42 Best Books On Disabilities Curated by a Disability Activist

Selection of book covers from books about disabilities: Get a Life Chloe Brown, Demystifying Disability, Disability Visibility, The Pretty One, Not So Different

It’s been over 30 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in the United States. While this law did open the door for disabled folks to receive increased access to services, official celebrations (like Disability Pride Month), and increased rights, there’s still so much more that needs to be done. 

As a proud disabled Latina, I am constantly reminded of the remarkable qualities that my experience with Cerebral Palsy has nurtured within me. It has shaped me into a person who is empathetic, resilient, and highly adaptable, like the many others in my diverse community. 

Disability does not define me in isolation; it’s a part of my identity that contributes to my human experience. Through sharing our stories and embracing our shared humanity, we can work to break down barriers and foster a society that recognizes and celebrates the strength, resilience, and talents of all individuals — regardless of ability. 

Before we dive into this reading list, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on our own attitudes toward disability. Let’s address and challenge the concept of ableism.

Ableism, as defined by activist Talila A. Lewis, is a system that assigns value to individuals based on societal notions of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. Ableism affects everyone — regardless of their disability status. (You can find an expanded definition of ableism on Talila’s website.) 

By acknowledging and challenging our own ableist beliefs and behaviors, we can actively create a more inclusive and equitable society. 

Looking at the way people are portrayed across literature and media is a good start at examining our own beliefs. I’ve curated a list of some of my favorite books across genres like fiction, nonfiction, romance, young adult novels, and children’s books. Each book does a beautiful job of weaving in and centering someone with a disability. 

Disability is a vibrant and multifaceted spectrum encompassing diverse conditions and experiences (from the visible to the invisible). It’s vital to challenge the dominant societal narrative that portrays disability as something separate or lacking — it’s quite the contrary.

Whether you’re a part of the disabled community or an able-bodied person, every book on this list covers a shared human experience or call to action for us all to take. 

By the way, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

The Best Books About Disabilities

Disability Books Starter Kit

No one is an expert on a specific topic right off the bat. We’re allowed to not know, be beginners, and ask thoughtful questions when learning something new.

This is your place to start. 

Welcome to your ultimate guide to exploring the narratives and rich history of the disability community. Think of this as Disability 101, where you’ll delve into disability literature, learning more about our lived experiences, challenges, and amazing triumphs. 

I recommend following the suggested reading order. Each book in this starter kit intentionally builds upon the previous one, gradually immersing readers in the ever-evolving, ever-dynamic, and diverse world of disability.

This toolkit serves as a trusted guide, equipping you with the knowledge and empathy necessary to navigate the complexities of disability — and become an advocate within your community.

1. “Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally” by Emily Ladau

“Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally” by Emily Ladau — Book cover has more than 40 diverse people illustrated

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“Demystifying Disability” is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand and support disabled folks. It’s an approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally — with the added bonus of actionable steps and language shifts. 

Not only does Ladau share her experience of having the same disability as her mother — offering a new and eye-opening perspective that I had never come across before — but she also highlights an often overlooked form of discrimination: airline discrimination.  

As a committee member of All Wheels Up, an organization dedicated to advocating for improved and dignified air travel for disabled individuals, I found it so impactful that she highlighted this critical issue in her book.

2. “Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century” edited by Alice Wong

2. “Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century” edited by Alice Wong

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“Disability Visibility” by Alice Wong is an essential anthology — from blog posts, manifestos, and eulogies to Congressional testimonies, and more — providing a glimpse into the rich, complex, and diverse experiences of disabled individuals. 

Wong brings together a collection of essays that challenge misconceptions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), debunking the notion that it has achieved equality and accessibility in public spaces. We’re not there … yet. 

Beyond this, Wong — who lost her ability to speak — has shown that the “traditional way” of communicating is not the only way to communicate. Her transition into using a speech reader has helped reinforce the idea that there are so many ways to be present, communicate, and create change. 

3. “Black Disability Politics” by Sami Schalk

“Black Disability Politics” by Sami Schalk

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“Black Disability Politics” by Sami Schalk delves into the intersectionality of disability and Black activism, exploring how disability issues have been and continue to be central to the fight for racial justice. Schalk sheds light on the often-overlooked legacy of Black disability politics, which differs in language and approach from the mainstream white-dominated disability rights movement.

