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By Riva Lehrer. 2020
The vividly told, gloriously illustrated memoir of an artist born with disabilities who searches for freedom and connection in a…society afraid of strange bodies&“Golem Girl is luminous; a profound portrait of the artist as a young—and mature—woman; an unflinching social history of disability over the last six decades; and a hymn to life, love, family, and spirit.&”—David Mitchell, author of Cloud AtlasWhat do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And what becomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? Can we envision a world that sees impossible creatures?In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to "fix" her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured.Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark—it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits—inventing an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world. Each portrait story begins to transform the myths she&’s been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality, and other measures of normal.Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist, and the love and playfulness that defines all of Riva's work, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story of tenacity and creativity. With the author's magnificent portraits featured throughout, this memoir invites us to stretch ourselves toward a world where bodies flow between all possible forms of what it is to be human.Priase for Golem Girl&“Lehrer&’s story is a revelation of an inner subjective life—full of tragedy, love, and creativity—pushing against the external social stigmas, cultural narratives, and prejudices surrounding disability. She admits a felt kinship with other &“monsters&” because their bodies were also &“built by human hands,&” but unlike them, she is her own purpose, her own meaning, her own unstoppable golem.&”—Stephen Asma, author of On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears
By Haben Girma. 2019
This is the incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and her amazing…journey from isolation to the world stage. Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious. Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned nonvisual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law School, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities. Haben takes listeners through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at the White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection
By Judith Heumann, Kristen Joiner. 2019
One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right…to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. <P><P>A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn't built for all of us and of one woman's activism--from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington--Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann's lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. <P><P>Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy's struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a "fire hazard" to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher's license because of her paralysis, Judy's actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. <P><P>As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples' rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. <P><P> Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann's memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.
By Rosalind Perlman. 2007
The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story reveals the amazing life of a remarkable man who was born blind to…poor parents in Chicago in 1888. Rejecting the conventional wisdom of his time that marginalized the blind, he fought his way into and through the Chicago College of Medicine, graduated with honors at twenty-four, and became the world's first totally blind physician fully licensed to practice medicine. By the time he was thirty, he was one of the top heart and lung specialists in the city.Jacob Bolotin's story is both fascinating and inspirational. He was one of the first to raise the awareness of the world to the plight of the blind. His speeches about his own life and the need for treating people with disabilities as capable and productive citizens were in such demand he often gave four talks a day while working full time as a doctor and teaching at three medical colleges. When Jacob Bolotin died at the age of thirty-six, five thousand people attended his funeral.
By Kate Clifford Larson, Marie-Anne de Béru. 2016
Rosemary est la fille de Joe Kennedy et la petite soeur du futur président John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Joe Kennedy est…le patriarche d'une famille qui incarne le rêve américain. D'origine irlandaise il connaît une fulgurante ascension dans l'industrie et dans la finance. Obsédé par la réussite, la sienne et celle de sa famille, il est sans état d'âme pour ses enfants qu'il dédie à de grandes ambitions politiques. Née en 1918, Rosemary est différente des autres membres de la fratrie. Très vite, on lui décèle un léger retard mental associé plus tard à des troubles de l'humeur. Un peu rebelle, elle affectionne les fêtes, pratique la voile et le tennis. En 1939, elle obtient un diplôme d'enseignante. Mais sa santé mentale se dégrade. Elle séjourne régulièrement dans des établissements spécialisés. Son père craint que Rosemary soit à l'origine d'un éventuel scandale. Il décide alors d'employer les grands moyens et accepte que sa fille soit lobotomisée. L'opération tourne mal. Rosemary en sort lourdement handicapée, à la fois physiquement et mentalement. Elle est alors internée, cachée, effacée. Pendant longtemps, ses propres frères et soeurs ignorent ce qu'est devenue Rosemary. Seule l'attaque cérébrale de Joe en 1961 permet à la famille de la revoir. 2016.
By Traci Medford-Rosow, Kevin Coughlin. 2018
By Vaneetha Rendall Risner. 2021
The astonishing, Job-like story of how an existence filled with loss, suffering, questioning, and anger became a life filled with…shocking and incomprehensible peace and joy.Vaneetha Risner contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years and, after each stay, would return to a life filled with bullying. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate.But life unraveled. Again. She had four miscarriages. Her son died because of a doctor's mistake. And Vaneetha was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, meaning she would likely become a quadriplegic. And then her husband betrayed her and moved out, leaving her to raise two adolescent daughters alone. This was not the abundant life she thought God had promised her. But, as Vaneetha discovered, everything she experienced was designed to draw her closer to Christ as she discovered "that intimacy with God in suffering can be breathtakingly beautiful."
