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5 Books By Disabled Authors You Should Read

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Riley Anne Judson

Over 1 billion people are estimated to experience some disability, making up around 15% of the global population. These figures illustrate how the experience of disability is widespread. Accurate representation in literature that contends with, and simultaneously celebrates, the nuances of these conditions is now more urgent than ever. We should focus on literary works that feature experiences of disability that aren’t exploited as mere plot devices or aren’t fraught with oversimplified stereotypes.

Hopefully, the list we’ve compiled can illuminate misunderstandings and clarify misconceptions about the rich lives people with disabilities have gone on to —and will continue — to live.

Here are five books by disabled authors you should read:

Uniquely Me by Trace Wilson

Filled with vibrant illustrations, Uniquely Me offers an empowering tale for children looking to be a bit braver and louder in life. The author, Trace Wilson, communicates his experience as a physically handicapped man to craft an uplifting journey of acceptance. Only he doesn’t merely nudge at accepting your differences, he asserts that these are crucial in accessing new and rare adventures. This book will appeal to kids and adults alike, engaging yet never overwhelming.

The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus

As with any defining facet of identity, disability can inform a poet’s style in a myriad of ways. This is either through language, thematic images, or structure. In The Perseverance, Raymond Antrobus utilizes the method of erasure by reconstructing a poem by Ted Hughes. While most of the poems in this collection dwell on grief, education, and language, this erasure enabled him to explore the ignorance the deaf community faces. Readers are provided an acute sense of triumph as Antrobus expertly mediates between communication and connection.

The Pretty One by Keah Brown

Being black and having cerebral palsy is a distinct experience conveyed beautifully by a contemporary voice on The Pretty One. Keah Brown gives depth to her meditations on family, romance, and the media's skewed perception of disability. Readers are indeed welcomed into a brave community in this incisive collection of essays. It is a book that likewise urges you to reclaim your identity and take tangible action, as Keah Brown did through her hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang

As with the intricate nature of the titular condition, Esmé Weijun Wang likewise centers on stories that try to evade categorization in this collection of essays. Personal anecdotes are interspersed with pressing issues surrounding schizophrenia such as the medical community’s irregular use of labels for diagnoses and the threat of institutionalizing patients based on factors like PTSD and Lyme disease. Readers will commend Wang’s capacity for research as she adeptly overturns misconceptions and provides insights into the diverse experiences of schizophrenics.

I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder by Sara Kurchak

Sara Kurchak’s musings on alienating experiences, autism parenting culture, obsessions, and relationships prove just as compelling as the title of her book. In here, she tracks the poignant misconception on how those with autism should be diagnosed with anxiety. This is a timely book for those grappling to meet the circumstances of their disorder. Sara Kurchak honors the gravity of these experiences and offers her own as a way to balance the weight.

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