July is Disability Pride Month. Although originating in America, the month is now celebrated around the world, including here in the United Kingdom. In our blog post today, we spotlight titles written by disabled authors or about the topic of disability.
You can find further titles on our Inclusive Reads page, especially in our Lived Experiences lists. For information about services available in Warwickshire, visit the Warwickshire County Council ‘Support for disabled people’ page here.
Disability Visibility: First-person Stories From the Twenty First Century, edited by Alice Wong
This title is available in two versions – as well as an adult non-fiction version available on eAudio BorrowBox, there’s also an adapted version aimed at Young Adults available on eAudio and on our library shelves.
Activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers. From the book’s blurb:
The eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life’s ableism and inequality, its challenges and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy.
The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential listening for all.
Throughout history, how society treated its disabled and infirm can tell us a great deal about the period. Challenged with any impairment, disease or frailty was often a matter of life and death before the advent of modern medicine, so how did a society support the disabled amongst them?
For centuries, disabled people and their history have been overlooked – hidden in plain sight. Very little on the infirm and mentally ill was written down during the renaissance period. The Tudor period is no exception and presents a complex, unparalleled story,
Meet characters like William Somer, Henry VIII’s fool at court, whom the king depended upon, and learn of how the dissolution of the monasteries contributed to forming an army of ‘sturdy beggars’ who roamed Tudor England without charitable support. From the nobility to the lowest of society, Phillipa Vincent-Connolly casts a light on the lives of disabled people in Tudor England and guides us through the social, religious, cultural, and ruling classes’ response to disability as it was then perceived.
Also available on BorrowBox as an eBook.
Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig
Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.
Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.
I’m Only In It For The Parking: Everything I Know About Life, Laughter and Disability by Lee Ridley
Lee Ridley won the hearts and minds of the nation on Britain’s Got Talent. Now the much-loved comedian opens up about what it’s like to be him.
‘I’m Only In It for the Parking’ is a romp through Lee’s extraordinary life, by way of the people who like to pray for him, the comparisons with Stephen Hawking, some perilous falls, some epic fails and more information about Lee’s private life than you probably need. This is the wickedly funny story of the stand-up who struggles to stand up, but who learns to find his feet. The Geordie without the accent. The entertainer who really can’t speak at all, but who has something important to say.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan and a list. After almost – but not quite – dying, she’s come up with a list of directives to help her ‘Get a Life’. But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford ‘Red’ Morgan.
With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there’s much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she’s left wanting more from him than she ever expected – maybe there’s more to life than her list ever imagined?
Patience by Victoria Scott
If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?
The Willow family have been through a lot together. Louise has devoted her life to her family and raising her disabled daughter, Patience. Pete now works abroad, determined to provide more, even if it means seeing less of those he loves. And Eliza, in the shadow of her sister, has a ‘perfect’ life in London, striving to live up to her mother’s high standards. Meanwhile, Patience lives her life quietly, watching and judging the world while she’s trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she knows what she wants, but she can’t ever communicate this to those who make the decisions for her. Patience only wants a voice, but this is impossible.
When the opportunity to put Patience into a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome becomes available, opinions are divided.
Mother-of-two Audrey is horrified when during a moment of distraction in the park, her pram with baby Wilfred in it roll down the hill and into a pond. Fortunately for her, Claire Jones is nearby and rescues Wilfred, soothing Audrey and daughter Antonia with coffee and cake in a nearby cafe.
Audrey and Claire quickly become friends but the frightening experience has dented Audrey’s confidence and she replays the events over and over, convinced she can’t have forgotten to put the brake on. To make matters worse she keeps spotting a man in the shadows and becomes sure that someone is stalking her. Does Claire know more than she is letting on?
Penny is a Warwickshire-based author and is the co-founder of The ADCI (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) Literary Prize.
Esta has known nothing but Eden’s Isle her whole life. Raised by her grandmother, after a fire claimed her parents and scarred her face as a child, Esta faces a life of piety and dread, bound to a religious society who cut themselves off from the mainland in the name of salvation.
The island is governed by a fear of the outside world and the corrupting evil, lurking deep in the water known as the Seawomen. They fear the water, and the only way to remain virtuous is never to enter the sea, to follow God’s word. Women on the island are controlled, married off and must conceive a child within the 12 months of their appointed motheryear. If she doesn’t bear a child in that year, she is marked as cursed, and cast back into the sea as a sacrifice, in an act called the Untethering.
When Esta witnesses a woman Untethered before her eyes she sees a future to fear.
Junior and Young Adult Books
In this illustrated biography anthology, meet 34 artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities, from past and present.
From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.
These short biographies tell the stories of people who have faced unique challenges which have not stopped them from becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and makers.
Do you like chicken?’ Oscar asked me. I nodded. ‘Then take a wing’. Oscar offered me his arm and we linked each other into the school hall.
Edie has cerebral palsy, but she’s used to it because she’s spent her whole life being a bit wobbly. She can’t wait to start secondary school with her best friend Oscar and share sausage rolls with him at breaktime.
But when Oscar scuppers these plans by getting his first ever girlfriend, GROSS, Edie eventually decides to stop feeling sorry for herself and find a boyfriend, so she can prove to Oscar she’s grown up too.
Edie’s adventures continue in The Big Trip, due to be published in August 2022
The Parsons Road Gang books by Ade Adepitan
British Paralympian, Ade Adepitan has written three children’s book that follow the adventures of The Parsons Road Gang, loosely based on his own childhood.
Having survived polio as a youngster, Ade Adepitan has succeeded as an international Paralympic wheelchair basketball player and has built up a wealth of broadcasting experience. Find out more about Ade and the books at Booktrust.
This brother and sister duo spend a lot of their day together, eating meals, going to school and playing. But life with an autistic sibling is not always easy.
Through the eyes of the brother, we find out how they are both very different, but also very similar in other ways, and come what may they have lots of fun together and love each other just the same.
I was Haven Point’s first Wreckling, but I certainly wasn’t the last. There are forty-two of us now, not including the mermaids. When you’re a Wreckling, you mainly spend your days squabbling, eating and planning adventures. Oh, and Wrecklings also carry out wreckings, which is how we got our name . . .
Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong. Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups).
But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders. With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want . . . and what they’re willing to do to get it.
A chance meeting and a secret message drags Libby into a thrilling mystery, but no one believes she can spot the clues. Can she make them realise what she is really capable of, before it’s too late?
Libby is visually impaired but that doesn’t stop her being a keen photographer. She loves going out walking with her guide dog, Samson, and taking photos, but her family worry about her – and Libby wishes she could be more independent.
The day that the boy gives her a secret note to deliver changes everything. Because soon after, the boy goes missing, and no one – except Libby and her new friend Kyle – thinks there is anything to worry about. Libby knows there’s no way her parents would let her get involved. But what if she’s the only person who can solve the mystery?
Can you love someone you can never touch? Stella Grant likes to be in control – even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn 18 and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals. Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart.