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Minds & Bodies

‘Stella Young’s letter to herself at 80 years old’

Stella Young


She is Not Invisible

Marcus Sedgwick

young adult

Saving Francesca

Melina Marchetta

mental health
young adult

Before You Forget

Julia Lawrinson

young adult

Accidents of Nature

Harriet McBryde Johnson

cerebral palsy
wheelchair user
young adult

Everything Beautiful

Simmone Howell

wheelchair user
young adult

‘You Get Proud By Practicing’

Laura Hershey


Are You Seeing Me

Darren Groth

young adult

Maggot Moon

Sally Gardner

young adult

The Diet Starts on Monday

Tamar Chnorhokian

Armenian Australian
body image
young adult

M is for Autism

The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin

young adult

Defying Doomsday

Tsana Dolichva & Holly Kench

short stories

The social model of disability argues that disability is not a personal problem but a social issue of entrenched systematic discrimination and exclusion of people with non-normative bodies and minds. – Jax Jacki Brown

Celebrate diverse bodies and brains with texts that explore what it means to live with disability or mental illness. These works challenge and comfort, refuting the commonplace assumptions that can alienate those with non-normative minds or bodies and reminding readers that they are not alone.

Most of these texts are ‘Own Voices’, meaning they are authored by people who have experienced disability and whose personal experience informs their work or whose central protagonist/s share their identity. Tags relate to the characters in the story.


  • The Butterfly Foundation
    Representing all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image
  • Disability in Kidlit
    Discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature
  • Disability Visibility Project
    Creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture
  • Headspace
    Mental health services for 12-25 year-olds
  • I Can Network
    Empowering people on the autism spectrum
  • Lifeline
    24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service
  • ReachOut
    Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents
  • Sins Invalid
    An unashamed claim to beauty in the face of invisibility
  • Write-ability
    Supporting writers with disability
  • Youth Beyond Blue
    Information, resources and support for young people dealing with depression and/or anxiety
  • Yellow Ladybugs
    Dedicated to the happiness, success and celebration of autistic girls and women.

Thinking Points

  • What sorts of bodies or minds are presented in these texts?
  • How do they differ from what is considered ‘normal’?
  • Are they presented in a positive or negative way?
  • How does the experience of an individual living with disability or mental illness differ from the expectations held by those around them?
  • How are things made more difficult for them? Is this their fault?
  • Are the characters in the story presented as ‘heroic’ for overcoming the difficulties of their body or mind? Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing?
  • How do others respond to the characters’ differences? Are multiple characters who share similar experiences of disability or mental illness ever treated differently because of their gender?
  • How do these texts normalise different bodies and minds rather than stigmatising them?
  • How does the language used in these texts shape the way we view difference? When language is used that is insulting or demeaning, what is the context? What impact does this have on the character or on you, the reader?
Contact Stella

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C-The State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000


ARBN: 657 317 283

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A voice for gender equality and cultural change in Australian literature