Focus on Disability:
Being disabled is so much more than the "perk" of blue curb parking. Being disabled is so much more than being "inspiring" to able bodied people. Being disabled is so many things: terrifying, frustrating, isolating. And yet, people who live with disabilities work hard every day to connect, to share their experience, to learn, to love, to live. Just like able bodied people; disabled people just do it a little differently. Read a few of the titles listed here to connect to a character (or real person) living with a disability.
Asperbergers & Autism
by Naoki Higashida
The Reason I Jump is one of the most unique books I have ever come across. 13 year old Naoki Higashida is a boy with autism so severe that he does not speak. In order to tell his story, to share what life is like inside his head, he painstakingly pointed at letters and words on a letter board. What he has to tell us about the frustrations and hidden beauties of his experience is well worth the read.
by Francisco Stork
Marcelo Sandoval is one of my favorite people in all of the books I've read, and that's saying something. Marcelo has been a student at his special school for kids with autism and Aspberger's Syndrome for as long as he can remember. His horses are there, and his favorite teachers. No one teases him for his odd habits and special obsession (God). But Marcelo's father, a powerful lawyer, is determined that this summer Marcelo will join the real world. Marcelo must begin work in the mail room at his father's law firm. This summer will change everything.
by Temple Grandin
Dr. Temple Grandin one of the world's most celebrated animal scientists. In this book, Dr. Grandin merges a lifetime of study with her extraordinary perceptions as an autistic person in a groundbreaking book that will revolutionize our understanding of how animals think and feel.
by Kathrin Schrocke
Mika thinks he'll never recover from his broken heart. Then he meets Leah, a smart, beautiful, and brave girl. Though the energy between them is unmistakable, they cannot communicate. Leah has been deaf since birth. Determined to know this amazing girl, Mika decides to take a sign language course. His family and friends are skeptical, and Mika soon grows weary, too. The world of deaf people is so much different than his own. But Mika cannot shake that Leah has captured his heart.
by Antony John
Piper becomes the manager for her classmates' popular rock band, giving her the chance to prove that just because she's deaf doesn't mean that she can't lead the band to stardom. Now if only she can get the band members to get along and to get them to believe she doesn't need to hear their music to sell Seattle on their sound.
by Josh Berk
When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a popular football player in his class.
by Marcus Sedgwick
Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers--a skill at which she's remarkably talented. Her secret: she is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.
by Rachel DeWoskin
When Emma loses her eyesight in an accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she's about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Emma has to untangle what happened and why - in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.
by Priscilla Cummings
After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind where, in spite of her initial resistance, she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.
by Shane Burcaw
If you didn't laugh you'd just cry all the time. Or at least that's how this author chooses to live his sometimes difficult life. Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a 'you-only-live-once' perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life-threatening disease.
by Stephen Hawking
For the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution. My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking's journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books. Writing with humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs. Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking's personal cosmos.
by Martin Pistorius
They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years. In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and unable to move. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live. Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy's return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent's resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin's mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body. We also see a life reclaimed--a business created, a new love kindled--all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.