Disability book collection creates wider variety of books

School strives to have more inclusive sets of books for students


Semai Hagos

The Disability book collection embodies diversity in the Disabled community.

Semai Hagos, Staff Reporter

The school has been planning a fundraiser for the library’s disabilities collection, a collection of books that will be marked as its own section.

Senior and Talisman Editor Cameron Patel, who is also a member of the school’s Pride book club, is involved with the library’s disabilities collection and feels strongly about the importance of having one.

“We were talking about this in Pride book club and I asked Ms. Chambers if there was a similar thing for books of disability,” Patel said. 

Since there wasn’t one, TuesD Chambers, the school’s librarian, asked Patel to work on this project since portrayal is so important to Patel. 

“[When curating the collection], it was really important to us that we were prioritizing authors who are disabled themselves,” Patel said. 

Patel explained the importance of diversity in the collection — with representation of those with chronic illnesses, those who are hearing impaired, disabled people of color, and more.

As somebody who lives with an invisible disability, it means a lot to see the representation of characters who go through something similar.

— Cameron Patel

Another benefit to the collection, Patel said, was that disabled people would be able to see themselves in stories that revolve around someone who, like them, is disabled. 

“As somebody who lives with an invisible disability, it means a lot to see the representation of characters who go through something similar,” Patel said. 

About 36 books were recommended and will be in the collection so far, which cost about $1,900, which has been raised through the PTSA grant system. 

Some book selections which will be included in the collection are A List of Cages by Robin Roe, The Pretty One, by Keah Brown, Disabled Voices Anthology by Alice Wong and Aimee Louw, and more.

Chambers co-wrote and presented the grant to raise money for the fundraiser and explained how funding a disability collection in the library would create a more inclusive environment for students. 

Chambers explained that the books would also be used in book clubs and will be stickered with a disability flag Patel had found. 

As stated by Chambers, lots of work and dedication is being put into this book collection, even though it may not be fully comprehensive.  

“We know we have work to do but we always want the library to represent the students we serve,” Chambers said. 

David Furman, a special education teacher at the school, has also played a big role in the disabilities collection, as he had also helped write the PTSA grant and came up with book selections. 

We are hoping that with more visibility, it [the school] is a better-lived experience for all.

— TuesD Chambers

,” Chambers said. 

As a special education teacher and a person with a disability [ADHD], I have connections and relationships with many people with disabilities in our school,” Furman said. 

As he expressed his motivation for stepping in on this project, Furman had also mentioned how it would impact students at the school.

I’ve heard from so many students and staff about the large positive impact of ‘feeling seen,’” Furman said. 

Furman had also explained how this new collection can promote individual reading among students and may even inspire some to engage in book clubs. 

“When Cameron and Ms. Chambers came to me with the idea of adding texts around different abilities, I was immediately on board to help,” Furman said.