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ArtsAccess

Books About Arts & Disabilities

Arts Access has compiled this list of books and DVDs related to disabilities and the arts. By ordering via any of the links on this page, you support the work of the American Council of the Blind.

Books for Adults

Cover Image for the book Strength

Strength : Broadsides from Disability on the Arts, by Paddy Masefield

This remarkable book is the first to focus on disability arts.  Drawn from over 50 of the author's speeches, it eschews the historical charity based, patrician assumptions about disabled people and the barriers and prejudices that have kept them invisible in education, the arts and every day life.  Instead, it offers readers the excitement and diversity of disability arts and the artistic expression of formerly excluded sectors of society, such as people with learning disabilities and survivors of the mental health system.  It is concerned not with their medical impairments but with the insight and originality of their art works that are beginning to fill a space on the canvas of arts history that has too long been blank.

Cover Image for the book Bodies in Commotion
Bodies in Commotion:  Disabilities and Performance, by Carrie Sandahl, Philip Auslander .

Bodies in Commotion is the first book to explore the lively intersection of performance studies and disability studies, provoking new ways of looking at body, space, spectatorship, and identity.  In this groundbreaking collection, leading critics, artists, and activists take on topics that range from theater and dance to multimedia performance art, agit-prop, American Sign Language theater, and wheelchair sports.  The multiple perspectives illustrate how disabled bodies are "bodies in commotion" -- bodies that dance across artistic and discursive boundaries, challenging our understanding of both disability and performance. Bodies in Commotion exposes for the first time the mutually interpretive qualities of these two emerging fields, making this a unique, dynamic new resource for artists, activists, and scholars.

Books for Children

Cover image for the book Moses Goes to a Concert Moses Goes to a Concert, by Isaac Millman.  (Five-Star customer rating!)

"Works so well that you wonder why there aren't lots more books like it . . . Deaf children will welcome this joyful story that talks, without condescension, about the fun they have.  Hearing kids, too, will want to learn some of the sign language, and with the help of an adult, they can practice the hand alphabet shown at the back of the book." — Starred, Booklist

Cover image for the book Moses Goes to SchoolMoses Goes to School, by Isaac Millman.

"As in Moses Goes to a Concert (1998), this joyful picture book tells a story in written English and also in American Sign Language (ASL). This time the focus is directly on how deaf children learn at their special public school--in the classroom, on the playground, and on the school bus. The warm line-and-watercolor illustrations show the diversity of Moses' city classroom, the fun the children have together, and the special way they learn." — Booklist

Books for Parents & Teachers

Cover image for the book Making MusicMaking Music with Young Children with Special Needs: A Guide Book for Parents, by Elaine Streeter and Prue Bramwell-Davis.

In this new edition of her well-established book, Elaine Streeter helps parents and carers to learn not only how they can add to a child's fun, but also how they can engage a child in interactive communication at a level the child can make sense of - one of the most rewarding things anyone can do.

Cover image for the book Making Sense of ArtMaking Sense of Art: Sensory-Based Art Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, by Sandra R. Davalos.

Based on the belief that every child has a right to participate in a variety of art experiences appropriate to the child's needs and interests, this resource guide offers visual art activities developed specifically for children with autism, Asperger Syndrome and other pervasive developmental disorders who are served in a variety of settings.