DejaView News

Drama-infused streaming news

Books About Disabilities Disney Plus Should Adapt

Here are 5 books with excellent disability representation that Disney+ should adapt.

The following is a guest editorial by Ethan Holloway.

Back in 2021, I wrote an article for Dejaview News about Disney’s published books that Disney+ should adapt, so now I am back to write about some books that follow characters with disabilities that Disney needs to adapt like, yesterday.

My Three Best Friends And Me, Zulay

by Cari Best

This book follows Zulay and her three best friends who are in the same second-grade class and study the same things despite Zulay being blind. When their teacher asks her students what they want to do for Field Day, Zulay requests to run a race and with the help and support of a special aide and her friends she does just that. The reason this book would be a great story to adapt for Disney+ is the inspirational aspect and the fact blindness isn’t shown too often in films or TV series.

Adapting My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay would be a great way for Disney+ to increase the amount of content on the platform starring disabled actors and telling stories about disabled characters.

The Chance To Fly

by Ali Stroker and Stacey Davidowitz

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon is obsessed with musicals, so when Nat moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon the casting for a kid’s production of Wicked. After getting into the cast Nat realises all the other cast members are really supportive, besides the main male lead Malik who Nat happens to see as cute. But when an issue arises the week before opening night, Nat must cast her fears and insecurities aside and “defy gravity” as the song goes.

Adapting this book would be a no brainer for Disney, this would be a musical aimed at young teens and tweens but with a twist, the main character would be disabled. This would be inspirational to any child with a disability who wants to go into show business but fear that their disabilities would hold them back.

Sleepovers

by Jacqueline Wilson

The official description of this book is:

“You’re invited to the ultimate sleepover! Amy, Bella, Chloe, Daisy and Emily are best friends at school, they even have their own Alphabet Club (just look at their initials!). Daisy is the newest member, she’s desperate to fit in, even though Chloe is VERY unfriendly to her at times. And, when the girls start planning sleepovers for their birthdays, Daisy starts dreading her own. She doesn’t know what her friends will make of her older sister.”

What this description fails to mention is during Daisy’s sleepover her friends meet her older sister Lily who has special needs. Amy, Bella and Emily all become friends with Lily, but Chloe begins to mock Lily for her condition. However, Chloe gets hit with karma after her constant mocking of Lily.

The reason this book needs to be adapted by Disney can be boiled down to the fact it literally screams “Disney Movie” and it would teach kids with disabilities like autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy to name a few that despite you being different you can still fit in and be friends with the non-disabled.

Thank You, Mr Falker

by Patricia Polacco

This book would be another story primed for a Disney+ Original Film. The book follows the real-life struggles of the author as a child growing up with dyslexia and how she overcomes her reading disability with the help of her teacher Mr Falker. If Disney grabbed the rights to this book and adapted it then it would be a great addition to Disney+’s catalogue of original films and would be great for children with dyslexia to see themselves on screen so they can learn to overcome their disabilities.

Moses Goes To School

by Isaac Millman

Now we get to the final book I wanted to mention. Moses Goes To School, a book about a boy called Moses who attends a special school for the deaf and hard of hearing. This book screams for an adaption especially due to the recent success of Apple TV+’s CODA. All an adaption would need is to cast deaf and hard of hearing actors play the roles in this adaption, whether it be a series or a movie would come down to if Disney wanted to adapt it.


Why It Matters

Disney+ has failed audiences when it comes to disabilities represented in their content and it’s time Disney+ did something amazing and adapted some stories for their disabled audience. Disney+ may be adapting the novels Song For A Whale and Out Of My Mind, as well as a series based on the Marvel character Echo, but I don’t trust Disney to cast actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities after they cast neurotypical actors to play the neurodivergent characters in the Percy Jackson series.

All the books I picked for this list scream “Disney Movie” and are family-friendly stories that show the struggles of the deaf, the blind, wheelchair users, and the mentally disabled. If Disney doesn’t even consider adapting a single book on this list I will be greatly disappointed and consider getting my entertainment from another streamer who actually casts disabled actors to play characters with those disabilities. Finally, to any Disney+ executives who may read this, I have one final request: you have a “Pride” collection and a “Celebrate Black Stories” collection, but where is your “Celebrate Disabled Stories” collection?

Freelance Writer | Website | + posts

An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.

%d bloggers like this: