“To my younger self and all the disabled kids today who can’t imagine their futures. The world is ours, and this is for all of us.”
Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults): 17 First-Person Stories for Today (Delacorte Press, 2021)
- ISBN-10 : 059338167X (hardcover)
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593381670 (hardcover)
- ISBN: 9780593415511 (audiobook)
- ISBN: 9780593381694(e-book)
★ School Library Journal, November 2021 issue
Gr 7 Up–The idea that storytelling is a powerful tool for creating community and fostering agency has been a driving force behind disabled activist Wong’s work. She founded the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a project that records oral histories in partnership with StoryCorps. In 2020, Wong published Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This adaptation includes 17 of the original stories and opens a window into the rich and wide-ranging world that comprises the disability community. These first-person accounts are written by authors with diverse identities. For example, Keah Brown is a Black woman with cerebral palsy who writes about Black disabled joy. Sandy Ho is a queer, Asian American woman writing about the stigma of disability through an intersectional lens. Particularly powerful is Ariel Henley’s entry “There is a Mathematical Equation That Proves I’m Ugly: Or So I Learned in My Seventh-Grade Art Class.” The 17 selections are divided into four sections (Being, Becoming, Doing, and Connection) and each one includes content notes to let readers know about any potentially distressing content, such as bullying or suicidal ideation. VERDICT With one out of every five people in the United States living with a disability, this is essential reading. The disability community is vibrant and varied; their voices need to be amplified. A recommended first purchase.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s Sch., Brooklyn
★ Booklist, October 15, 2021 issue
This uplifting anthology, adapted from editor Wong’s adult title, features writings from 17 disabled individuals on a variety of subjects in four sections: Being, Becoming, Doing, and Connecting. A standout in the Being section recounts the injustice Jeremy Woody, who is deaf, experienced when denied sign language interpreters in prison. In the Becoming section, disabled individuals discuss topics like the erasure of disabled people in society, or the importance of actor Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with MS, appearing on the red carpet with a cane. Essays in Doing feature people with disabilities who have accomplished great things that impact society at large, like Alice Sheppard, who uses a wheelchair and choreographs dance routines that “create movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies.” In Connecting, Jamison Hill, who has myalgic encephalomyelitis and is unable to speak, shares the self-explanatory “Love Means Never Having to Say . . . Anything.” Some narratives include notes at the beginning that warn of traumatic or distressing content, and Wong also offers reassuring advice for disabled young people. Readers will be outraged at the injustice some of these individuals experienced, but will gain a greater understanding of how varied and accomplished their lives are.
— Sharon Rawlins
★ Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2021
A radical sampling of disabled writers avoids mawkishness and inspiration porn.
This young adult adaptation of a 2020 collection of the same name diverges from the accepted, saccharine portrayals of disabled and chronically ill people who superheroically overcome adversity. Haben Girma’s essay isn’t about how the daughter of Eritrean refugees became the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, it’s about her deep relationship with her guide dog. Jeremy Woody, a White man, shares the petty abuses and deprivation he experienced as an incarcerated, deaf ASL speaker. Lateef McLeod, a Black poet and podcaster who uses an augmentative and alternative communication device, addresses the power and potential of assistive technology. The featured writers are male, female, and nonbinary; Black, Jewish, Asian American, Arab American, White, and multiracial; some self-identify as queer. Many of the essays are deeply personal. The topics the writers explore include disabled community spaces, fighting against institutionalization, and role models with dwarfism or multiple sclerosis. Bipolar disorder and intellectual disabilities share space with facial difference and incontinence. The essayists examine Christianity and Islam, dating, and the freedom to be loud. Some of the authors will be familiar to readers who engage with disability spaces online, such as Keah Brown, an African American woman with cerebral palsy who went viral with her #DisabledAndCute hashtag. A plain language summary and discussion guide are available online. This is a wide-ranging collection presenting diverse and compelling voices.
Ardently, intimately political instead of passively inspirational: will galvanize young activists. (contributor biographies) (Nonfiction. 12-18)