March is Disability Awareness Month, and there is no better way to be aware of disabled lives than to seek and experience these lives, their accounts, their struggles amid the joys, than through the stories we share.
From true-to-life memoirs and biographies to fiction books featuring main characters with disabilities, this list of titles is a starting point for those looking to gain insight and perspective.
by Elsa Sjunneson – A media studies professor explores how the misrepresentation of disability in many books, film and television harms the disabled community and society at large in Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism (2021).
by Alice Wong, et. al. – Published in 2020, this collection of short essays, interview transcripts, articles, blog posts and more details the true stories of disabled lives in Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century.
by Will Leitch – A hero in plain sight: a man with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is the sole witness to an abduction in this suspenseful but hopeful mystery novel, How Lucky (2021).
I Have No Secrets
by Penny Joelson – Giving a voice to the voiceless: a murderer confesses his crime to 16-year-old Jemma who cannot speak due to her severe cerebral palsy, but a new technology may help her reveal everything she knows in I Have No Secrets (2017).
I Live a Life Like Yours
by Jan Grue – In the 2021 publication I Live a Life Like Yours: A Memoir, Norwegian professor Jan Grue tells a love story: loving life in the body you have, as Grue suffers from a rare form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
Never the Wind
by Francesco Dimitri – This 2022 fantasy title set in the mid-1990s, 13-year-old Luca moves with his family to an Italian farmhouse they hope to convert to a hotel. Luca explores the world and his new life without sight, as he has been completely blind for 8 months in Never the Wind.
by Rivers Solomon – A young Black woman escapes a cult while seven months pregnant and gives birth to twins. Her albinism combined with drugs’ harms done to her body creates a unique challenge for Vern as she fights back against the compound from which she fled in this 2021 horror title, Sorrowland.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
by Kim Edwards – In 1964, a man asks a nurse to hide his child born with Down Syndrome in an institution, but she instead takes the infant and raises the child herself. This dramatic 2005 novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, was adapted to film in 2008.
The Reckless Kind
by Carly Heath – In The Reckless Kind, a young adult historical novel set in 1904, a partially deaf woman totally uninterested in marriage escapes her family to live with her best friend and his secret boyfriend.
The Thief (The Queen’s Thief series)
by Megan Whalen Turner – In this 1996 novel, kicking off the Queen’s Thief series which concludes with Return of the Thief in 2020, The Thief details the adventures of Gen as he travels to a remote temple of the gods, steals a precious stone, and loses his hand in the process.
You can consult our catalog for more books with disabled characters by clicking here.