I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities
Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about young people with disabilities. This biennial selection draws attention to books published around the world that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level. Outstanding titles, including the one below, become part of The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities. This one-of-a-kind collection is located in Canada at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system.
Here is one of the titles from the 2015 list:
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten
(Doubleday (Canada), 2013 / Delacorte Press (US), 2015)
Reviewed by Debora Pearson*
Teresa Toten, the author of this novel for teens, takes readers into the mind of a memorable young adult while sidestepping any stereotypes associated with disabilities. There are no bullies to be found here; the main character, teenager Adam Spencer Ross, does not face hostile or humiliating treatment by others. Instead, the greatest difficulties Adam must confront are the ones happening inside his head. He has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and must be constantly vigilant for the ways in which this disorder could take over his life. That life includes many good things: caring friends, a loving stepbrother, the respect of his elders and – best of all – a budding romance with the beautiful Robyn Plummer.
Always ready to help others, Adam gets caught up in Robyn’s difficulties while trying to manage his mother’s increasingly disturbing behavior. He also must navigate the complicated social world of Room 13B where his OCD support group meets. By the end of the novel, readers will agree that Adam is the undisputable hero of the title: a caring and often-humorous young man who is willing to take risks while acknowledging his limitations.
*Debora Pearson is a children’s librarian at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system, where The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities is located. Debora works with Leigh Turina, the lead librarian for this collection, and helps promote the collection through social media. She also conducts IBBY collection visits for school classes and youth groups, provides reference support, and assists with the compilation of the collection’s biennial list of outstanding titles.
This review is © Toronto Public Library, 2016.
Read An Introduction to the IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities by lead librarian Leigh Turina.