by Judith Heumann, with Kristen Jones
As featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Crip Camp, and for readers of I Am Malala, one of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her story of fighting to belong.
"If I didn't fight, who would?"
Judy Heumann was only 5 years old when she was first denied her right to attend school. Paralyzed from polio and raised by her Holocaust-surviving parents in New York City, Judy had a drive for equality that was instilled early in life.
In this young readers' edition of her acclaimed memoir, Being Heumann, Judy shares her journey of battling for equal access in an unequal world--from fighting to attend grade school after being described as a "fire hazard" because of her wheelchair, to suing the New York City school system for denying her a teacher's license because of her disability. Judy went on to lead 150 disabled people in the longest sit-in protest in US history at the San Francisco Federal Building. Cut off from the outside world, the group slept on office floors, faced down bomb threats, and risked their lives to win the world's attention and the first civil rights legislation for disabled people.
Judy's bravery, persistence, and signature rebellious streak will speak to every person fighting to belong and fighting for social justice.
Target age: 10 to 14
"Inspiring and wryly humorous . . . Readers will be outraged to read about the treatment disabled individuals have faced and still face and cheer as Heumann persists against incredible odds. Necessary reading." -- Booklist, Starred Review
"Heumann's frank accounts of humiliation and dismissal are infuriating, but her conversational narration and snarky chapter titles ('Sorry, If You Could Just Hide Behind Everyone Else That Would Be Great') keep the tone encouraging, and her accounts of disabled people's camaraderie are heartening. A reflective epilogue explores global disability rights, representation, and the importance of telling--and listening to--#ownvoices stories. Insightful and empowering." -- Kirkus Reviews
"A powerful yet tender memoir from one of the most important figures in disability rights history. Judy's story made me laugh, cringe, and perhaps most importantly, it lit a fire in me to fight harder for disability rights." --Shane Burcaw, author of Laughing at My Nightmare
About the Contributors:
Judith Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the Disability Rights Independent Living Movement. She has served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and she was the World Bank's first adviser on disability and development. Heumann is the author of a memoir, Being Heumann, and her story was featured in the Netflix documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020).
Kristen Joiner is a writer and activist who tries to tell stories that change how people see the world. Her writing on exclusion, inequality, and social change has been published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Stuff and other outlets. She lives in New Zealand with her family.