By Craig Davidson. 2018
NATIONAL BESTSELLERFor readers of Kristine Barnett's The Spark, Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree and Ian Brown's The Boy in…the Moon, here is a heartfelt, funny and surprising memoir about one year spent driving a bus full of children with special needs.With his last novel, Cataract City, Craig Davidson established himself as one of our most talented novelists. But before writing that novel and before his previous work, Rust and Bone, was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film, Davidson experienced a period of poverty, apparent failure and despair. In this new work of riveting and timely non-fiction, Davidson tells the unvarnished story of one transformative year in his life and of his unlikely relationships with a handful of unique and vibrant children who were, to his initial astonishment and bewilderment, and eventual delight, placed in his care for a couple of hours each day--the kids on school bus 3077. One morning in 2008, desperate and impoverished while trying unsuccessfully to write, Davidson plucked a flyer out of his mailbox that read, "Bus Drivers Wanted." That was the first step towards an unlikely new career: driving a school bus full of special-needs kids for a year. Armed only with a sense of humour akin to that of his charges, a creative approach to the challenge of driving a large, awkward vehicle while corralling a rowdy gang of kids, and unexpected reserves of empathy, Davidson takes us along for the ride. He shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, each of them struggling physically as well as emotionally and socially, slowly but surely changed his life along with the lives of the "precious cargo" in his care. This is the extraordinary story of that year and those relationships. It is also a moving, important and universal story about how we see and treat people with special needs in our society.
An inspiring story of beating the odds and learning to overcome--no matter what life hands you.After starting a family and…flourishing in his career, Tim Hague was struck by misfortune. The irritating tremor in his foot turned out to be early onset Parkinson's disease. He was only 46 years old. But what seemed to be an end became a new beginning. Just three years later, Hague won the inaugural The Amazing Race Canada (with his son, Tim Jr., as his teammate). His remarkable life story shows that perseverance is not just a matter of willpower: it is a skill that can be learned and honed. And perseverance is the theme of his life. From the day he was born, Hague has gone from one struggle to another. Yet, remarkably, he doesn't have a trace of self-pity. In fact, he feels blessed. From his tough start in life as an unwanted mixed-race baby born in Texas in 1964, to his eventual move to the unforgiving climate of Winnipeg, Canada, to start a family under difficult circumstances, and his continuing battle with Parkinson's--Hague's life is a roadmap of perseverance. Parkinson's has forced him to retire early from the work he loves as a registered nurse. But as a healthcare professional, and now suffering from a challenging disease himself, Hague discusses living with Parkinson's like no one else could. He now works with charities to help promote Parkinson's awareness and his "Live Your Best" message. Drawing on his experience winning The Amazing Race, and referencing cutting-edge research and studies, Hague weaves a moving story of failure and success, outlining the elements of his philosophy that anyone can apply to their own lives, including: * The nature of luck: Luck comes to those who keep trying until the end--never stop until the race is over. * Find community: As a nurse, a husband and father, and a man living with Parkinson's, Hague knows better than most that we all need to ask for help sometimes, and that's a good thing. * Accept limits: By focusing on what we can do, we accomplish more than we ever thought possible. * Cease striving: We think of striving as a positive attribute, but all we end up doing is banging our heads against the wall. Have goals, but have fun. Do not create anxiety out of nothing and maintain perspective. * Live Your Best: No such thing as giving 110%--can only do your best. Inspirational and entertaining, Hague's message is both simple and profound: perseverance isn't just something a person has, or a trait we admire in others. Hague's book, like his life, is a guide to how we can all learn to persevere in the face of daily struggles--or even life-changing illness.
By Sharon Campbell-Rayment. 2016
In every tragedy there is the ability to heal and rise above the challenge. In Falling into the Rhythm of…Life, author Sharon Campbell-Rayment leads readers through her personal story of a devastating accident and her path to healing and recovery. She also provides readers with helpful lessons, tips and techniques called – Life Lessons Straight From the Horse's Mouth – written to equip readers on their own journeys.
