- Kids Nonfiction
- Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution
Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution
Judy Heumann was only 5 years old when she was first denied her right to attend school. Paralyzed from polio and raised by her Holocaust-surviving parents in New York City, Judy had a drive for equality that was instilled early in life.
In this young readers’ edition of her acclaimed memoir, Being Heumann, Judy shares her journey of battling for equal access in an unequal world—from fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” because of her wheelchair, to suing the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her disability. Judy went on to lead 150 disabled people in the longest sit-in protest in US history at the San Francisco Federal Building. Cut off from the outside world, the group slept on office floors, faced down bomb threats, and risked their lives to win the world’s attention and the first civil rights legislation for disabled people.
Judy’s bravery, persistence, and signature rebellious streak will speak to every person fighting to belong and fighting for social justice.
This reminded me very much of Karen, by Marie Killilea, which I loved when I was in middle school. It occurred to me when reading Rolling Warrior that reading Karen definitely formed how I think about people with disabilities. Karen struggled with some areas, but excelled in others, and her disability did not stop her from working towards her goals. Representation matters, and Heumann's is a great story that covers a period of time in my own life about which I was unaware. I knew that equal access legislation was put in place very late (1990), but hadn't realized how discriminatory education practices were until then.