Summer Staff Picks: Titles Available in Accessible Formats

By NYPL Staff
June 9, 2022

Discover oceans of possibility at The New York Public Library this summer with free events and programs for all ages, book giveaways, our all-new Make Waves program for kids and teens, reading recommendations, and much more! Learn more.

Our expert librarians have curated a wide array of fun, thought-provoking, and inspiring books for all ages to read this summer! Check out the books below from our recommendations for adults, kids, and teens, that are available in accessible formats. We are committed to serving all patrons all year round. If you find it hard to read standard print, the Andrew Heiskell Library provides free access to talking books, talking book players, braille, a talking book download website, and a free talking book and e-braille app for mobile devices. Learn more and apply.

DB = available on BARD in talkingbook format and as a mailable talking book, available via the link or by mail (call us at 212-206-5400 to order a physical copy).

BR = available on BARD in braille format and as mailable physical braille, available via the link or by mail (call us at 212-206-5400 to order a physical copy).

BK = available through Bookshare via the link. All Heiskell members can gain access to Bookshare for free.

Books for Adults

El arte de engañar al karma por Elísabet Benavent: BK
Catalina, actriz frustrada, nos hace reír y llorar con sus intentos por engañar el karma. Pero, ¿lo logrará?

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan: DB, BK
In this Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir, Finnegan describes his experiences as a lifelong surfer, from his early years in Honolulu through his culturally sophisticated pursuits of perfect waves in some of the world's most exotic locales.

Crude: A Memoir by Pablo Fajardo & ​​Sophie Tardy-Joubert: BK
Drawing and color by Damien Roudeau | This book illustrates the struggles of a group of indigenous Ecuadoreans as they try to sue the ChevronTexaco company for damage their oil fields did to the Amazon and her people.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan: DB, BK
Egan traces the scientific, historical, and ecological factors endangering the Great Lakes, discussing late 19th-century efforts to connect the lakes to the Atlantic, which unexpectedly introduced invasive species from the natural world.

The Descendants: A Novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings: BK
A descendant of royalty and one of the largest landowners in Hawaii, Matthew King struggles to deal with his out-of-control daughters—10-year-old Scottie and 17-year-old Alex—and his comatose wife, whom they are about to remove from life support.

Dos copas y una noche por Ana Álvarez: BK
La apasionante historia de amor entre Cristian y Lorena, quienes se encuentran por primera vez en el bar de un hotel bajo identidades falsas.

The Dragonfly Sea: A Novel by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: BK
On the small island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives a girl named Ayaana. Solitary and stubborn, Ayaana and her mother, Munira, are outcasts from the insular local society—and her kitten is her main companion.

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: DB, BR, BK
A collection of essays taking aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women.

The Island of Sea Women: A Novel by Lisa See: DB, BK
Female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual by Yvon Chouinard: DB, BK
Chouinard—climber, businessman, environmentalist—shares tales of courage and persistence from his experience of founding and leading Patagonia, Inc.

Life on the Rocks: Building a Future for Coral Reefs by Juli Berwald: BK
Coral reefs are a microcosm of our planet: wondrously diverse, deeply interconnected, and critically imperiled.

Lunes sin carne: Consejos y recetas para cuidar de tu alimentación y del planeta por Raquel Bernácer: BK
Recetas y recomendaciones para preparar comidas saludables incluyendo más vegetales y consumiendo menos alimentos de origen animal.

No hay vuelta atrás: El poder de las mujeres para cambiar el mundo por Melinda Gates: DB, BK
La exitosa filántropa y mujer de negocios comparte sus experiencias y lecciones de vida para ayudar a empoderar a las mujeres de todo el mundo.

The Octopus Museum: Poems by Brenda Shaughnessy: DB, BK
This collection of bold and scathingly beautiful feminist poems imagines what comes after our current age of environmental destruction, racism, sexism, and divisive politics.

Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes: BK
A protest at the Standing Rock reservation against construction of an oil pipeline becomes the century's largest Indigenous protest movement.

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina: DB, BK
Too big to police, and with no clear international authority over them, the oceans have become the setting for rampant criminality—from human trafficking and slavery to environmental crimes and piracy.

Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg: DB, BK
Klinenberg explores how democratic societies rely not only on shared values but also on shared "social infrastructure."

Saint X: A Novel by Alexis Schaitkin: DB
A haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.

Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward: DB, BR, BK
Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson: DB, BR, BK
This classic work remains as fresh today as when it first appeared in 1951. Carson's writing teems with stunning, memorable images.

Sea Change: Poems by Jorie Graham: BK
A collection that considers the point at which civilization becomes unsustainable in the face of disparities between beauty, damage, and the lack of guarantees for the future.

