Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I need to do better, like these examples.

I, um, need to do better regarding disabled representation in my books. There is some discussion on the ethics of using cybernetic implants to "fix" folks born with disabilities, and I suppose my AI character Chloe starts off with impairment to all her senses since she's a computer with no physical body, but both of those angles are reaching. The truth is that I've dropped the ball. 

As these books did not:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle -- Main character Meg wears thick glasses, and her adventure is altered when she finds herself without them. One of the most poignant scenes features Meg and Aunt Beast, who is an alien creature without any visual sense but who is so incredibly beautiful despite. The disability representation here is deft, but my daughter who has eyesight similar to Meg was profoundly affected and appreciative.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo -- Kaz, the criminal mastermind and all-around badass, walks with a cane and has PTSD. Both of these conditions affect him differently but never stop him or slow him from protagging all over the place. As Alaina Leary wrote, "Kaz is a disabled character who is complex, badass, and decidedly attractive."

And one animation: Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels is in my top-three all-time favorite Jedi Knights, and he is so freaking amazing, not despite his blindness but because of who he becomes with it. He perceives the Force in a whole new way and brings fans along for that ride. 

Also, I'm really looking forward to Lillie Lainoff's One for All, "a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love." It comes out next year, and as Lainoff is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers, my guess is the representation is going to be pretty awesome.

So, at least I have some models for how to do this right. Feel free to suggest others in the comments.

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