Back in July, the #YANeedsMore hashtag turned my Twitter feed into a wish list of what librarians, readers, and book people wanted to see published for teens. I’ve been thinking about it, and I want to add my own. YA needs more congenital disabilities.
Let me put it another way. YA does not need any more stories about tragic accidents or illnesses that affect the protagonists’ ability to do what they love most. A few examples:
- A runner loses a leg in The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.
- A dancer loses a leg in A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatramen.
- An artist loses her drawing arm in Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham.
I like all of these books and recommend them often, but I want to tell future YA writers: this story has been told. Let’s tell a new story. Some people have had physical differences our whole lives. Perhaps that could be a story, and I can tell you from experience that story isn’t a tragic one.