A Big List of Books: Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month, celebrating the passing of the Americans with Disability Act on July 26, 1990 and serving to unite the disability community. How is it that I’d never heard of it until this year? There’s even an amazingly cool flag (see below!). Quoted here are the symbolic meanings of the flag. From an article by Dr. Carlie Rhoads on the American Foundation for the Blind website: “The black background represents the suffering of the disability community from violence and also serves as a color of rebellion and protest. The lightning bolt represents how individuals with disabilities must navigate barriers, and demonstrates their creativity in doing so. The five colors represent the variety of needs and experiences: Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and Sensory Disabilities.”

The Disability Pride flag. Five stripes zig-zag from the upper left of the flag to the lower right. From left to right: a blue stripe, yellow stripe, white stripe, red stripe, and green stripe on a black field. Designed by Ann Magill.

Seeing the blue stripe honestly made me tear up. I have depression, and often I struggle to accept that yes, it is a mental illness, and yes, it is disabling. And yet I fall into the trap of telling myself “others have it worse”, or that it’s common enough that I don’t have the right to call myself Disabled. But what would you call it when your own mind is chemically working against you? When I have to drop classes because suddenly, for weeks at a time, I can’t get out of bed? Calling depression what it is–a disability–it makes me feel like it’s not my fault. I was born this way. I’m measuring functionality against a society that wasn’t built for me. The word Disabled, it’s validating for me. (As with any word or identity term or flag, different people will feel differently. But this is really important for me).

Anyway, I was thrilled to get the chance to contribute to my library teen room’s Disability Pride Month book display! I made a big list for my fellow librarians to use to fill out the display throughout the month, and I thought I’d share it here as well.

Quick disclaimers: making book lists is one of my favorite things to do, and I care a lot about making lists diverse in genre, mood, and content. That said, these books will be almost entirely YA, since that’s the department I work in. All of these books are ones we have in my library’s collection, so it is far from comprehensive. I also have not read all of these books; while I’ve done my best to make sure they provide actually good representation, I can’t personally vouch for all of them. And I list some of the disabilities represented by main characters not to reduce the characters to their disability/ies, but so fellow disabled people can find themselves in these books. Please feel free to share any other recommendations you have, or your thoughts on any of the books shared here!


  • The words in my hands / Asphyxia / Deaf character / Coming-of-age
  • Insignificant events in the life of a cactus / Dusti Bowling / Limbless character, character with Tourette’s / Realistic mystery
  • Tiny pretty things / Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton / Character with eating disorder / Drama
  • The edge of anything / Nora Shalaway Carpenter / Character with OCD, character with heart condition / Realistic fiction
  • Fifty-four things wrong with Gwendolyn Rodgers / Caela Carter / Neurodiverse characters / Realistic fiction
  • The art of saving the world / Corinne Duyvis / Character with endometriosis, character with anxiety / Sci-fi
  • Maybe we’re electric / Val Emmich / Character with limb difference, character with depression / Realistic fiction
  • The secret life of Kitty Granger / G.D. Falksen / Autistic character / Historical thriller
  • You’re welcome, universe / Whitney Gardner / Deaf character / Realistic fiction
  • The silence between us / Alison Gervais / Deaf character / Realistic fiction
  • OCD love story / Carey Ann Haydu / Character with OCD / Realistic romance
  • The reckless kind / Carly Heath / Deaf character, character with Waardenburg syndrome, character with anxiety, character with depression, limbless character / Historical fiction
  • Monday’s not coming / Tiffany D. Jackson / Character with dyslexia / Realistic mystery
  • Ascendance of a bookworm / Miya Kazuki / Chronically ill character / Fantasy
  • The theft of sunlight / Intisar Khanani / Character with club foot / Fantasy
  • No true believers / Rabiah York Lumbard / Character with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome / Thriller
  • The degenerates / J. Alfred Mann / Character with Down syndrome, character with club foot / Historical fiction
  • The life and deaths of Frankie D. / Colleen Nelson / Character with skin condition / Magical realism
  • Even if we break / Marieke Nijkamp / Autistic character, character with arthritis / Thriller
  • Unbroken: 13 stories starring disabled teens / Marieke Nijkamp / Various / Various
  • Lycanthropy and other chronic illnesses / Kristen O’Neal / Character with Lyme disease, character with chronic illness / Fantasy
  • The might / Siri Pettersen / Blind characters / Fantasy
  • Turning / Joy L. Smith / Limbless character, character with brain injury / Realistic fiction
  • Breathe and count back from ten / Natalia Sylvester / Character with dysplasia / Realistic fiction
  • Josee, the tiger, and the fish / Seiko Tanabe / Wheelchair users / Romance
  • Wild and crooked / Leah Thomas / Character with cerebral palsy / Realistic fiction
  • Queens of geek / Jen Wilde / Autistic characters / Realistic fiction
  • Odd & true / Cat Winters / Character with polio / Historical mystery

Graphic Novels

  • Archival quality / Ivy Noelle Weir / Character with mental illness / Paranormal
  • Last pick / Jason Walz / Autistic characters / Sci-fi
  • The dark matter of Mona Starr / Laura Lee Gulledge / Character with depression / Realistic fiction
  • The oracle code / Marieke Nijkamp / Paralyzed character / Superhero
  • The thud / Mikaël Ross / Characters with developmental disabilities / Realistic fiction


  • Ascendance of a bookworm / Miya Kazuki / Chronically ill character / Fantasy
  • Beauty and the beast girl / story and art by Neji / Blind character / Fantasy romance
  • Evergreen / story: Yuyuko Takemiya ; art: Akira Kasukabe / Character with a heart condition / High school romance
  • Komi can’t communicate / Tomohito Oda / Character with social anxiety / High school fiction
  • My brain is different: Stories of ADHD and other developmental disorders / Monzusu / Various / Memoir
  • Run on your new legs / Wataru Midori / Limbless character / High school fiction
  • A silent voice / Yoshitoki Oima / Deaf character / High school fiction

Fellow librarians (and everyone else), please feel free to use, print, edit, and/or share this list as you please! Love, Wesley.