FAQ

 

I wrote/represent/publish a MG/YA book featuring a disabled character. Will you review it?
If the book is published by a major publisher–in our case defined as having significant bookstore presence–and the disabled character is prominent, then yes, we’d love to try to review it! We’re practically always open to review copies, whether the book is new or not. Please e-mail us with details about the book (role of disabled character, nature of the disability, etc.) and the format(s) available. We’ll do our best to find a reviewer for the book. It may take a while, however. Rest assured, we won’t ask for the review copy until we have confirmed a reviewer.

 

I strongly disagree with a review you posted! Can I submit a review of my own?
Absolutely! Reviews are always subjective, and disabled people are not a monolith. Our goal with Disability in Kidlit is not to give a verdict on books and stick to that forever and ever, but simply to show what people within the community think. If those people disagree, it just means there’s an interesting conversation to be had. So, yes, we’d be delighted to consider reviews of books that have already been reviewed. Our only request is that the new review differs significantly from the existing one(s)–if you only have a few minor comments, they’re probably better suited for the comment section.

 

I’m not disabled, but my partner/child/friend is disabled/I’ve thoroughly studied disability-related topics. Can I contribute?
Sorry, but we make no exceptions. As much as we appreciate your interest in disability and willingness to contribute, discussions of disability are often dominated by abled people. It’s important to us that we not contribute to that trend. The comments section is open to everyone, however. And if your partner/child/friend would like to contribute, we’re all ears.

 

Is there a different way I can help?
Yes! There are several ways, and we’re so glad you asked.

  • If you work for a publisher, we’d love to be in touch with you about review copies of books featuring disabled characters.
  • Sharing our posts via social media helps a lot! That’s how we find new readers and contributors.
  • If you know of an forthcoming book featuring major disabled character that’s not already listed in our Goodreads account, give us a heads-up!
  • We also hugely appreciate corrections to our Goodreads list–for example if a book is shelved incorrectly. Sometimes, we also ask questions about a book in the review section.
  • If one of our reviews, articles, or discussions is useful to you, please take the time to comment and/or share it on social media. All of our contributors work for free, and we love when our readers to show their appreciation.

 

I’m an author writing a disabled character, and I want to make sure I get it right. Could you put me in touch with a beta reader?
We love that you’re so dedicated to respectful representation! We have, in the past, attempted to set up authors/publishers and disabled beta readers, but being the middle man puts us in an awkward situation for several reasons. That said, we do always encourage authors to seek disabled beta readers, and we recognize that we’re one of the first places authors will look to find these beta readers. We’re still debating how we can best be of assistance.

 

I’m an author writing a disabled character, and I want to make sure I get it right. Could I run a situation by you?
Again: thank you for caring! We may attempt to offer our thoughts on a particular situation if you share it with us on our Tumblr–we prefer to do this publicly so that others may benefit. However, we’re hesitant to give our “stamp of approval” on anything we haven’t read, and it’s usually hard to convey the full situation/nuance in such a limited space. In other words: feel free to ask, but we make no guarantees.

 

What about asking for resources?
We can certainly try. Please contact our Tumblr. That way, others may benefit or pitch in with further information.

 

I’m a librarian/teacher. I would love specific book recommendations, or your thoughts on a certain title.
We’re always happy to hear from educators! In addition to helping authors with their portrayals of disabled characters, we hope to be a resource for anyone working with teenagers. It’s so important for both disabled and abled teenagers to have access to books featuring respectful, accurate portrayals of disability. Via our reviews and articles, we hope to give you the tools and insights necessary to judge these portrayals yourself.

However, we’re still delighted to help out. Please send an ask to our Tumblr.

 

What do you think of the disability portrayal in this one book? Why haven’t you reviewed it yet?
There’s a good chance we haven’t read it, but talk to us on Twitter or Tumblr and we’ll see! Most likely, the reason we haven’t reviewed it is because it either doesn’t match our criteria or we haven’t found a suitable reviewer yet. Trust me, we want to feature as many suitable books as possible!

 

Why haven’t you featured X disability?
This answer feels like a cop-out, but: we work with what we have. We welcome every disability, and we’re always excited to feature people whose disabilities we haven’t discussed yet, but it’s not always that straightforward. The following factors play a part:

  • As we make no money and can’t pay our contributors, we’re 100% dependent on the enthusiasm and goodwill of our contributors.
  • Due to our contributor policies, if we can’t find a contributor with a certain disability, that disability isn’t discussed.
  • We absolutely make an effort to reach out to people with underrepresented disabilities, but many people don’t respond or are unable to contribute, which leaves us with few options.
  • Due to sheer variety in disabilities and our limited time–all editors have day jobs and work on this website in our spare time without compensation–we’re unfortunately limited in how proactive we can be in seeking out new contributors.
  • Certain disabilities (for example: mental illnesses, autism, blindness) are depicted in children’s literature far more often than others (for example: fibromyalgia, scoliosis, cystic fibrosis), which means we have more books to review and more problematic tropes to discuss.

We don’t like this situation, either, and if we made any money off this website, finding and paying contributors with underrepresented disabilities would be high on our list of priorities. In the meantime, however, please believe us when we say that it’s purely because of circumstances, and not because we don’t care or are actively exclusionary.

 

You featured Z on your website, but Z is not a disability.
Disability is a complex thing. We try to be inclusive, rather than exclusive. Even if you don’t consider chronic conditions, neurological differences, or mental illnesses to be disabilities–the editors do, for the record–there are many commonalities in how they’re depicted in popular media and treated in real life, which makes them relevant to our website. If you only want to see content relating to a certain disability, that’s your prerogative. Use the tags or search functions to your heart’s desire. However, we don’t take kindly to people disparaging our contributors.

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