Monday, September 27, 2021

5 Highly-Praised Books About Disability You'd Be Better Off Skipping

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3 minute read

I'm sure that even if you haven't been around disabled people, you've heard of at least one book on this list.  That's because the five books I'm about to share are highly-praised and often-recommended.  Yes, they feature disabled characters.  They also feature highly problematic characterization.  And they are all written by nondisabled authors.  (The books about kids with CP were written by parents of kids with CP...)

So, buckle up, and prepare to add these to your do not read list:


[Image: The cover of Jamie Sumner's Roll with It

1.  Roll with It by Jamie Sumner (Middle Grade, 2019)

This one is's been recommended all over the place.  It's on all kinds of lists as good disability representation to read with kids as young as fifth grade, and it is nothing short of alarming in its portrayal of Ellie, a 12 year old with CP.  (Read my full thoughts on the book here.)


2.  Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Middle Grade, 2010)

In a similar vein, this book is on almost every list I see, for little kids, and there is no indication of the harm in these pages.  Melody is 11 years old and nonverbal (also with CP).  See my full review on the book here.


3. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (Fiction, 2014)

Amy is 17 years old and has CP.  This representation is stunningly terrifying.  I did a chapter by chapter analysis of this book.  You can find it here.


4.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (Middle Grade, 2012)

I'm sure you've heard about Wonder.  It was made into a film in recent years.  10-year-old Auggie has "something similar to Treacher-Collins Syndrome" and while the first 20% of the book is solidly good, the rest just devolves.  You can read my review on it here.


5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Romance, 2012)

Likewise, I'm positive you've heard of this one.  It was also made into a movie in recent years.  Will was recently paralyzed and Louisa (an inexperienced carer) is hired to help him.  It's hideous.  This is one of the first books I ever reviewed here.


If you're asking "What do I read instead?" right about now, check out 10 of My Favorite Books Written By Disabled Authors.


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