Diverse Disabled Booklist

Below are all the books I’m aware of that feature a person of color or indigenous person that also has a disability of some kind.  Not all of these books are recommended.  Some I have not yet read, or have read but not yet reviewed.  Read more about this list and comment with books you suggest I add here.  I update this page as often as I can so keep checking back for new additions.  You can also check out the diverse disabled tag and scroll through the books I’ve reviewed that way.




Books in bold I especially enjoyed.  Books with a strikethrough are very problematic.
Nonfiction is marked with (NF) before the title.

A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane.  African American, autistic.  Another family is Latin@, and another character struggles with situational depression.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  Japanese American/African American, severe allergies/mental illness.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork.  Latina, chronic depression.  Other mental illnesses are also represented with Latin@ characters.  One main character (not disabled) is Indian & Hindu.

Donovan’s Double Trouble by Monalisa DeGross, illustrated by Amy Bates.  African American, amputated legs.  PoV character is able-bodied but his uncle is a main character.  One minor character is an adult Chinese immigrant.

(NF) This Kid Can Fly: It’s About Ability (Not Disability) by Aaron Philip, with Tonya Bolden.  Antiguan American immigrant, cerebral palsy.  Black father as primary caretaker.

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis. Mixed Dutch and Surinamese (African), autistic.  Other main characters include her transgender sister and drug addicted mother.  Minor characters include a wide variety of races, religions, orientations, and disabilities.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney.  Spokane Indian (indigenous/Native American) with hydrocephalus, stutter, poor vision, epilepsy, and situational depression.  Alcoholism, chronic depression, and an eating disorder are also present in other characters.  Warnings for homophobic, racist, and ablist slurs, not all of which are challenged.  See this post for why I no longer recommend this book.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. Indian, leg amputee.

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go: A Novel of Haiti by Laura Rose Wagner.  Haitian, depression and trauma (PTSD-like symptoms).

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  Nigerian; pseudocyesis, infertility, Sickle Cell Disorder, and impotence experienced by various characters.

(NF) The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.  Hmong-American, epilepsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner.  Indian-American, Deaf.  Another character is in recovery from an eating disorder.

American Panda by Gloria Chao.  Taiwanese-American, nearsighted with mysophobia and/or OCD.  Other characters struggle with endometriosis, emphysema.  MC has a positive body image but trigger warnings for negative comments about large bodies/small breasts and slut shaming.

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Judy Pedersen.  This collection contains a few stories with disabled characters, most notably paralyzed African-American Mr. Myles and traumatized Korean-American immigrant Sae Young.  Not recommended.

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris.  African-American, mental illness.

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins.  Indian, depression (both situational and chronic in different characters).

(NF) Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.  Osage (Native American), diabetes, alcoholism, depression in various characters.  TW for both violent and medical murders.

(NF) The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Hadish.  African American, mental illness, other disabilities.  From a disability standpoint this book has some serious flaws, yet is willing to discuss topics other books gloss over.  See review for further details.

Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson.  African American, diabetes, PTSD/trauma.  Trigger warning for death, medical neglect.

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson.  A side character is blind and African American.  Generally not recommended.

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, illustrated by Erin McGuire.  Unspecified race (dark skin and hair), condition similar to autism.

(NF) In a Rocket Made of Ice: the Story of Wat Opot, a Visionary Community for Children Growing Up with AIDS by Gail Gutradt.  Cambodian, HIV/AIDs.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez.  Mexican-American, depression.  Trigger warnings for self-harm+, see review for more details.



Gabriela by Teresa E. Harris.  African American, stutter.

“The Joke”. Iranian, missing arm and leg (not MC).  p. 258-266
“Skiing”. Iranian, depression.  Trigger warning for suicide.  p. 267-275
Both found in The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds. African American, blind (not the main character but a main part of the story)

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  Race of main character not specified, author is African American.  Cerebral palsy.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.  Unspecified race, “brown” girl who is not neurotypical.  Other major characters are Vietnamese, African American, and mixed.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. Latina, cystic fibrosis.  Not recommended!

(NF) A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. African-American, paralyzed limb.

(NF) Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz.  African American, polio.

Lock In by John Scalzi. African American, “Hayden’s syndrome” (science-fiction disease causes paralysis).

(NF) The Ballad of Blind Tom: Slave Pianist, America’s Lost Musical Genius by Deirdre O’Connell.  African American, blind, savant, & might have been autistic.

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. – African American, blind.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay.  Filipino, Gigantism, tumor. One MC is mixed race.
(Review: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7412951-tall-story)

(NF) Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Robby Novak.  African American, Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

(NF) Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson illustrated by Sean Qualls – missing limb, Ghana, West Africa

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata – Japanese lymphoma (sister).  Historical novel.

