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Biographies

'Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist' by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner, DB 100399 Summary: Disability rights activist recounts her lifelong battle to achieve acceptance and inclusion after being paralyzed from polio as a child. She describes the difficulties she faced seeking education and work, as well as her many efforts to seek protections that helped lead to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

'A Bookshop in Berlin: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman's Harrowing Escape From the Nazis' by Francoise Frenkel, DB 98975 Summary: The memoir of a Jewish woman from Poland who opened a French bookshop in Berlin in the 1920s. She describes the rise of Nazi ideology in Berlin, the terror of Kristallnacht, and her own subsequent flight to Paris and then across southern France. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

'Broken Place & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected' by Nnedi Okorafor, DB 96603 Summary: The author recounts how a simple operation took her from track star to paralyzed. Confined in a hospital bed for months, she began to imagine fantastical things and turn those experiences into writing. Also discusses her childhood and other authors who have used hardship to fuel their work. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

'The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race' by Walter Isaacson, DB 102772 Summary: Author of Leonardo da Vinci (DB 89588) and Steve Jobs (DB 73682) profiles the life and work of biochemist Jennifer Doudna, a co-recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on developing CRISPR technology which allows for editing of genes. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2021.

'Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the Twenty-First Century' edited by Alice Wong Summary: A collection of first-person writings on the joys and challenges of life in the twenty-first century with a disability. Includes pieces from activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and others to glimpse the complexity of the disabled experience in America. Some strong language. 2020.

'Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope' by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly; with Jeffrey Zaslow, BR 19455, DB 74049, Spanish, DBC11243 Summary: Arizona congresswoman Giffords and her husband, astronaut Kelly, describe their lives before and after the near-fatal shooting of Giffords in January 2011. They discuss their anguish over the other victims, Kelly's support during Giffords' recovery, and Giffords' determination to return to work. Some violence and some strong language. Bestseller. 2011.

'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot, DB 70661 Summary: Science journalist chronicles the life of African American Henrietta Lacks, who in 1951 had cervical tissue removed and grown in culture--without her permission--producing the first continuously replicating human-cell samples for research. Discusses subsequent medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and AIDS treatment. Explores bioethical concerns involving tissue ownership. Bestseller. 2010.

'Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster' by Stephen L. Carter, DB 93258 Summary: An account of the life and career of the author's grandmother, a black female prosecutor in the early twentieth century. Recounts her pivotal role in the conviction of Mafia boss Lucky Luciano. Discusses the difficulties she faced due to prejudice and personal tragedy. Some violence and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

'No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality' by Michael J. Fox, DB 101333 Summary: Memoir of the actor and author of Lucky Man (DB 54265) who has lived with Parkinson's Disease for thirty years. He shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

'The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr.' by Peniel E. Joseph, DB 99933 Summary: In this dual biography of iconic African American leaders Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., the author discusses the contrasts in their ideals--self-defense vs. nonviolence and black power vs. civil rights. He examines how these differences translated to the larger social movement. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Biographies for Younger Readers

'Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer' by Traci Sorell, DB 104066 Summary: An award-winning author profiles Mary Golda Ross, the first female engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, who designed classified and nonclassified projects. Ross's passion for math and Cherokee values shaped her life and work. For grades K-3. 2021.

'I Am Not a Label' by Cerrie Burnell , BR 23493, DB 101823 Summary: A collection of short biographies highlighting the achievements of artists, thinkers, scientists, athletes, and activists with disabilities. For example, when astronomer Wanda Díaz-Merced lost her sight, she developed a technique to listen to the sounds of starlight. For grades 3-6 and older readers. 2020.

'The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh' by Candace Fleming, DB 98982 Summary: Portrait of Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), one of America's most complex and celebrated heroes. As the first human to cross the Atlantic via airplane, Lindbergh's accomplishments were also plagued with tragedy and flaws. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.

'Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch' by Heidi Tyline King, DB 104058 Summary: A biography of MaVynee Betsch, an African American opera singer turned environmentalist, who tirelessly worked to preserve American Beach, Florida, as a historical landmark. For grades K-3. 2021.

'Sharice's Big Voice: a Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman' by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays ; illustrations by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley Summary: An autobiography introduces US Representative Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress and the first lesbian congressperson to represent Kansas. Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, shares her love of talking, listening, and martial arts. For grades K-3. 2021.