This July, we’re honoring Disability Pride Month at FSU Libraries with fifteen books from our collections that highlight diverse experiences of disability. The Disability Pride Flag, pictured below, expresses the meaning of this month.
The flag was designed by Ann Magill with disabled people in mind. The original design featured zig-zagging lines to represent the many obstacles disabled people navigate each day. But when she found the sharp lines were triggering to people with visual disabilities, Magill transformed the flag into the one we have today, reworking the shapes and reordering colors to accommodate disabled people. Each stripe represents the following: the red stands for peoples with physical disabilities; the gold is for neurodiversity; the white is for non-visible and undiagnosed disabilities; the blue is for emotional and psychiatric disabilities; and finally, the green is for sensory disabilities, like blindness and deafness.
The following books come from every color of the flag. Experience Beauty is A Verb, a collection of poetry by disabled people. Check out the graphic memoir Stitches, or Ilya Kaminsky’s epic poem, Deaf Republic— both finalists for the National Book Award. To learn about the history of the disability rights movement, check out The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation; and to learn about its future, see Leah Lakshmi’s Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice.
There are so many incisive selections below, all available to check out at the Scholar Support desk or online through the FSU Libraries website!
by David Small
One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by David Small Books.
edited by Jennifer Bartlett et. al
Beauty is a Verb is the first of its kind: a high-quality anthology of poetry by American poets with physical disabilities. Poems and essays alike consider how poetry, coupled with the experience of disability, speaks to the poetics of each poet included. The collection explores first the precursors whose poems had a complex (and sometimes absent) relationship with disability, such as Vassar Miller, Larry Eigner, and Josephine Miles. It continues with poets who have generated the Crip Poetics Movement, such as Petra Kuppers, Kenny Fries, and Jim Ferris. Finally, the collection explores the work of poets who do not necessarily subscribe to the identity of “crip-poetics” and have never before been published in this exact context. These poets include Bernadette Mayer, Rusty Morrison, Cynthia Hogue, and C. S. Giscombe. The book crosses poetry movements—from narrative to language poetry—and speaks to and about a number of disabilities including cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, multiple sclerosis, and aphasia due to stroke, among others.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Syracuse University Press.
edited by Alice Wong
Disability rights activist Alice Wong brings tough conversations to the forefront of society with this anthology. It sheds light on the experience of life as an individual with disabilities, as told by none other than authors with these life experiences. It’s an eye-opening collection that readers will revisit time and time again.
Image courtesy of Penguin Books. Description provided by the Chicago Tribune.
by Esmé Weijun Wang
Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the ‘collected schizophrenias’ but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative.
Image courtesy of Autostraddle.com. Description provided by Graywolf Press.
by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all. Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.
Image courtesy of Autostraddle.com. Description provided by Bookshop.org.
by Shayda Kafai
Crip Kinship explores the art-activism of Sins Invalid, a San Francisco Bay Area-based performance project, and its radical imaginings of what disabled, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming bodyminds of color can do: how they can rewrite oppression, and how they can gift us with transformational lessons for our collective survival.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by AK Press.
by Tomás Q. Morín
Let Me Count the Ways is the memoir of a journey into obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mechanism to survive a childhood filled with pain, violence, and unpredictability. Morín’s compulsions were a way to hold onto his love for his family in uncertain times until OCD became a prison he struggled for decades to escape. Tender, unflinching, and even funny, this vivid portrait of South Texas life challenges our ideas about fatherhood, drug abuse, and mental illness.
Image courtesy of Kindred Stories. Description provided by University of Nebraska Press.
by Ilya Kaminsky
Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear–they all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, these poems confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Graywolf Press.
by Corbett Joan O’Toole
Uncovering stories about disability history and life, O’Toole shares her firsthand account of some of the most dramatic events in Disability History, and gives voice to those too often yet left out. From the 504 Sit-in and the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, to the Disability Forum at the International Woman’s Conference in Beijing; through dancing, sports, queer disability organizing and being a disabled parent, O’Toole explores her own and the disability community’s power and privilege with humor, insight and honest observations.
Image courtesy of Kobo.com. Description provided by Harvard University Library.
by Shane Burcaw
With acerbic wit, 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.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Roaring Books.
by Doris Zames Fleischer and Frieda Zames
Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement tells a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities. The book includes a new chapter on the evolving impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the continuing struggle for cross-disability civil and human rights, and the changing perceptions of disability. The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture.
Image courtesy of Google Books. Description provided by Temple University Press.
by Temple Grandin
Originally published in 1995 as an unprecedented look at autism, Grandin writes from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person to give a report from “the country of autism.” Introducing a groundbreaking model which analyzes people based on their patterns of thought, Grandin “charts the differences between her life and the lives of those who think in words”
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
by Paul K. Longmore
This wide-ranging book shows why Paul Longmore is one of the most respected figures in disability studies today. Understanding disability as a major variety of human experience, he urges us to establish it as a category of social, political, and historical analysis in much the same way that race, gender, and class already have been. The essays here search for the often hidden pattern of systemic prejudice and probe into the institutionalized discrimination that affects the one in five Americans with disabilities.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Temple University Press.
by Georgina Kleege
This elegantly written book offers an unexpected and unprecedented account of blindness and sight. Legally blind since the age of eleven, Georgina Kleege draws on her experiences to offer a detailed testimony of visual impairment—both her own view of the world and the world’s view of the blind. “I hope to turn the reader’s gaze outward, to say not only ‘Here’s what I see’ but also ‘Here’s what you see,’ to show both what’s unique and what’s universal,” Kleege writes.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Yale Books.
by CeCe Bell
El Deafo is a book that will entertain children, give hearing-impaired children a hero of their own, and challenge others to consider an experience unlike their own. Like other great works for children, it provides the opportunity for young readers to consider how they would act or react in a similar situation, helping to build empathy and understanding through the power of story.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Description provided by Abrams Books.
This post was written by Lila Rush-Hickey, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries.