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7 great books about disabilities for National Reading Month

March is National Reading Month. If you’re looking for your next title, whether for yourself or to read with the kids, take a look at this collection of good reads that can help us all be better allies and advocates for people with disabilities.

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny

By Zach Anner

This is the memoir of a comedian and YouTube star with cerebral palsy who lives by the mantra, “when life gives you wheelchair, make lemonade.” His irreverent take and brushes with fame, from Dr. Phil to the Mars Rover, make for a riveting read.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century

By Alice Wong (editor)

This collection of essays pulls in voices of a cross section of writers with disabilities: lawyers, activists, authors and everyday people. Their personal experiences and call to action will challenge your assumptions, but also celebrate our rich culture of disability.

A Disability History of the United States

By Kim E. Nielsen

Traditional history we learn in school is a story that’s told by the winners: our leaders and the generals. A people’s history looks below the surface to reveal the true nature of our society, what we value, our good impulses along with the bad. This non-fiction book covers the history of disability starting in 1492, and ends in the present. Inspiring and hopeful in some turns, and cringeworthy at others, this history offers a revealing portrait of how “disability shaped the American experience — from deciding who was allowed to immigrate to establishing labor laws and justifying slavery and gender discrimination.”

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism

By Temple Grandin

Now a classic, readers are taken in by the groundbreaking story of Temple Grandin, who designed new and more humane systems for holding livestock. As the title implies, Grandin gives a revealing look at life from “the country of autism,” shares her coping strategies and how she tapped into her visual abilities to solve real-world problems.

Reads for children

When Charley Met Emma

By Amy Webb

For children ages 3-5, this first in a series of books opens with Charley meeting Emma for the first time on the playground. She’s a friendly girl with limb differences and she uses a wheelchair. Charley doesn’t get it right the first time, but kids will learn a lot from his mistakes and their power to make the world a better place.

My Friend Isabelle

By Eliza Woloson

Another story about friendship to help very young children discuss and process the differences between us, and help them discover our shared humanity. This time, we experience the friendship of a boy and his friend Isabelle, who has Down syndrome, and the things they share in life.

Out of My Mind

By Sharon M. Draper

A compelling page-turner about Melody, age 11, who is non-verbal, but is smarter than anyone ever suspects. But one day, she finds a way to surprise everyone.

Do you have a favorite you don’t see listed here? Tell us about it here!