I Am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren Mark Baldo is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read detailing successful people with disabilities or mental health issues. A collection of short biographies of a vast number of people throughout history who have done well in their lives but have also experienced great struggles.
These books are always incredibly important reads. Even more, they are inspiring in a big way. It can be easy to see people in the light of fame and not recognize the adversity they have faced. And in the case of this book, it is truly amazing to see how these people are portrayed. The fact of the matter is that success is diverse and should be celebrated as such.
Where, often, disabilities are thought of as things that hold us back, I Am Not a Label flips this narrative on its head to affirm the truth that we can do extraordinary things no matter what disability or mental health problem we may be dealing with. And thus this book takes us through 30 people, their successes, and the disabilities that they have experienced in their lives.
One thing that really got me while I was reading this book is that it blended both successful people from the past and successful people from the present. I remember being amazed and thrilled when I saw that Demi Lovato was included in the book. Usually, books like this always seem to portray people like Stephen Hawking who, while truly inspiring, are much older and therefore not very relatable. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato is someone I can genuinely feel connected with.
This book is marketed toward young readers, which I think is excellent. Though I would not say that teenagers are the only ones who would benefit from reading this, I will say that they are the ones who deserve to benefit the most. I would highly recommend reading this book and recommending it to others.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.