By drawing on archival research from influential organizations such as the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women’s Health Project, as well as interviews with contemporary Black-disabled cultural figures, Schalk uncovers the common qualities of Black disability politics.

She emphasizes the importance of grounding public health initiatives in the experiences and expertise of marginalized disabled individuals, enabling them to work in anti-racist, feminist, and anti-ableist ways.

In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, this book addresses the crucial submovement called Black Disabled Lives Matter. This acknowledgment highlights the existence of Black lives on the margins that are often left out of the conversation on racial justice.

4. “Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability” by Shane Burcaw

“Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability” by Shane Burcaw - Book cover has Shane smiling in his wheelchair

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“Not So Different” by Shane Burcaw is a children’s book that offers a lighthearted and relatable glimpse into the author’s life. With humor and refreshing honesty, Burcaw addresses the curious and sometimes awkward questions he often receives about living with a disability — showcasing that he is just as approachable, friendly, and funny as anyone else.

Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare disease that affects his muscles’ growth, Burcaw shares his experiences of navigating daily life with the help of friends and family — while also pursuing his passions (like playing sports and video gaming) and living a fulfilling life.

What sets this book apart is the much-needed humor it brings to the disability community. By sharing jokes and lighthearted stories, he models how laughter and poking fun at ourselves is not only acceptable but also an essential way to celebrate our shared humanity.

Burcaw’s work shines beyond his books, though. He and his wife, Hannah Aylward, are YouTube vloggers, podcasters, and run Laughing At My Nightmare Inc. — an organization providing assistive technology to people with disabilities and adaptive equipment to those with muscular dystrophy.

5. “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist” by Judith Heumann 

“Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist” by Judith Heumann - Cover has Judith smiling in her chair in black and white with colorful flowers

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A friend of mine once coined “Being Heumann” by Judith “Judy” Heumann as the disability bible — and I wholeheartedly agree. Judy was an internationally recognized disability rights activist, widely regarded as “the mother” of the disability rights movement. 

She was also considered by many of us within the community as the quintessential Jewish disabled grandma who regularly checked in on us. 

This book, her first memoir, chronicles Judy’s remarkable journey and provides key insights into the development of disability justice movements from the 1970s to the 2010s.

From challenging discriminatory practices in schools to leading the historic 504 Sit-in, Judy’s actions paved the way for the implementation of vital protections for disabled people’s rights, ultimately leading to the creation of the ADA. Her memoir offers a candid, intimate perspective that invites able-bodied and disabled readers to get a sense of all the work she was doing before she passed.

6. “Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice & Art Activism of Sins Invalid” by Shayda Kafai

“Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice & Art Activism of Sins Invalid” by Shayda Kafai

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The fusion of art and activism creates a powerful catalyst for igniting movements, painting vibrant portraits of social change, merging rebellion with beauty, and transforming the world through creative revolution.

“Crip Kinship” by Shayda Kafai is a powerful exploration of those intersections. This book serves as a love letter and offering of disabled, queer survival teachings, shedding light on the transformative work of Sins Invalid, a San Francisco Bay Area-based performance project.

Through the lens of disability justice, this book dives into the radical possibilities that disabled, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming people of color are capable of. It showcases their ability to rewrite oppressive narratives and provides invaluable lessons for collective survival and liberation.

Accessible to both fellow disabled community members and folks who may be encountering the concepts of disability justice and ableism for the first time, this book serves as an inclusive resource for learning, growth, and understanding.

For those interested, I encourage you to (of course) read this book but also take it a step further by exploring this organization’s free resources offered for all people with disabilities. 

7. “Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

“Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

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I’d like to think that I know a lot about disability justice, but this book reminded me: You’re just getting started. 

In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award–winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explore the politics and realities of disability justice.

It’s essentially the tool kit for anyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. 

We live in a society that’s always telling us to go, go, go! This book really hones in on all the different ways we can show up and advocate for the disability community. 

I read this book while I was undergoing chemo treatments. For six months, I was only focusing on myself, which meant I had to pause my activism. I was trying to see myself. And this book made me feel it’s OK to be in that space. You can put as much effort into yourself as you do with everybody else. 


