Books to Read While We're All at Home: Disability Edition


May 8, 2020 | by Ashley Eisenmenger

Books to Read While We’re All at Home: Disability Edition

With everyone practicing social distancing these days, now might be a good time to catch up on your reading list. Here is a list of books by some of our favorite authors with disabilities to quench your quarantine boredom and learn more about the disability community. All of the books listed are available in multiple formats, including audiobooks.

1. The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me, by Keah Brown

“Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective.” [Source]
You can buy Keah’s book here.

2. Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, by Judy Heumann

“A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people.” [Source]
Buy Judy’s book here.

3. Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century, by Alice Wong

“According to the last Census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by disabled people in the 21st century.” [Source]
Buy Alice’s book here.

4. Laughing at My Nightmare, by Shane Burcaw

“Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a “you-only-live-once” perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.” [Source]
You can buy Shane’s book here.

5. From the Periphery: Real-Life Stories of Disability, by Pia Justesen

From the Periphery consists of nearly forty first-person narratives from activists  and everyday people who describe what it’s like to be treated differently by society because of their disabilities. Their stories are raw and painful but also surprisingly funny and deeply moving—describing anger, independence, bigotry, solidarity, and love, in the family, at school, and in the workplace. [Source]
You can buy Pia’s book here.

6. Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, by Haben Girma

Haben takes listeners through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at the White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman’s determination to find the keys to connection. [Source]
You can buy Haben’s book here.

7. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, by John Elder Robison

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non-sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human. [Source]
You can buy John’s book here.

8. Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See, by Erik Weihenmayer

Erik Weihenmayer was born with retinoscheses, a degenerative eye disorder that would leave him blind by the age of 13. But Erik was determined to rise above this devastating disability and lead a fulfilling and exciting life. In this poignant and inspiring memoir, he shares his struggle to push past the limits imposed on him by his visual impairment – and by a seeing world. [Source]
You can buy Erik’s book here.