Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution

Beacon. Jun. 2021. 215p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9780807003596.
Gr 6-9–Heumann was paralyzed after contracting polio as a baby in 1949. Many disabled children were institutionalized at the time, but by age six, she was getting around by herself in a wheelchair. This was tricky not because she wasn’t capable but because there were stairs everywhere, there were no wheelchair ramps, and motorized wheelchairs weren’t available yet. On the first day of kindergarten, Heumann went home early after the principal told her parents that she was a “fire hazard.” She graduated from college with aspirations of teaching but was denied a job after doctors unfairly determined she was medically unfit to teach. Compelled to make a change, Heumann turned to activism. In 1977, she organized a sit-in of a San Francisco federal building that set the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. She seamlessly weaves together her personal journey and the harrowing adventure of her decades-long fight for disability rights as a white disabled woman, while offering clear, accessible explanations of the legislative process.
VERDICT Adapted for young readers, this captivating story shines a light on the critical fight for disability rights and will empower aspiring activists to find their own voices.

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