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

“The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me” by Keah Brown - Cover has Keah, who has black skin and black hair and glasses, smiling in a sweater outdoors

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Keah Brown’s “The Pretty One” offers a much-needed perspective on the experiences of being Black and disabled in a predominantly able-bodied white America. 

As a disability rights advocate, journalist, and creator of the viral social media campaign #DisabledAndCute (which I fully immersed myself in), Brown has become a leading voice in the disabled community, and in this collection of essays, she brings her contemporary and deeply relatable voice to the forefront.

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Brown candidly shares her journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. She reveals that her greatest desire used to be “normalcy.” Through introspection and connecting with others in her community, however, she’s since reclaimed her identity and shifted her perspective

From breaking down her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin — who has often been referred to as “the pretty one” — to providing a poignant reflection on identity and societal beauty standards, Brown examines her experiences in navigating romance and uncovering the complexities and challenges of finding love while challenging societal perceptions of disability. 

“The Pretty One” is more than just a book about disability; it’s a testament to the power of self-love, resilience, and the importance of embracing our authentic self. 

“Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life” by Alice Wong

“Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life” by Alice Wong - cover is yellow with a red illustrated tiger

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In the midst of her challenging healthcare journey, which led to the loss of her ability to speak, Alice Wong fearlessly released this book as a testament to the immense power that our voices and stories hold. 

In traditional Chinese culture, the tiger is admired for its confidence, passion, and ferocity. In the “Year of the Tiger,” the animal symbolizes duality — being both the powerful king (and queen) of the jungle while at the same time embodying qualities of softness and gentleness.

Drawing from a rich collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, and commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, Wong uses her unique talent to curate a compelling scrapbook that showcases her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, and dreamer. 

She traces her origins, shares her personal story, and creates a space for disabled individuals to engage in meaningful conversations with one another and the world. The book beautifully explores the complexities of disability and the constant fight for equality, while also highlighting the importance of leaning on community and sharing the burden of advocacy.

Alice’s narrative also delves into the process of becoming progressively more disabled as her life unfolds, offering a valuable and profound perspective. 

Often, society tends to view disability as a static moment, assuming that individuals are either born disabled or experience a single tragic event that leads to disability. However, Alice reminds us that disability is dynamic and ever-evolving, shaping our lives in various ways as we age.

“Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary, Resilient, Disabled Body” by Rebekah Taussig

“Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary, Resilient, Disabled Body” by Rebekah Taussig

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In “Sitting Pretty,” Rebekah Taussig, a disability advocate and content creator, paints a beautifully nuanced portrait of a body that defies conventional expectations and moves in ways that challenge societal norms. 

Reflecting on her unique experience, Taussig dissects the complexities of kindness and charity, the relationship between independence and dependency, the pursuit of intimacy, and the pervasive influence of ableism in media and everyday life. By examining these facets, Taussig highlights the impact of disability — which affects all of us directly or indirectly at some point in our lives.

Something that resonated deeply with me was Taussig’s relationship with her wheelchair. She embraces her wheelchair as her throne — a symbol of empowerment and freedom. 

She challenges the language commonly used to describe people’s relationships with their wheelchairs, rejecting the idea of being “wheelchair-bound” or a restriction and instead emphasizing its life-giving nature. They help us be the people that we are. 

This book is a celebration, an embrace, and a call-to-action to begin recognizing every type of human body. 

“Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law” by Haben Girma

“Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law” by Haben Girma - Front cover is red, with a side portrait of Haben, who has brown skin, brown hair, and gold earrings

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Let me start by saying Haben Girma is the coolest person in the world. Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability rights, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and a dog mom to the most adorable German Shepherd named Mylo. 

In her memoir, “Haben,” she takes readers on her journey from isolation to emergence onto the world stage.

A powerful story for both the disability community and able-bodied folks, she shares everything from her non-visual techniques for salsa dancing and handling an electric saw, to her encounter with President Obama at The White House, to the discrimination she felt while attending Harvard.

One of the invaluable lessons I took away from this book is the importance of alt-text when describing photos, a concept Girma skillfully explains. I often focused on literal details, like color, but realized after reading this book that there are other — more meaningful — ways to provide alt-text that consider the experiences of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Her warmth, humor, and thoughtfulness shine through every page, demonstrating that with creativity and determination, barriers can be overcome. 

“Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” by John Elder Robison

“Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” by John Elder Robison - Front cover is a closeup portrait of a young white boy squeezing his eyes shut

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In a society where books about Asperger’s are lacking and the syndrome itself is often overlooked within the broader autism spectrum, “Look Me in the Eye” by John Elder Robison stands out as a significant contribution. This memoir sheds light on the experiences of individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and provides a poignant look into their struggles and unique perspectives.

Robison, a natural storyteller, takes readers on a journey through his life, filled with deeply welcoming dark humor. From his days designing exploding guitars for KISS to building his own family, his memoir paints a vivid portrait of a life shaped by Asperger’s. 

Through this candid storytelling, we gain insight into the inner workings of Asperger’s syndrome, fostering empathy and understanding. 


“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer

“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer

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We all love a little royal love story (or is that just me?). In “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer, we’re transported into a royal love story that’s not only a serious page-turner but also delves into themes of self-discovery and resilience — a type of journey we can all relate to.

“A Curse So Dark and Lonely” is the first book in its series that introduces us to a world where enchantment and reality collide. Kemmerer, known for her ability to create complex characters in realistic and fantastical forms, masterfully weaves in elements of fantasy, romance, and self-discovery similar to Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

The story follows Prince Rhen, cursed to repeat the same autumn over and over, transforming into a beast with destructive tendencies. However, everything changes when the protagonist, Harper, enters his cursed world, and their paths intertwine.

As someone with the same disability as the protagonist, this story was incredibly exciting, inspiring, and relatable. A prince? A protagonist with cerebral palsy? A monster? A curse? Need I say more?

“A Time to Dance” by Padma Venkatrama 

“A Time to Dance” by Padma Venkatrama

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A dear friend of mine recommended “A Time to Dance,” and I’m grateful she did. It’s a wonderful book that sheds light on the intersection of disability and Indian culture, which is a perspective often overlooked. 

The story revolves around Veda, a talented dancer whose life takes a drastic turn when she becomes a below-knee amputee. Despite the challenges and the loss of her dreams, Veda’s courage and resilience shine through as she embarks on a new path, starting from scratch and embracing beginner classes. 

Along the way, she encounters Govinda, a young man whose spiritual approach to dance ignites a profound connection within Veda. Through their evolving relationship, Veda rediscovers her place in the world and unravels the true meaning of dance, providing us with a story of spiritual awakening, the power of art, and the relentless human spirit.

As an Indian American herself, my friend was surprised to find a story that celebrates the resilience and achievements of folks with disabilities within her own cultural background.

“Show Me a Sign” by Ann Clare LeZotte

“Show Me a Sign” by Ann Clare LeZotte - Cover has a closeup view of a woman's face, with sailboats reflected in her eyes, and her hands doing sign language

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“Show Me a Sign” by Ann Clare LeZotte is a captivating novel that sheds light on a lesser-known period in Martha’s Vineyard history, where a unique sign language connected both deaf and hearing islanders. 

Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, which developed as its own distinct dialect, showcased the richness and complexity of sign language as a robust communication system. I found it eye-opening to discover the existence of different sign language dialects and appreciate them as fully-fledged languages in their own right.

The story revolves around Mary Lambert, a proud descendant of the island’s first deaf settler. Growing up in a tight-knit community where sign language is widely used, Mary has always felt a sense of belonging. 

However, things begin to change when tragedy strikes her family, tensions escalate between English settlers and the Wampanoag people, and a relentless scientist arrives seeking answers about the island’s deaf population. Mary’s fight for survival against his cruel experiment forms the heart of this novel.

“Show Me a Sign” explores the profound themes of ability and disability and reminds both able-bodied individuals and the disability community of actively creating space for all — regardless of ability and background. 

“One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel

“One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel

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“One Two Three” by Laurie Frankel explores the themes of love, family, and the power of expanding our perceptions of “normalcy.” With three unforgettable narrators, Frankel weaves a moving story filled with wit, wonder, and deep affection. Much like her previous bestseller, “This Is How It Always Is,” this book will have you laughing one moment and reaching for tissues the next.

What stood out to me is the complex dynamics between the triplets, two of whom have disabilities. One sibling relies on a wheelchair and uses an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device (known as AAC) to communicate, while the other has Asperger’s syndrome. 