By Tracie White. 2021
A Father, His Son, and an Unrelenting Quest for a CureAt the age of twenty-seven, Whitney Dafoe was forced to…give up his life as a photographer who traveled the world. Bit by bit a mysterious illness stole away the pieces of his life: First, it took the strength of his legs, then his voice, and his ability to eat. Finally, even the sound of a footstep in his room became unbearable. The Puzzle Solver follows several years in which he desperately sought answers from specialist after specialist, where at one point his 6'3" frame dropped to 115 lbs. For years, he underwent endless medical tests, but doctors told him there was nothing wrong. Then, finally, a diagnosis: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis.In the 80s, when an outbreak of people immobilized by an indescribable fatigue were reported near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, doctors were at a loss to explain the symptoms. The condition would alternatively be nicknamed Raggedy Ann Syndrome or the Yuppie Disease, and there was no cure or answers about treatment. They were to remain sick.But there was one answer: Whitney's father, Ron Davis, PhD, a world-class geneticist at Stanford University whose legendary research helped crack the code of DNA, suddenly changed the course of his career in a race against time to cure his son's debilitating condition.In The Puzzle Solver, journalist Tracie White, who first wrote a viral and award-winning piece on Davis and his family in Stanford Medicine, tells his story. In gripping prose, she masterfully takes readers along on this journey with Davis to solve one of the greatest mysteries in medicine. In a piercing investigative narrative, closed doors are opened, and masked truths are exposed as Davis uncovers new proof confirming that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a biological disease.At the heart of this book is a moving story that goes far beyond medicine, this is a story about how the power of love -- and science -- can shine light in even the darkest, most hidden, corners of the world.
By Rebekah Taussig. 2020
A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting_pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to…paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life. Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.
One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all…are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people. From original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma, to blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, Congressional testimonies, and beyond: this anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites listeners to question their own understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and the past with hope and love
By Jonathan Mooney. 2019
Confessional and often hilarious, in Normal Sucks a neuro-diverse writer, advocate, and father meditates on his life, offering the radical…message that we should stop trying to fix people and start empowering them to succeedJonathan Mooney blends anecdote, expertise, and memoir to present a new mode of thinking about how we live and learn—individually, uniquely, and with advantages and upshots to every type of brain and body. As a neuro-diverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn't learn to read until he was twelve, the realization that that he wasn’t the problem—the system and the concept of normal were—saved Mooney’s life and fundamentally changed his outlook. Here he explores the toll that being not normal takes on kids and adults when they’re trapped in environments that label them, shame them, and tell them, even in subtle ways, that they are the problem. But, he argues, if we can reorient the ways in which we think about diversity, abilities, and disabilities, we can start a revolution.A highly sought after public speaker, Mooney has been inspiring audiences with his story and his message for nearly two decades. Now he’s ready to share what he’s learned from parents, educators, researchers, and kids in a book that is as much a survival guide as it is a call to action. Whip-smart, insightful, and utterly inspiring—and movingly framed as a letter to his own young sons, as they work to find their ways in the world—this book will upend what we call normal and empower us all.
By Michael J. Fox. 2020
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A moving account of resilience, hope, fear and mortality, and how these things resonate in…our lives, by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox. The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future; as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties; as Mike Flaherty in Spin City; and through numerous other movie roles and guest appearances on shows such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Diagnosed at age 29, Michael is equally engaged in Parkinson’s advocacy work, raising global awareness of the disease and helping find a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the world’s leading non-profit funder of PD science. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism. His new memoir reassesses this outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional challenges.In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses. Running through the narrative is the drama of the medical madness Fox recently experienced, that included his daily negotiations with the Parkinson’s disease he’s had since 1991, and a spinal cord issue that necessitated immediate surgery. His challenge to learn how to walk again, only to suffer a devastating fall, nearly caused him to ditch his trademark optimism and “get out of the lemonade business altogether.”Does he make it all of the way back? Read the book.
By Amanda McDonough. 2018
When author Amanda McDonough started losing her hearing at the age of 4 she swore her parents to secrecy. She…hid her hearing loss for 18 years from her friends, family, teachers, and acquaintances. As the author grew older, her hearing gradually decreased, causing her to begin struggling in school, in her relationships with family and friends, and with her identity. By age twenty-two, she could no longer rely on her wit to hide her hearing loss. She became one hundred percent deaf in both ears. Amanda found herself unable to hear, talk, lip-read or sign. Her only method of communication with the world was through writing. Ready to be Heard is the story of how Amanda taught herself to speak again, to lip-read, and to sign. McDonough explains how she discovered a new culture, language, and most importantly, herself. In this memoir, the author narrates how she managed to finish college after becoming deaf. How she garnered straight As in school, entered the workforce, enjoyed a successful Hollywood acting career (Freeforms Switched at Birth, ABCs Speechless, NBCs Bad Judge, Google, 7UP, Deaf West/ Pasadena Playhouses Our Town, etc.), fought for her independence, and found her purpose. Ready to be Heard tells about the authors journey to find a balance between the hearing world she was raised in and the Deaf culture to which she now belonged.
