News: The Disability Experience seeks to demystify disabilities for unfamiliar readers

News: The Disability Experience seeks to demystify disabilities for unfamiliar readers

A teen nonfiction guide to the lived experiences of people with disabilities is out now from Orca Book Publishers.

Written by debut author Hannalora Leavitt, The Disability Experience: Working Towards Belonging is the latest title in the Orca Issues series, which offers in-depth examinations of subjects that are often difficult to talk about, such as abortion rights, feminism, assisted dying and mental health. They are written by authors who have a personal involvement and commitment to the subject they are writing about.

Aimed at readers who are not familiar with the world of disabilities, The Disability Experience demonstrates how people with disabilities have the same aspirations for their lives as anyone else. The difference is that people with disabilities don’t have the same access to education, employment, housing, transportation and healthcare in order to achieve their goals.

LISTEN: Hannalora Leavitt discusses The Disability Experience on CBC All Points West

Leavitt is a Victoria-based writer who lost most of her vision by the age of 12 due to cancer and spent two years at a residential school for the blind, where she lived and learned alongside her blind peers. She works to demystify disability through her writing and public speaking, with her loyal guide dog, Ogden, at her side. She is available for interviews.

In The Disability Experience, Leavitt introduces readers to people with different kinds of disabilities, and examines the ways people with disabilities have been ignored, reviled and marginalized throughout history. The book also celebrates the triumphs and achievements of people with disabilities and shares the powerful stories of those who have fought for change.

Other books in the Orca Issues include My Body My Choice, the winner of the BC and Yukon Book Prize Society’s 2020 Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize; I Am a FeministChoosing to Live, Choosing to Die; and Heads Up.

Praise for The Disability Experience:

“A candid introduction to the multifaceted experiences of people with disabilities.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Leavitt has created more than just an informative introduction to disability—this book is a compelling disability experience that ensnares readers in the lives of real people with real disabilities living their lives just like anyone else. Amidst the real-life accounts and definitions, the author emphasizes the social model, the idea that society’s lack of understanding and accommodations is the disabling factor. This is a comprehensive, eye-opening disability primer.”—Kara Dorris, PhD, visiting assistant professor of English at Illinois College

“An engaging, conversational writing style…The Disability Experience does an excellent job of explaining the disability experience and should be required reading for all teens (and adults, too). Highly Recommended.”—CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“The book would be useful for reports, but its strength is a narrative voice that asks readers to contemplate another point of view…A strong…introduction to disabilities.”—School Library Journal

About Orca Book Publishers (

Founded in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher of award-winning, best-selling books in a number of genres. With 1200 active titles in print and digital formats and 95 new titles each year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors and bringing them to a wider market.

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