Against the backdrop of a town grappling with the aftermath of a contaminated water crisis caused by a big oil plant, the triplets, now 16 years old, find themselves fighting alongside their determined mother to hold the oil company accountable. 

This book is important for both able-bodied people and the disability community, as it beautifully highlights the strength, resilience, and contributions of people with disabilities. 

It reminds us that expanding our understanding of what is considered “normal” can create a more inclusive and compassionate world for everyone. 

“True Biz: A Novel” by Sara Novic 

“True Biz: A Novel” by Sara Novic 

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I cannot wait to read this book! It touches on so many important aspects of disability culture. The protagonist, Charlie, who is deaf, embarks on a journey as she transitions to a deaf high school and discovers a sense of community for the first time — something I really resonate with as I didn’t have a place in the disability community for a long time. 

In the halls of the River Valley School for the Deaf, readers will meet Charlie, the rebellious transfer student; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is shaken when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA who grapples with keeping the school open and her marriage intact. 

This novel explores sign language, lip-reading, disability rights, isolation, love, and loss, all while showcasing the tremendous persistence, and joy found within the Deaf community.

One element that particularly stands out to me is Charlie’s complex relationship with her doctors, who have influenced her perception of her deafness. This realistic portrayal reflects the challenges many face in the disability community, as healthcare providers often struggle to understand our lived experiences and the desire to embrace our disabilities on our own terms.

What I appreciate about this book is that although it centers on deafness, it also addresses the universal realities that all teenagers encounter. Author Sara Novac also includes sign language diagrams throughout the book, which I think is the coolest thing! 

Young Adult

“Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling” by Lucy Frank 

“Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling” by Lucy Frank - Cover is the back of a woman's back, wearing a hospital gown, with the title typed sideways along her spine


“Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling” by Lucy Frank is a fantastic novel-in-verse that artfully blends the literary art form with emotional intensity. The story revolves around the blossoming friendship between two teenage girls who, despite their different backgrounds, find themselves sharing not only a hospital room but also an illness.

As someone who has found peace and healing in poetry, I appreciate the power of this book’s format. It personifies the delicate curtain that often separates patients within hospital rooms, allowing us to intimately witness the intertwined lives of the two protagonists. 

This unique narrative style amplifies the raw emotions and challenges they face, drawing readers into their world with immense force.

What sets this book apart is its exploration of accepting one’s “cripness,” a journey that extends throughout a lifetime. It authentically portrays the experiences of living in a body that cannot always be relied on — yet somehow persists against all odds. 

The novel fearlessly delves into the soul-crushing realities of shattered expectations and goals reduced to mere ashes. It bravely confronts the essence of disability. 

“Love from A to Z” by S. K. Ali

“Love from A to Z” by S. K. Ali

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“Love from A to Z” is a classic love story that explores the intricacies of love, identity, and the complexities of navigating life’s challenges. Author S. K. Ali weaves together themes of disability, cultural identity, and the power of self-expression — a portrayal that breaks down barriers and showcases that our experiences (which include love and romance) are universal. 

The story follows Zayneb, who, after getting suspended for standing up to her teacher and endangering her activist friends, seeks solace at her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Adam, who has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, grapples with his new reality. He has withdrawn from his classes, focusing instead on preserving the memory of his late mother for his younger sister. Not only that, but Adam is hiding his diagnosis from his grieving father — adding another layer of complexity to his life. 

“Love from A to Z” prompts readers to reflect on their own biases, deepen their understanding of the disability community, while also addressing the weight of illness and its impact on people and their families.

“All the Right Reasons” by Bethany Mangle 

“All the Right Reasons” by Bethany Mangle - Cover shows an illustration of a boy with a cast and a girl in a dress, and tv cameras all around them

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“All the Right Reasons” is a laugh-out-loud young adult romance that can only be described as a combination of  The Bachelor and Gilmore Girls. Need I say more?

The story revolves around a girl accompanying her mother on a reality dating show designed for single parents. However, amidst the competition and the search for love, our young protagonist develops feelings for the son of one of the contestants. (Cue the popcorn!)

While we all love a good love story, something that makes this book truly special is its representation of disability. Author Bethany Mangle herself has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder. 

