Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Conversation with Keah Brown

Disability Book Series

Disability Book Series: A Conversation with Keah Brown ...
image from Evenbrite

I attended my first virtual author discussion! As a RSP teacher (special ed), I always try to find ways to educate myself to be a better teacher. I love to read about people with disabilities that have succeeded (big or small) or have broken the norm in some way. So I looked forward to this discussion. 

About the Disability Book Series:
This wonderful series, organized by the Senior and Disability Action group, highlights authors and writers with disabilities. They educate and bring awareness to societal conceptions of disability as well as fight for individual rights and social justice.  The series aims to be inclusive and accessible to all people. 

Speaking of accessibility, this virtual discussion had two ASL interpreters and a closed captioning monitor. It was a little funky at first because the moderators were trying to find ways to broadcast both the author and an interpreter at the same time. Due to new tweaks on Zoom, they had to modify their presentation. I laughed at this because it reminded me so much of teaching with technology. When something does not go as plan, teachers can quickly accommodate to make things work. 

Keah Brown began by reading an essay from her book. It was a dystopian type story where the character tried to cure her disability with oils but came to love herself instead. Keah then mentioned how as a person with a disability, random people try to give her remedies on how to get "better." She also shared that she tries to be polite to these recommendations and finds it funny how people get offended when she kindly declines said recommendations. For example, a lady told her to do yoga to improve her cerebral palsy. Per Keah's response, yoga is not for her. 

The discussion then moved forward with a Q&A from the audience. The questions were turned in in advance and Keah gave very thoughtful responses. Though I enjoyed listening to the answers to questions such as, what laws should be included to help people with disabilities? or which authors inspired Keah? I would have loved it if there was more discussion on Keah's book, The Pretty One

Instead, I had to research the book to find out more. Here's the synopsis:

In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

After reading the description and reading the reviews on it, I decided to get my hands on it. 

Overall, this was a pretty decent discussion. It made me aware of a series that highlights authors/writers with disabilities and introduced me to a new book. I will be looking out for other events in this series. 


  1. Replies
    1. I work with students in Resource so all have a diagnosis of a learning disability in at least one subject area, in addition to ADHD, ASD, etc. And before that I taught seven years in the Behavior Skills Program where the kiddos might have been LD on top of the ADHD, ODD, PTSD, and so much more. Sometimes it is even harder for those with 'invisible' disabilities because people don't expect it, and then the behavior comes out - especially in those really hard kiddos. (Not diminishing physically observable differently-abled at all, I hope it does not come across that way.) Accessibility is so important for so many and this is a really great step forward.

    2. Hey, we work in the same field!
      My students have a wide range of needs: ASD, SLD, ADHD under OHI, and ED. It's never a dull moment. :)

      I completely understand the "invisible" factor in some disabilities. I work hard trying to make some teachers understand that certain behaviors are due to students' disabilities and not because the students "don't care." So I find this book discussion series to be significant because people need to be given the opportunity to share their voices and make others aware about these struggles.

  2. This sounds like a neat 1st virtual author event to attend! I'm glad you shared your experience attending this event.

    1. It was and thank you so much for recommending to check out Eventbrite. I think I've signed up to more events than I can handle. lol

    2. Your welcome!! I've been signing up for many online virtual author events too, lol!! What else can you do during current times with COVID-19 spiking???