5 Great Books About Disability Pride

Posted on July 1, 2024

by Patrick C

For Disability Pride month, we wanted to select a few good titles that would be helpful to any adult reader interested in learning more about disability and the disabled experience in the United States. Searching for books about disability is easy, but picking a few that are well-reviewed and intersectional is more difficult.

But have you ever picked up a book that didn’t feature at least one glowing review somewhere on the dust jacket or cover? Paid professionals write those reviews to give short, sound-bite accolades that move titles. They don’t even usually offer real information about the contents and are always sprinkled with buzzwords like “page-turner” or “tour de force” or maybe even “unputdownable.” Many of these reviews could be lifted from the cover of one book and placed on another without changing a word.

To eschew all that, for this selection of five titles, we’re going to the people and finding some real five-star reviews that showed that the reader willingly completed the book and felt better off for the experience. Here you can find five titles with five-star reviews that will hopefully entice more than “[author name’s] magnum opus.”

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

This book is featured in July’s Big Idea Book Club! If you’d like to offer your own thoughts on the content, this discussion group would be a great place to talk to other readers about it. Crafted by a modern social media influencer and disability advocate, Goodreads reviewer Jenny says: “Rebekah is an absolute pleasure to spend time with – intelligent, relatable, funny, insightful, self-effacing and self-aware – the kind of person you want to know and be friends with. Her thoughts and stories about issues of disability and access were paradigm shifting for me. This is a book that I think everyone should read/listen to. Whether we realize it or not, we are all people who inhabit bodies that will need various forms of accommodation at some point or another, and we invariably possess some degree of internalized ableism that we would do well to dismantle. Highly recommended.”

A Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen

This book was written by a Professor at the University of Toledo! This book from Beacon Press is part of a larger ReVisioning History series that includes all historical perspectives from marginalized Americans. The books all attempt to cover folk, and experiences, left out of your typical high school history textbooks. Kara’s review on Goodreads tells us: “This book uses select incidents from our nation’s history to illustrate the changing attitudes toward disability and the fight for disability rights. Nielsen’s approach is intersectional, constantly reminding us how the treatment of people with disabilities is entwined with race, gender, sexuality, wealth, and class. It’s a great primer on disability history in the U.S.”

Thinking in Pictures: and Other Reports From My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin

This book was also featured in the “10 Books About Celebrating Uniqueness and Autism Awareness” blog from last year and Temple Grandin also has a popular 2010 film based on her life. George Ilsley’s review has this to say: “One of the best introductions to the topic of autism, written by an intelligent insightful insider. In her professional career, Grandin has a special empathy for animals and is able to perceive the world from the viewpoint of other creatures—including other humans. The concept ‘thinking in pictures’ has become almost a meme in today’s society. That’s how avant-garde Grandin was. And whenever I see cats in costume falling over, I think of Grandin developing her hug box, which she found calming.”

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

Another activist and creator of the Disability Visibility Project, Alice Wong’s book features an important intersectional experience of disability from an Asian American perspective. Audrey’s Goodreads review says this: “Illuminating and eye-opening, this book challenges all able-bodied people about how inaccessible this world is for so many of us. Told through mixed media of pictures, essays and interviews, Alice Wong, with humor, how the world is not accommodating to those who aren’t fully able-bodied, despite the ADA and “best” intentions. While I’m aware of inaccessible access for many who aren’t as physically mobile, this book made me more aware of other issues that I hadn’t considered. This is one of the best kinds of nonfiction reads as it challenged me and made me think more deeply about my own able-bodied privilege. #AccessIsLove.”

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

This isn’t the first time we’ve featured this title by this author, but it bears mentioning her book as another insightful experience to connect with those above. Goodread’s reviewer Susan states: “The #DisabledandCute creator opens up about disability, mental health, and living life in a deeply personal, honest, and powerful book. Brown shows radical honesty -she’s willing to dig deep and own her mistakes in a way that’s rarely seen, even in memoirs that promise this. Although I imagine it was therapeutic for her as well it never felt self-indulgent to me. Her strength and what I can only think to call her shine–shows through at every point. You can tell she’s put in a lot of work and wants to help others get there.”

Hopefully these reviews have sparked your interest in some of these titles. These nonfiction books are only a small fraction of those available about the Disability Community, and we hope they serve as a starting point for you to seek out more perspectives, whether you’re part of the 15% of people worldwide with disabilities or not.

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