(NF) Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa and Christina Lamb.  Syrian, cerebral palsy (uses wheelchair).



(This section is just my notes on other books so it is less organized.  Once I have the book in my hands, it is easier to know specific details.)

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller.  Biracial protagonist, mother has depression.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29414515-the-science-of-breakable-things

(NF) The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell.  Japanese, Autism. Just translated in 2016.  NF but includes his short stories.

Like Water by Rebecca Podos.  Latin@, Huntington’s Disease (MC’s father, and possibly her).  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31556136-like-water

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle.  Cuban, dyslexia.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0544022750/

Omar’s Adventures (series) by Barbara Ali.  Half-Somali, Down’s Syndrome.  I think this is NF?  The author is from Wisconsin.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Half Japanese-American, social anxiety.

Kinda Like Brothers – Asthma, African American LD? fostering

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi.  Pakistani American immigrant, ADHD (brother of MC).

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.  ? Filipino-American, anxiety?  African-American, hearing impaired.  Also third-generation Japanese-American psychic?

King For a Day by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Christiane Kromer. – Wheelchair, Pakistani.
Buy from here:  http://kitaabworld.com/products/king-for-a-day?variant=34623218439

(NF) Believe by Eric LeGrand.  African-American, paralysis through spinal cord injury, wheelchair user.  (Two different editions, adult and YRE.)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.  American-born Nigerian albino

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.  Tanzanian albino.  MG, displaced.

Pinned by Sharon G. Flake – African American, wheelchair (no legs and learning disability)  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13492511-pinned

Fire Boy and Earth Boy duology by Sami Shah. – Pakistani with asthma, Muslim.

Marcelo In the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  Latino with unspecified cognitive impairment (similar to autism).  http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2013/07/01/s-e-smith-reviews-marcelo-in-the-real-world/

Swimming With Fishes by Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm.  Jamaican, Sickle Cell Anemia. Romance.  new release – http://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/112493

Burning Bright: A Novel About Surviving Sickle Cell Anemia by Maryam Awaisu.  Nigerian, Sickle Cell Anemia. https://www.amazon.com/Burning-Bright-Surviving-Sickle-Anemia/dp/1491750073

Meet ClaraBelle Blue by Adiba Nelson, illustrated by Elvira Morando.  African-American, wheelchair.  Preschool, inspired by author’s daughter.

The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin.  African American with hearing loss.  Other MC are a refugee and homeless veteran.  Mixed reviews.

A Bitter Pill to Swallow – AA mental health, debut novel, POC author

Not Otherwise Specified – Black ballerina with eating disorder

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis. Male MC is Latino (Mexican-American/Nahuatl), single-legged, epileptic.  Female MC is dark-skinned, bisexual, mute due to tongue removal.

Mia Lee is Wheeling Through Middle School – Asian American? wheelchair.

Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village  Nonfiction?

(NF) Knocking on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates – African American, missing limb.

The Thing About Luck – Japanese brother has autism

Blue Skies for Lupe by Linda Kurtz Kingsley.  Mexican immigrant uses wheelchair, speaks Spanish.

(NF) My Brother Charlie and Same But Different by Holly Robinson Peete etc. -autistic, AA twins

(NF) Colors of the Wind: The Story of Blind Artist and Champion Runner George Mendoza by J. L. Powers, illustrated by George Mendoza and Hayley Morgan-Sanders.  Latino, blind.

Ruby Lu (series) by Lenore Look – Chinese cousin is an American immigrant, deaf, speaks Chinese Sign Language and is learning ASL.

Alvin Ho (series) by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. – Chinese American, selective mutism.  Best friend wears an eyepatch.

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts – African American, facial scarring, historical fiction.  http://kids.readincolour.com/2015/08/on-shelves-now-kizzy-ann-stamps-by-jeri.html

Unstoppable Octabia May by Sharon G. Flake. African-American heart condition.  Historical fiction, poor reviews: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20894025-unstoppable-octobia-may

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake – African-American skin pigmentation?

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson – African American deaf (brother of MC), another character is biracial in this historical novel.

Soundless by Richelle Mead – “Chinese”, deaf community, blindness.  Not recommended, problematic for both areas.

Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Wu.  One of the main characters is Asian-American with OCD and anxiety.  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1941186229

Bleeding Violet – African American, mental illness (manic-depressive?).  Fantasy/horror.  Mixed reviews, sounds too scary for me.


What books do you recommend?  Do you know of any that aren’t on my list?

I’m still debating whether to eventually add books like Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which includes a homosexual main character with clinical depression.  For now I am sticking to only PoC/indigenous disabled characters.

Last updated 06/18/2020.

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