By Antonia Felix, Janice Deblois. 2005
The inspiring true story of an exceptional autistic savant whose musical gifts thrill audiences the world overEver since he was…born--blind and weighing less than two pounds--Tony DeBlois has been defying the odds and wildly surpassing others' expectations. Diagnosed early on as autistic, at two years old his talent for music was revealed when he played "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on a toy piano. Going on to graduate with honors from the Berklee College of Music, today Tony leads an improvisational jazz ensemble and performs solo shows from Dublin to Taipei and even Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Some Kind of Genius weaves details of Tony's amazing musical accomplishments--he can play 20 instruments--with a fascinating look at savant syndrome, in which a person with certain developmental limitations exhibits brilliance in some other aspect of his life. Tony's fiercely devoted mother, Janice, also tells of her own crusade--not only for the rights of her son but also on behalf of all those with special needs.
By T. Alan Hurwitz. 2020
Alan Hurwitz ascended the ranks of academia to become the president of not one, but two, universities—National Technical Institute for…the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology and Gallaudet University. In Let’s Go In: My Journey to a University Presidency, Hurwitz discusses the unique challenges he encountered as a Deaf person, and the events, people, and experiences that shaped his personal and professional life. He demonstrates the importance of building a strong foundation for progressive leadership roles in higher education, and provides insights into the decision-making and outreach required of a university president, covering topics such as community collaboration, budget management, and networking with public policy leaders. He also stresses that assessing students’ needs should be a top priority. As he reflects on a life committed to service in higher education, Hurwitz offers up important lessons on the issues, challenges, and opportunities faced by deaf and hard of hearing people, and in doing so, inspires future generations of deaf people to aim for their highest goals.
By Philip W. Bravin. 2020
In March 1988, students at Gallaudet University led a successful protest to demand the selection of the university’s first deaf…president. The Deaf President Now (DPN) movement was a watershed event in American deaf history; it achieved self-governance for the deaf community and placed Gallaudet in the center of a national media spotlight. Controlling Our Destiny is Philip Bravin’s personal perspective of these momentous events. A lifelong member of the deaf community and proud Gallaudet alumnus, Bravin was a member of the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees and the chair of the presidential search committee during DPN. Although the deaf community had been strongly advocating for a deaf president to lead the university, the board (which had a hearing majority) selected the lone hearing candidate. Bravin recounts the discussions and decision-making that happened behind the scenes leading up to and following the ill-fated announcement. He reflects on the integrity of the process and the internal conflict he experienced as a deaf person who supported a deaf president yet felt compelled to abide by his duties as a board member. After the protests, his leadership was recognized when he was selected as the first deaf chair of the board. Photographs and documents add depth to Bravin’s account, many of which will be seen by the public for the first time. I. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet, provides a foreword in which he shares his own unique insight into these events. Controlling Our Destiny captures the energy and the urgency of DPN. Readers will understand the complexities of the presidential search process and the cultural and historical contexts that triggered the protest. Bravin’s memoir contemplates power, access, community, and the enduring legacy of a movement that inspired deaf people around the world.
By Tristan Jones. 1988
In 1983 Tristan Jones, well known as one of the finest sailing adventure writers of our time, had his left…leg amputated. Refusing to become landbound after a lifetime at sea, he acquired a specially designed, virtually untippable 38-foot trimaran and began to sail around the world. Outward Leg is the tale of his intrepid voyage from San Diego to London. The Improbable Voyage chronicles his heroic journey along an unusual and hazardous route from the North Sea, through the rivers of Central Europe, to the Black Sea. In Somewheres East of Suez, the final installment of this extraordinary saga, Tristan sails eight thousand miles from Istanbul to Thailand. From the tourist- and terrorist-dominated ports of the eastern Mediterranean to African outposts peopled with famine refugees, Tristan maintains the unique perspective of a man who has had minimal contact with society's restraints, using his acerbic wit to spare no fools and offer biting social commentary. After barely escaping with his life in South Yemen, he sets off for the Far East, determined to win out against the difficulties of his disability, whether battling a tropical cyclone or surviving on a dwindling ration of fresh water in the vast windless expanse of the Indian Ocean.