around-the-edges handyman who paints by night. After enlisting Red to help her complete her list, she starts to learn why he resents Chloe’s wealthy background – and why he never shows his art to anyone.
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel
This thoughtful story subverts outdated tropes about disability! The Mitchell triplets came of age watching their mother’s fight for justice after the water in their small town turned green. But just when it seems life might continue that way forever, a moving truck unloads new residents and old secrets. The Mitchell sisters find themselves taking on a system stacked against them from the start.
Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
Audiobook narrator Sewanee – still recovering from an accident in which she lost an eye – refuses to lend her talents to romance novels. But when a beloved novelist wants her to read a book with one of the industry’s hottest, most secretive narrators, she finds herself once again interested in all things romantic.
True Biz by Sara Novic
The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, as a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of the main characters.
We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
This one’s a slow burn! Ten years after a young girl, Trumanell, disappeared from her small Texas town, her brother lives as a pariah as everyone believes he’s to blame. When he finds a lost girl abandoned in a field, Odette – a young cop with a dark past and a missing leg – becomes desperate to solve both this case and the disappearance of his sister.
The Witch Elm by Tana French
Dive into this gripping novel and meet happy-go-lucky Toby, who is left for dead after being beaten by two burglars. Struggling to recover from what may be permanent injuries, he retreats to his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle, where he finds a skull in the trunk of a tree. As detectives close in, Toby is forced to reckon with his family’s dark past.