Skip to main content

Read UK Parliament's new children's book celebrating Disability History Month

18 November 2020

An illustration of Baroness Jane Campbell on a purple background

To celebrate Disability History Month, UK Parliament has created a free downloadable book showcasing the lives of influential disability activists throughout history. 

Six influential stories

An ideal tool for parents and teachers, the book tells the stories of six people who fought for disability rights in the UK. These include Dame Anne Begg, one of the first wheelchair users in the House of Commons, and Ben Purse, whose activism led to the first law in the world to support the working rights of people with a disability.

Others depicted are the artist and diversity champion Deborah Williams, disabled suffragette Rosa May Billinghurst, Lord Alf Morris and Baroness Jane Campbell. The book also includes tips and tricks to make children's games more inclusive.

The artist behind the book's beautiful illustrations is Ananya Rao-Middleton, who spoke about her experience “as an illustrator and chronic illness activist". Ms Rao-Middleton said that the book had "enabled me to delve into the exciting, varied and powerful lives of UK figures who have stood out in making a difference in the lives of disabled people."

Working with the Shaw Trust

UK Parliament worked alongside the Shaw Trust to produce the pack and some of the stories also feature people who are part of the Shaw Trust Power 100 list. Chris Luck, CEO and Clare Gray, Organisational Lead for Disability Advocacy from the Shaw Trust said:

"Shaw Trust has welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the creation of this educational resource. [...] All young people benefit from having role models to inspire and to develop their future leadership potential to influence changes for the benefit of everyone"

Commons Speaker Hoyle: "a brilliant way for young people to learn"

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was "pleased" that Parliament was marking Disability History Month 2020. He also noted the ongoing work to make Parliament "a more inclusive and accessible space for those with disabilities", adding:

"These innovative resources are a brilliant way for young people to learn about and celebrate the valuable contributions of people who have impacted disability rights and laws in the UK." 

Lord Speaker Fowler: "an inspiration"

The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler said that celebrating Disability History Month at Parliament "helps us remember how far we’ve come and how far we’ve still got to go" with gaining equal rights for disabled people. He continued:

"I’m proud that Baroness (Jane) Campbell of Surbiton, who serves in the House of Lords today, is featured in this brilliant new pack. I hope these stories will be an inspiration to young people who want to fight for change."