Disability: A Shared Culture

Marieke Nijkamp

1. Disability in Kidlit

One of the best online resources on disability, disability culture, and children’s literature is Disability in Kidlit (http://disabilityinkidlit.com/).

Their mission: “Disability in Kidlit is dedicated to discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. We publish articles, reviews, interviews, and discussions examining this topic from various angles—and always from the disabled perspective.

We believe that a thoughtful portrayal of disability requires more than memorizing a list of symptoms; we hope that sharing disabled people’s thoughts on stereotypes, pet peeves, particular portrayals, and their own day-to-day experiences will help our readers learn about the realities of disability, which are often different from what we see in popular media.”

Disability in Kidlit is an incredibly rich and detailed resource that prioritizes disabled voices.

To complement this resource, DiKL also has a Tumblr (http://disabilityinkidlit.tumblr.com/) again with, primarily, content from disabled perspectives, and links to many more experiences. Further, there is a Goodreads account that lists all MG/YA books featuring disabled characters: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/22364883-disability-in-kidlit (NOTE: this list is quantitative, not qualitative.)

2. Further Reading

Disability culture and disability covers a wide spectrum of experiences. On that spectrum, one may find both shared identities and common bonds, and very specific questions regarding specific disabilities. Especially for the latter, limiting resources to a finite list here would feel disingenuous and not enough.

Rather, it’s important to consider what makes a good resource. Disability in Kidlit’s practice of prioritizing disabled voices and reviewing representation by their perspective creates a good guideline for judging other resources. Self-advocacy is always preferred. And whether we talk about disability in general, representation, or activism, the motto of the disability rights movement is key: Nothing about us, without us.

This Is Where It Ends. Sourcebooks Fire, 2016. 288p. $17.99. 978-1-4926-2246-8.

Nijkamp-headshotMarieke Nijkamp is the New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globetrotter, geek. Disabled and proud, Nijkamp is the founder of DiversifYA and advisor of We Need Diverse Books. Find her on Twitter.

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