Learn Tougher 2021: An Personal Voices Guide About Incapacity

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When searching for books about the disabled, chronically ill, deaf, or neurodivergent authors, the results of any internet search can feel incredibly overwhelming. As a disabled person, I am disappointed with how many of the popular books that come up in these searches were written by non-disabled people. It is incredibly important that disabled people have the opportunity to tell their own stories. Here are ten books on disability written by disabled authors. And since it is also important that these titles are accessible to as many people as possible, all of these titles are available in print, e-book and audio book formats.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century, edited by Alice Wong

In this anthology, Alice Wong brings together disabled people from different backgrounds and experiences. These essays celebrate the lives of disabled people and show the immense joy and resilience of our community. This anthology features contributors with a wide variety of disabilities and is also a great way to discover new disabled writers and creators.

Nursing Work: Dreams of Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Care Work is perfect for readers who want to dig deep into disability studies. It focuses on the justice of disabilities and how women and non-binary colored people have always been at the forefront of disability rights activism. Each essay looks at disability rights from a new angle so readers can think about them even more as they move through the book. This is definitely a title to enjoy.

Say hello to Carly Findlay

Australian disability rights activist Carly Findlay shares her experience with a genetic skin condition called ichthyosis. Because of their condition, Findlay’s skin often appears red. When people see their facial difference, they often make rude remarks or ask invasive questions. Filled with insights and wisdom Findlay has learned over the years, these memoirs are in solidarity with other disabled people who may experience the same things that they have had in their entire lives.

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

The strange, disabled icon Keah Brown made a name for herself when she launched the hashtag #DisabledAndCute and took the internet by storm. What started as a simple idea has grown into a movement that offers disabled people a wonderful new way to celebrate our lives. In her memoir, Brown tells us what it was like to grow up with cerebral palsy and how she became the woman she is today. While it doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects, The Pretty One exudes joy in the best possible way.

Disfigured: About fairy tales, disability and creating space by Amanda Leduc

In Disfigured, Amanda Leduc discusses the role that fairy tales play in how society views people with physical differences. From ugly witches to scarred villains, the media constantly portrays people with disfigurements as evil, which inflicts immense harm on people with physical differences. Leduc’s analysis combines her personal experiences with cerebral palsy and academic research and creates a nice mix that fits her subject perfectly.

Sitting nicely: The look from my usual resilient disabled body by Rebekah Taussig

Rebekah Taussig has a PhD in Creative Nonfiction and Disabilities and uses her skills to write about her normal (female and disabled) body. In this essay, written as a series of essays, Taussig writes about what it was like to grow up as a paralyzed wheelchair user. She discusses media portraits of disabled people and the problem with society’s love for inspirational porn.

The sound of a wild snail eating Bailey from Elisabeth Tova

The sound of a wild snail is perfect for nature lovers. When Tova Bailey fell ill with a mysterious illness, she had to lie flat on her back for several months. One day a friend brings a plant into her apartment and Bailey discovers that a snail has made a home in the pot. This book is a mixture of reflections on their feelings of being chronically ill and the beautiful nature that writes about the mysterious life of snails.

Ask me about my uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain by Abby Norman

Freed from her parents as a teenager, Abby Norman tries alone to discover the cause of a mysterious illness. After she was diagnosed with endometriosis, Norman believes she is finally achieving something, but quickly realizes that her journey to taking her health and wellbeing seriously has only just begun.

Have: The deafblind woman who conquered Harvard’s haben Girma law

Our distracting society constantly underestimates members of the disabled community, but Having Girma shatters any notion that she is unable by pursuing her passion and attending one of the best law schools in the country. Girma describes her experience of attending and graduating from Harvard, giving readers a glimpse into her life and the accommodations she uses on a daily basis. Girma continues to advocate accessibility for the deaf-blind community, which you can learn more about on their Instagram page.

Golem Girl from Riva Teacher

Riva Lehrer, an artist who grew up with spina bifida, absorbed society’s abusive assumptions that she was useless and broken. But when she discovers a group of artists celebrating her disability, she finds joy in who she is for the first time. In this beautiful treatise, Golem Girl explores what it means to struggle with your identity as a disabled person and how her art provides a path to self-acceptance.

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