July is Disability Pride Month! As a disabled person, I rarely see that part of my identity represented in books. But all month long, disabled people from around the world are showing pride in their identity and experiences. In the bookish world, disabled authors and readers have been sharing books that center the lives of disabled people. I love audiobooks and thought I would join that fun, so here are a few audiobooks by and about disabled people.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong, Narrated by Alejandra Ospina and Alice Wong
One of my top disability recommendations this month has been Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong. By its very nature, the disability community is incredibly intersectional and diverse, including people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and cultures. Disability Visibility reflects that diversity with its contributors, giving listeners a look at a wide range of experiences and types of disability. Alejandra Ospina, who is also a disabled person, narrates the audiobook beautifully.
Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Narrated by the Author
In her essay collection Care Work, Piepzna-Samarasinha focuses on topics around the unique experiences of disabled queer people and disabled people of color. She points out that many disability initiatives have been led by people of color and discusses the importance of recognizing their work in the larger disability community. She also reads the audiobook, adding that layer of authenticity that only comes when an author reads her own book.
Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen, Narrated by Erin Bennett
If your education was anything like mine, you probably received very little instruction on the history of disability in the United States. Part of the Revisioning History series, Nielsen’s book is a great place to start, and Erin Bennett’s narration keeps listeners mentally on track as we move from chapter to chapter.
The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, and Other Reasons to Fall in love with Me by Keah Brown, Narrated by the Author
Keah Brown is most well known for creating the hashtag #DisabledAndCute. In her memoir, she shares what it’s like being a bisexual, Black, disabled woman. Her story celebrates her life with all of its ups and downs, and as she reads the audio, her voice exudes joy. If you love her audiobook, make sure to follow her over on Twitter to see her hashtag in action!.
Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir About a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann with Kristen Joiner, Narrated by Ali Stroker
In her new memoir, disability rights activist Judith Heumann shares her experience growing up with polio. Being denied basic rights from an early age inspired her to fight for the rights of disabled people. With her performance, Ali Stroker embodies Heumann’s narrative voice, making this audiobook completely engrossing.
Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc, Narrated by Amanda Barker
In Disfigured, Amanda Leduc examines the role of bodily difference in fairy tales, pointing out how these familiar stories influence how society views disability. All too often, people with bodily differences only see themselves represented as villains, and that is not okay. Leduc present her research is such an accessible way that non-academic types, like myself, can easily understand her research. Amanda Barker narrates the audiobook with such skill. I was engrossed from the first few minutes.
About Us: Essays from the Disability Series from the New York Times edited by Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Narrated by Coleen Marlo and Jonathan Todd Ross
Collected from The New York Times Disability Series column, About Us includes a series of essays about disabled people, their experiences, relationships, challenges, and triumphs. As someone who can’t read print most of the time, I wasn’t able to read these essays when they were first published. But now as an audiobook, these essays are now accessible to me. Coleen Marlo and Todd Ross read these essays simply and directly, giving me that newspaper-like feel I get when I listen to newspaper articles or summaries.
For more audiobooks by disabled authors, check out my previous post 5 Own Voices Audiobooks About Women With Chronic Illness or Disabilities!