Did you know that July is Disability Pride Month? July was chosen because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed on July 26, 1990. This year we will celebrate 33 years of the ADA which gives countless folks in America access to resources and accommodations. We reached out to some disabled book influencers and asked them to share a book recommendation by their favorite disabled author! 

For more disability lit recs, watch for our upcoming blog post: 33 books to celebrate 33 years of the ADA! 

Haley, they/ she | @spoonie.reads

Haley (they/she) is a queer and disabled educator, activist, and life-long book lover. They live with a variety of chronic pain and fatigue disorders, and they also identify as neurodivergent (pure-O OCD, ADHD, anxiety, and depression). They recently graduated with their Master of Arts degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies after writing a thesis on pregnancy, possession, and patriarchy within the paranormal setting of the 1999-2004 television series Angel. Though they spend most of their time reading and journaling, they can also be found scream-singing to Taylor Swift or Marianas Trench songs in their car; head on over to their Instagram page, @spoonie.reads, to check out some of their top book recommendations or chat about their recent reads!

The book I’m recommending this month not only features a disabled main character— it’s also written by a disabled author who used her lived experiences to craft a compelling and creative narrative! It’s Where You See Yourself by Claire Forrest, which I read back in April 2023 as part of an Instagram book tour for Hear Our Voices; it’s a new release YA contemporary story that follows Effie Galanos, a high-school senior and wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, as she navigates her college selection journey and confronts ableism in academia. As someone who, like Effie, struggled a lot with institutionalized ableism throughout my collegiate experiences, and as I am now preparing to move to a new city and start my career, the story really spoke to me— it’s not just about the systemic barriers of the world around me, but how people treat me as different and lesser because of my needs. Reading this book, and getting to know the author Claire Forrest as well, reminded me that I’m not obnoxious by fighting for my inclusion— I’m being brave in ways I never thought I could be.

Juliana, she/her | @heyjulianahey 

Juliana was born and raised in Brazil, and now lives in the United States. She has been living with multiple chronic illnesses for 26 years, and recently started sharing more of her journey with disability to raise awareness. She is an avid reader of translated fiction and obsessed with Formula 1. 

“Breathe and Count Back from Ten” by Natalia Sylvester is a fun YA summer read that is also a raw and powerful coming of age story exploring disability and bodily agency, immigration, first love, friendship, and family dynamics. As a disabled person who was also a disabled teen, this story felt deeply personal to me. I wish I could go back in time to the weeks following my diagnosis, and give teenage me this book. I wish that girl could read this story and feel seen, feel safe. 

Britanie, she/her | @britbehindabook

My name is Britanie. My pronouns are she/her. I am a happily married mother of two living with Friedreich’s Ataxia or FA. FA is a rare genetic neuromuscular disease that affects my balance, coordination, and heart. 

A book recommendation from me is also my favorite read of the year so far. Where You See Yourself by Claire Forrest. This book is a coming of age young adult novel. I am a wheelchair user, like the main character, so I found this book very relatable. It gives the reader so much to reflect on and enjoy. The main character has cerebral palsy and so does the wonderfully talented author, Claire Forrest.

Autumn, they/she  | @autumnintheoaks 

Born & raised in the Midwest & currently living in Minnesota, I’m a queer disabled book lover & advocate with a soft spot for cane using characters, sad girl lit fic, & nature! I’ve found pride & solidarity through embracing disability as an identity, & I love sharing my personal experiences & building community online. I can be found on Instagram @autumnintheoaks where I’m often publicly crying, rambling about my favorite books & TV shows (slide into my DMs to chat The Last of Us please), & being just as sappy as my favorite trees. 

Though it’s hard to recommend just one book by a disabled author, Crip Kinship by Shayda Kafai is a nonfiction book about Disability Justice & the art activism of Sins Invalid that I often find myself returning to. Written with the care & love that is found within the pages of so many Disability Justice narratives, Crip Kinship reminded me of the importance of operating from a love ethic within social justice movements. Additionally, there are chapters dedicated to the importance of crip art & storytelling, community, pleasure, beauty, & more. It’s a wonderful follow up to Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong & Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, two formative works.

Andrea, no pronouns | @readandyread

Hi there, Andrea here (no pronouns)! I’m a 26-year-old queer and disabled Spanish bookstagrammer. I’m a voracious reader who reads across all genres, but I’ll always have a soft spot for fantasy and romance. Poetry will always be my first love, Animal Crossing has saved me countless times, and sunsets by the sea are my happy place. I also love all things fantasy, dancing, listening to the saddest sad songs (making good decisions is not exactly my forte, oops), doggies, going on hikes, learning about nail art, and spending way too many hours on Pinterest. I must admit that my special interests change from time to time, though, so who knows what I might love doing or learning about tomorrow!

“Breathe and Count Back from Ten,” by Natalia Sylvester became an instant all-time favourite. This is one of the most honest, relatable and rawest portrayals of disability I’ve ever encountered and as a disabled person, I felt so safe reading this book: this story felt like the most comforting hug in the entire world, a hug that gave me a place to rest, to be myself and to thrive. Sylvester created a safe space that I find myself coming back to so often. I truly cannot recommend it highly enough!

Sydney, she/her | @sydneyblondellauthor 

Sydney Blondell is a disabled indie author most commonly known for her YA trilogy (The Stars in My Heart) featuring chronic illnesses. Sydney has POTS, fibromyalgia, and bipolar disorder. She is a dog mom to 9 year old Jeter and 7 month old Frankie who are often featured on her bookstagram. 

I would recommend “Sick Kids Love” by Hannah Moskowitz which has RA and Gaucher Disease representation. I recommend this book because the representation is authentic and it shows that disabled people are still deserving of love. I also love that the front cover tells the reader that no one dies in the end because that is often the outcome of disability rep books. 

Sophie, she/they | @sick.stories

Sophie (she/they) has a passion for ensuring everyone has an opportunity to tell the stories within them. Growing up an ambulatory wheelchair user, Sophie now lives with an invisible disability and mental health illnesses. An avid reader their whole life, Sophie has turned their advocacy into a bookish and writing community, Sick Stories. She is currently working on her debut novel, featuring a protagonist with the same diagnosis as Sophie.

A book by a disabled author I’m recommending is BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN by Natalia Sylvester. This story hits on so many points I’d never seen represented this well before: bodily autonomy, finding balance between cultures and identity, so many subtle and overt forms of ableism, the trauma and challenges that come with growing into a young person with a congenital disability, and the passions we still have despite it all. Natalia kept Verónica’s voice so strong and authentic throughout and boldly showed there’s nothing about having a disability that people should be shamed into hiding.

Gwen, she/her | @gwen.reads.most.ardently

Gwen (she/her) is a disabled teacher in Central Indiana. She started her bookstagram while recovering from her spinal fusion (at the old age of 27) so that she could build connection during recovery. Gwen’s diagnosis list is never ending and always changing, but ultimately she is learning to be confident with her illnesses, disabilities, and mobility aids. When not resting, icing, or advocating for herself, Gwen loves reading romance, snuggling with her puppies, and watching baseball with her husband.

My book recommendation is “Always Only You” by Chloe Liese because it contains Frankie Zeferino, my disabled icon. Chloe believes that “everyone deserves a love story” and that sentiment is felt in every one of her books. Always Only You begins with Frankie proudly brandishing her cane and explores her journey to inviting someone else (a hunky, cinnamon-roll hockey player!) into her independent, disabled, bubble.

Syd, she/her | @bookswithsyd

I think my [Instagram] bio describes me perfectly. I’m a big ball of queer, autistic, & spicy energy and people either love or hate me… But most love me because of my gnarly arsenal of dad jokes 😂

A book I’d recommend is Act Your Age Eve Brown or the Brown Sisters series in general by Talia Hibbert. She writes disabled characters with grace and compassion