As a disabled person, I’m always looking for more stories by and about disabled, chronically ill, d/Deaf, and neurodivergent people. These stories make me feel less alone in a world that’s not made for people like me. I especially love it when a disabled person narrates their own audiobook. It just adds that extra personal touch.
The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me by Keah Brown
Creator of the viral #DisabledAndCute campaign, disability rights advocate Keah Brown shares her story of growing up with cerebral palsy and a nondisabled identical twin (who people would call “the pretty one”). Brown learns to love herself and celebrate her life, encouraging other disabled people to do the same.
Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby
Hannah Gadsby reads her new memoir with her signature perfect comedic timing and wit. As she shares her experience growing up in Tasmania as a queer, autistic kid in the 80s and 90s, listeners gain a better understanding of how her early years have informed her art. Her memoir is incredibly insightful on what it’s like to be an autistic adult diagnosed later in life.
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma
Haben Girma grew up visiting her family in Eritrea, a country that had recently gained its independence from Ethiopia. Her parents instilled in her the courage to face whatever challenges she might encounter. Girma went on to travel the world, graduate from Harvard Law, and invent new technology for DeafBlind people like herself. She narrates her audiobook with so much emotional depth, sharing her joys and heartbreaks alike all through her performance.
A Face for Picasso by Ariel Henley
Ariel Henley and her sister Zan were born with Crouzon Syndrome, a condition in which the bones of their skull fuse too soon. They grew up undergoing countless procedures to save their lives and try to help their faces be more cosmetically pleasing to an ableist society. Henley’s memoir describes her childhood and adolescence in a clear and direct way, never shying from the harsh realities of her life. But she also shares the joys she and her sister experienced.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
All-star essayist Samantha Irby made her name with her essay collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. She shares stories from her experience with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), growing up economically disadvantaged, and her eventful dating life. Whatever the essay’s topic, she performs the audiobook edition with all of the incredible humor and emotional heart that she conveys on the printed page.
Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones
Chloé Cooper Jones is working on her second PhD when she finds herself in a bar listening to two men debate whether or not people like her should exist. Throughout the book, Jones seems on a search for meaning in her life, an answer to the swirling questions in her mind. Jones was born with sacral agenesis, a condition that affects her stature and the way she walks, and she shares what it is like for her to travel the world while visibly disabled. Her performance captures the many layers of her emotional journey to find where she belongs.
Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary, Resilient, Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig
Disability advocate Rebekah Taussig has long used her instagram account @sitting_pretty to break down and explain the ableist assumptions common in our society. Now in her memoir, she expands on those ideas, making space for people like herself to be seen as the complex, multidimensional human beings that we really are. She also shares her experience as a disabled woman who uses a wheelchair as a mobility aid and how, as a kid, she longed to see disabled kids like her on TV or in movies.
With all of these great selections, no matter what you choose, you’re sure to find a great listen! For more recommendations, check out “7 Fictions Audiobooks for Disability Pride Month”. And you can find more information about Disability Pride Month at “A Book Lover’s Guide to Disability Pride Month”.