Her personal connection to the subject matter shines through and brings authenticity and depth to the portrayal of the male protagonist, Connor — who also has EDS. 

In fact, the book’s cover art, featuring Connor in a sling, subtly acknowledges the challenges faced by individuals with EDS, such as joint dislocations. It’s refreshing to see disabled imagery presented in this way, and I hope more authors will follow suit in visually showcasing diverse experiences.

“One for All” by Lillie Lainoff

“One for All” by Lillie Lainoff - cover shows a bunch of swords pointing swords at a woman in a ball gown, also holding a sword

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“One for All” is a captivating gender-bent retelling of “The Three Musketeers” that immerses readers in a world where a young girl with a chronic illness defies expectations, trains as a Musketeer, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. 

Tania de Batz, determined to prove her strength and independence despite her near-constant dizziness, dreams of becoming a fencer like her father, a former Musketeer. However, her world shatters when her father is tragically and mysteriously murdered, leaving her with a dying wish: to attend finishing school.

Author Lillie Lainoff’s debut novel is a powerful (and whirlwind) adventure that delves deep into themes of found family, inner strength, and the relentless pursuit of one’s passions. 

Lainoff beautifully weaves her personal experience as a fencer with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome into the narrative, providing an authentic representation of disability. 

Through Tania’s journey, readers gain a profound understanding of the dynamic nature of disability — both the good and bad days, the struggles of recovery, and the complexities of navigating internal and external ableism.

What truly sets this book apart is the portrayal of the supportive and inclusive community Tania finds at her training school. Here, she discovers acceptance, accommodations, and the opportunity to fully embrace her fierce fencer identity. 

“Lakelore” by Anna-Marie McLemore

“Lakelore” by Anna-Marie McLemore - Cover has two characters with in the water with blue butterflies landing on them

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“Lakelore,” a mesmerizing young adult novel by award-winning author Anna-Marie McLemore, invites readers into a world where two non-binary teens find themselves entangled in a magical realm beneath a lake. As the boundaries between their two worlds blur, Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia must strive to protect the delicate balance of their lives above water.

McLemore’s storytelling shines in this enchanting tale, where the lake’s hidden world — rumored to be both air and water — holds secrets and ethereal landscapes. Bastián, who has experienced both sides of the lake, and Lore, whose life was forever changed by a single encounter with the submerged realm, are the only ones who truly know its wonders.

However, when the world beneath the lake starts to emerge, threatening to expose their deepest secrets, Bastián and Lore must unite and take action. But there’s a significant obstacle: They haven’t spoken in seven years. Reconciliation and trust become crucial as they navigate the challenges ahead and confront the very vulnerabilities they strive to conceal.

One of the special aspects of “Lakelore” is the powerful representation it depicts. McLemore draws from their own experiences as a trans dyslexic person with ADHD.

Through Bastián’s journey, readers witness the emotional exploration of starting hormone replacement therapy, beautifully depicted with vivid imagery and profound sensitivity. 

The incorporation of Mexican culture, exemplified by the mythical wood-carved creatures known as Alebrijes, serves as a coping mechanism for Bastián’s ADHD, adding rich cultural layers to the story which I found to be so beautiful. 


“Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters Book 1)” by Talia Hibbert

“Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters Book 1)” by Talia Hibbert - cover is white with a small illustration of a plus size black woman in glasses with a cat and a white man in a leather jacket and long hair

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“Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert is a witty and hilarious romantic comedy that will have you laughing out loud. This delightful read follows the journey of Chloe Brown, a chronically ill computer geek who is tired of feeling “boring” and decides to enlist the help of her mysteriously sexy neighbor to experience new adventures.

With her fibromyalgia, Chloe brings to light the gaslighting and disbelief that often accompanies living with a disability. This book tackles the complexities of invisible disabilities, shedding light on the challenges faced by folks whose symptoms may not be immediately apparent to others. 

Through Chloe’s experiences, readers gain insight into the emotional toll and the resilience required to navigate a world that often fails to understand or acknowledge the realities of living with a chronic illness.

One of the standout aspects of this book is its portrayal of disability and sexuality. Disabled people are rarely depicted as “sexy” or desirable in mainstream media — perpetuating harmful stereotypes. However, the author breaks these barriers by presenting raunchy and passionate scenes showcasing Chloe’s sensuality. 

