>Back last year I posted some thoughts on books with disabled characters. Ever since then I’ve been working on and off on a list of such books. As that post still regularly receives a lot of hits I figured it was probably about time I shared my list. I’ve split in into three parts as it’s 60 books long. This is in no way a complete list I just had to find a stopping point and stop hunting. I’d love to hear any more recommendations you have. I read a lot but I’ve in no way read all of these books (in fact this section of the list appears to be the one with the fewest books I’ve read) so I’m not necessarily recommending them and some don’t have the best portrayal of disability. The list is in no particularly order.
1. What Katy Did by Susan Cooleridge
2. Carol Lane series by Mary May
3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
4. Deenie by Judy Blume
5. Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult
6. A Trip To The Stars by Nicholas Christopher
7. Gridlock by Ben Elton
8. The Speed of The Dark by Elizabeth Moon
9. A Different Life by Lois Keith
10. Tuppence to Cross The Mersey Trilogy by Helen Forrester
11. The Girls by Lori Lansens
12. Wild Life by Molly Gloss
13. Kerlew in Reindeer People by Megan Lindholm
14. Wolf’s Brother by Megan Lindholm
15. Thick in the Tawny Man trilogy by Robin Hobb
16. The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
17. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
18. Skallagrigg by William Horwood
19. The Losers by David Eddings
20. Palomino by Danielle Steel
I’ve read: What Katy Did, the first two Carol Lane books, The Secret Garden, Deenie, Handle with Care, Gridlock, Little Women and Palomino. I also read a couple of chapters of The Diving Bell and The Butterfly in a bookshop but it didn’t grab me so I didn’t buy it and thus haven’t finished it.
Palomino is a typical Danielle Steel but I really loved it when I first got it and read it multiple times. It’s on my bookshelf and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it although I’ve not read it for years. One day I’ll read it again. In the meantime I have fond memories of the strength it portrays and the happiness it brought me.
The Secret Garden is another book I have read multiple times although arguable Colin is a very negative disabled character and stereotypically pitied. Probably at least part of that reflects the time in which it was written. That’s never put me off though.
I hadn’t even considered that Little Women has a disabled character (Beth) until someone pointed it out to me. And I loved Deenie as a child (because I too grew up “different”) but had completely forgotten about it until it was mentioned. It was one of those “how could I forget about that?!” moments. That’s something I’ve found interesting about these discussions I’ve been having and searches I’ve been doing – remembering books I’d forgotten. The Making Out Series by Katherine Applegate is mentioned later in the list. It’s over 25 books long and features a blind main character who loves to use his blindness to throw people off and make them see who he really is – a bit like I do with my own disability. I’d read all of those books as a teenager, avidly awaiting the next one. When that came up on an amazon search earlier it was another “I can’t believe I overlooked those” moment.