When I was a child growing up with cerebral palsy, there was almost no disability representation in books. All cerebral palsy books were written by non-disabled people and it was rare for us to be portrayed positively. I knew by age 6 that I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have any role models with cerebral palsy who were published authors. Thankfully, things are starting to change and now many more cerebral palsy books are written by people who actually have CP. #OwnVoices
Whether you’re an adult with CP looking for others who understand or a parent whose child just received a CP diagnosis, these cerebral palsy books can help you understand what it’s like to have CP and see how much we can accomplish when we are included and our rights are respected. I have tried to include authors with a wide range of different backgrounds and experiences, so hopefully you will find someone you can relate to on this list.
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Cerebral Palsy Books: Memoirs and Autobiographies
“Find Another Dream” by Maysoon Zayid
If you haven’t heard of Maysoon Zayid, you’ve been missing out! She's a Muslim comedian with CP whose hilarious TED talk went viral. Her audiobook is a humorous and eye-opening tale of trying to make it in the entertainment industry when you have cerebral palsy.
“If At Birth You Don't Succeed” by Zach Anner
I’ve been fortunate enough to moderate an online panel with Zach and he is spontaneous and hilarious. You don’t want to miss this book which takes an irreverent look at cerebral palsy while providing a little education at the same time.
“The Pretty One” by Keah Brown
As a person with cerebral palsy who struggles with my body image, I enjoyed this book about learning to accept yourself and become a strong self-advocate. The disability community hasn't always been as inclusive of diverse voices as we should be, so I am thrilled to see more Black disabled writers sharing their stories, and addressing the unique challenges of being a person of color with a disability in the United States.
“Exile and Pride” by Eli Clare
As a queer woman, I often feel out of place in both LGBTQ and disability spaces. This book by a genderqueer person with cerebral palsy addresses what it’s like to live at this intersection and how both communities can be supportive.
“One More Step” by Bonner Paddock
You won’t catch me trying to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or do anything else that might render me more disabled than I am already. But I do love to travel, and I admire this writer's adventurous spirit. If you have mild cerebral palsy and you’ve been wondering if you could excel in outdoor and athletic activities, you’ll find the story inspiring.
One More Step: My Story of Living with Cerebral Palsy, Climbing Kilimanjaro, and Surviving the Hardest Race on Earth
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“The Unlikely Ballerina” by Denise Lance
I accept my disability and I don’t think too much about what my life would be like if I wasn’t born with CP or if it could be cured. But the one thing I’ve always wanted to be able to do is dance — I mean really dance using my whole body, moving elegantly through space to music. So I understand this author's perspective and admire her determination to dance as a person with mild CP.
“My Left Foot” by Christy Brown
You’ve probably seen the movie “My Left Foot” with Daniel Day-Lewis, the true story of writer Christy Brown who was born with cerebral palsy and could only use his left foot. This is his real autobiography, insightful and worth the read to learn how difficult it was to have CP decades ago, and still is now in some places.
“Coloring Outside the Lines: My Journey to Able Living in a Disabled Body” by J. Walton
As a travel blogger with cerebral palsy, I relate to this author and her determined spirit — and I think you will too.
“CP Can't Stop Me” by Autumn Kinkade
I’m not religious, but I respect that some people are and that their faith is important to them. If you’re a Christian with cerebral palsy, you’ll really enjoy this book, and perhaps your church can invite Autumn to speak about disability and inclusion.
Children's Books by Writers with Cerebral Palsy
“The Adventures of Bessie Bunny” by Karen Bunney
This picture book written by a woman with cerebral palsy teaches kids about accepting disabilities through the story of a bunny who was born different and uses a wheelchair instead of hopping.
“Max and the Magic Wish” by Gavin Clifton
This cerebral palsy book for kids features Max, a little boy with CP who visits a fortune teller and gets to make one wish. What does he wish for? Does it work out the way he hoped? You'll have to read to find out!
“The Amazing Edie Eckhart” by Rosie Jones
Rosie Jones is a hilarious comedian with cerebral palsy who wanted to write the book she needed to read as a child. This middle-grade children's book will appeal to adults too!
“Hailey's Dream” by Jennifer Kuhns
This illustrated children's book is written by a woman with cerebral palsy and tells the story of Hailey, a little girl who is sad because she can't walk or do some of the things her friends can do. Then she has a dream that changes everything…
I hope this list gets you started on reading cerebral palsy books that are for us AND by us. If you know of more authors who should be listed here, please contact The Ability Toolbox and we'll add them!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Ability Toolbox. I received my BA in English from Stanford University and MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles, and have worked in entertainment and health media for over 20 years. I also blog about traveling with a disability. As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, I am deeply committed to amplifying the voices of the disability community through writing and advocacy.