As I read “Get a Life, Chloe Brown,” I was hooked by the charming and relatable characters, the humor, and the heartfelt moments that unfolded. The way Hibbert explores the intersection of disability and romance is so refreshing and empowering!

“Taxonomy of Love” by Rachael Allen

“Taxonomy of Love” by Rachael Allen

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“Taxonomy of Love” by Rachael Allen is a coming-of-age story that explores the complexities of friendship, love, and identity. 

From the moment Spencer meets Hope, he’s drawn to her in a way that feels almost magical. Their friendship blossoms as they embark on adventures, finding solace and belonging in each other’s company.

What makes this book truly significant is its portrayal of disability and its impact on relationships. Spencer, who has Tourette syndrome, has spent years feeling overshadowed by his older brother and facing teasing and misunderstanding from others. Through his friendship with Hope, he begins to embrace his true self and finds acceptance and understanding. 

What I really love about this book is that Allen shows the depth of what it is like to live with a disability. There is never an off switch for your disability, and sometimes that means your body is doing things in public that can make other people uncomfortable. I also really appreciate that she shows Spencer dealing with medication management and the many uncomfortable side effects that come with it. 

“My Heart to Find: An Aces in Love Romantic Mystery” by Elin Annalise

“My Heart to Find: An Aces in Love Romantic Mystery” by Elin Annalise - cover includes an illustration of a woman on a walk and a man on a walk with dogs

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Meet Cara Tate, a devoted crime fiction reader who, at twenty-five years old, is shy, asexual, and yearning for love. However, her chronic Lyme disease has brought her brain inflammation and OCD, instilling a deep fear of physical contact with others. 

Compounding her challenge is the difficulty of finding other aces — especially with no guarantee of a connection. Despite these obstacles, Cara finds solace in one man she knows, someone who shares her asexuality and sparks a special feeling within her. With the possibility of a hug (or more) on the line, Cara must gather the courage to defy the grip of her OCD.

In “My Heart to Find,” Elin Annalise delivers a narrative that authentically represents asexuality and chronic illness, specifically Lyme Disease and Encephalitis-induced OCD — also known as PANS — which was only officially recognized as a disability in 2013.  

Annalise’s storytelling and heartfelt exploration of love, identity, and personal growth makes this book a compelling and important read. It sheds light on the struggles faced by those with chronic illnesses and asexuality, offering both validation and insight to those within these communities while fostering understanding and empathy among able-bodied readers.  

“Always Only You” by Chloe Liese

“Always Only You” by Chloe Liese - Cover has a woman in a suit with sneakers and a cane, and a man in a hockey uniform

Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm 

Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions when diving into “Always Only You” by Chloe Liese. This sports romance takes you on an opposites-attract, forbidden love slow-burn journey (I don’t know about you, but I love those kinds of narratives!). 

The story revolves around a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star and his coworker, a strong-willed woman who keeps both her gentle side and her autism diagnosis hidden from the world. With a delightful mix of meddling characters, tantric yoga, and an irresistibly gradual romance, this standalone novel is the second installment in a series that follows the adventures of a Swedish-American family as they each find their own happily ever after.

Liese skillfully portrays the complexities of autism and emphasizes the importance of understanding, acceptance, and embracing one’s true self. 

“Something to Talk About” by Meryl Wilsner 

“Something to Talk About” by Meryl Wilsner - cover is a woman whispering into another woman's ear

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In Meryl Wilsner’s debut romance, “Something to Talk About,” a showrunner and her assistant accidentally ignite a sensational rumor that ignites a media frenzy. 

Jo, a prominent Hollywood figure, finds herself caught in a photograph sharing a laugh with her assistant Emma at a high-profile event, leading the tabloids to label them as a couple. This unexpected development couldn’t have come at a worse time, jeopardizing Emma’s promotion and Jo’s upcoming movie. As the rumor spreads like wildfire, their professional and personal lives are profoundly affected, with paparazzi hounding their every move and colleagues treating them differently.

What makes this book special is that it not only features queer characters, but it also resonates with readers who have asthma. Through the eyes of Emma, the author authentically portrays the challenges and medical attention required to live with the condition. 

Three friends with asthma recommended this book to me, sharing their appreciation for finally encountering a relatable experience in a novel.

Children’s Books

“All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything” by Annette Bay Pimente and illustrated by Nabi Ali

“All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything” by Annette Bay Pimente and illustrated by Nabi Ali - square children's book with a cover with a child with orange hair climbing up stairs, while people watch in the background

Amazon | Bookshop 

“All the Way to the Top” by Annette Bay Pimente is an empowering autobiographical picture book that takes readers on a remarkable journey alongside lifelong activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins

Through stunning illustrations, we witness Keelan-Chaffins’s unwavering determination and role in the historic Capitol Crawl — a moment that became a catalyst for change in the disability rights movement. 

For able-bodied readers, it offers an opportunity to gain insight into the struggles faced by people within the disability community and the fight for equal rights. It’s an empowering and motivating reminder for those within the community that disability should not limit us.

This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to take action, even when others tried to stop her.

“El Deafo” by Cece Bell 

“El Deafo” by Cece Bell - cover is a bunny flying

Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm 

“El Deafo” by Cece Bell is a fun book that not only entertains young readers but also provides a much-needed representation of a hero for children with hearing impairments. 

The book provides representation for children with hearing impairments, fosters understanding and inclusivity among readers, and is a testament to the power of storytelling through its ability to bridge the gap between different lived experiences.

Bell’s book serves as a fun and powerful reminder that disability does not define a person’s abilities or potential and that everyone deserves to be seen, heard, and valued.

“Born Just Right” by Jordan Reeves 

“Born Just Right” by Jordan Reeves - cover shows Jordan with a playful purple prosthetic on her arm

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Get ready to be inspired by the incredible memoir penned by Jordan Reeves, a remarkable advocate for limb difference and the founder of Project Unicorn, along with her mom, Jen. In her book, she shares a powerful message about embracing uniqueness and celebrating the perfection of every child — just as they are.

Jordan’s journey began when she was born without the bottom half of her left arm. However, the doctors assured her parents that she was “born just right,” and Jordan has been proving them right ever since. 

What makes Jordan and her mom even more extraordinary is their organization called Design With Us. Through this initiative, they empower young people to use their personal experiences with disabilities to create innovative, accessible technology and assistive devices. Their work is truly groundbreaking. 

In fact, Jordan’s accomplishments have even caught the attention of Marvel, resulting in her having her very own comic book!

Reeves’ passion, resilience, and commitment to improving the world is truly awe-inspiring. Her story is a testament to the power of embracing differences, creating inclusive opportunities, and celebrating the limitless potential of every individual. 

“The Chance to Fly” by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

“The Chance to Fly” by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz - cover shows a stage with a woman singing in a wheelchair

Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm 

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love Ali Stroker — full stop. She is the first disabled actress to win a Tony Award. (I was actually backstage when Ali won her award!) I will never forget that moment, especially since I had never seen someone like me win a major award like that before.

In “The Chance to Fly,” Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz created a sweet middle school grade-level novel that follows the story of Nat, a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility, as she embarks on a journey to defy expectations and gravity.

Nat’s passion for musicals knows no bounds (from Hamilton to Les Misérables — she loves it all). However, Nat has never had the opportunity to be part of a musical or witness an actor who uses a wheelchair on stage. 

She wonders if someone like her would ever be cast.

Everything changes when Nat’s family relocates from California to New Jersey. By chance, she stumbles upon auditions for a children’s production of Wicked — one of her all-time favorite musicals. 

Against all odds, Nat secures a spot in the ensemble, opening up a world of new possibilities and proving that her talent knows no limits.

“Dancing with Daddy” by Antira Rowe Schulte 

“Dancing with Daddy” by Antira Rowe Schulte - cover shows a dad in a suit dancing with his daughter in a red dress in a wheelchair

Amazon | Bookshop 

“Dancing with Daddy” by Antira Rowe Schulte is the sweetest, most heartwarming children’s book that follows Elsie’s anticipation and excitement for her first father-daughter dance. 

Despite being in a wheelchair, Elsie is determined to make the most of this special occasion, carefully choosing her dress and practicing swirling and swaying. Through gestures, smiles, and the help of a picture book, she shares her joy with her family.

Notable Mentions

Article Details

June 22, 2023 4:42 PM
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