The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare: BK
Navigating between human and natural history and between science and myth, The Sea Inside chronicles Hoare's journey through the oceans to rediscover the sea and its islands, birds, and beasts, and to seek encounters with animals and people.

Sea of Strangers: Poetry & Prose by Lang Leav: BK
Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.

Shark Dialogues: A Novel by Kiana Davenport: BK
An epic saga of seven generations of one family encompasses the tumultuous history of Hawaii as a Hawaiian woman gathers her four granddaughters together in an erotic tale of villains and dreamers, queens and revolutionaries, lepers and healers.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel by Kawai Strong Washburn: DB, BK
A groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into an engrossing family saga—a story of exile and the pursuit of salvation.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery: DB, BR, BK
Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald: DB, BK
A former ocean biologist investigates jellyfish and what their physiologies can teach us about engineering and environmental stability.

Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn: BK
Ike Tucker, desperately searching for his sister Ellen, who has disappeared, finds himself attracted to the same tough trio of surfers who appear to be responsible for his sister's disappearance.

Las tres preguntas por Jorge Bucay: BK
Explora tres significativas preguntas para ayudarnos a descubrir el misterio de nuestra existencia.

Under the Wave at Waimea: A Novel by Paul Theroux: BK
An atmospheric novel following a big-wave surfer as he confronts aging, privilege, mortality, and whose lives we choose to remember.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells: DB, BK
Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action.

The Water Dancer: A Novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates: DB, BR, BK
Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn't understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away.

The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell: DB, BK
An acclaimed journalist uses fact, science and on-the-ground reporting to provide an account of the coming new age of great flooding due to rapidly rising sea levels.

The Wave: In Pursuit of Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey: DB, BK
Casey traces the recent discovery of physics-defying ocean waves at heights previously thought impossible, describing the efforts of scientists to understand the phenomenon, the pursuits of extreme surfers to ride these waves, and the destructive capabilities of tsunamis.

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen: DB, BK
Owen presents an account of where America's water comes from and where it goes, examining the complicated human-made ecosystem of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, fracking sites, and farms that contribute to water shortages in the West.

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller: DB, BK
David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, obsessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. Full title: Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui: DB, BR, BK
Tsui looks at our love affair with the water, from evolution to mythology, from survival and well-being, from community swim clubs to competitive races, and she goes around the world to explore its significance in many cultures.

Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers: A Novel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka: BR, BK
Lovey Nariyoshi, a young girl growing up in Hilo, Hawaii, faces a world that's divided between East and West.

Books for Kids

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins : DB, BK
Provides a top-to-bottom look at the ocean, from birds and waves to thermal vents and ooze.

Jabari salta por Gaia Cornwall: DB, BK
Traducción de Georgina Lázaro | Jabari terminó sus clases de natación con el apoyo de su papá. ¿Estará listo para superar su miedo y saltar del trampolín?

Lety alza su voz por Angela Cervantes: BK
El refugio de animales donde Lety es voluntaria ofrece un concurso de escritura. Ella está decida a participar y ganar a pesar de que el inglés no es su idioma materno.

Me dicen Güero: Poemas de un chavo de la frontera por David Bowles: DB, BK
Un chico mexicano y americano supera las dificultades de la escuela del séptimo grado a través de la poesía.

The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey & Jerome Pumphrey: BK
Off a small island, an old boat sets sail and a young boy finds home. Together, boy and boat ride the shifting tides, catching wants and wishes until fate calls for a sea change.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee: BK
Two shy children meet at a noisy pool and dive beneath the crowd into a magical undersea land, where they explore a fantastical landscape and meet various creatures.

Rosa Pionera y las remachadoras rechinantes por Andrea Beaty: BK
Ilustrado por David Roberts | Rosa tiene una idea para crear un gran invento y hacer volar a la tía que vino de visita.

Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch by Heidi Tyline King: DB, BR
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes | Biography of MaVynee Betsch, an African American opera singer turned environmentalist who worked to preserve American Beach, Florida, as a landmark.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating: DB
Illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns | Chronicles the life and career of Eugenie Clark, an ichthyologist who overcame many obstacles to study and dispel myths about sharks.

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown: BK
Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri | The story of Julio C. Tello, considered to be the founder of modern Peruvian archaeology and the most distinguished Indigenous social scientist of the 20th century.

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson: DB, BR
Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith | Stymied by her unfinished family tree assignment for school, a young girl seeks Grandma's counsel and learns about her ancestors, the consequences of slavery, and the history of Black resistance in the United States.

Sobreviví los ataques de tiburones de 1916 por Lauren Tarshis: BK
Ilustrado por Scott Dawson | Chet creía haber encontrado el lugar perfecto en Nueva Jersey para nadar durante el verano, hasta que se encuentra con un gran tiburón blanco.

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki: BR
A young girl describes where she finds colors in both the world around her and beyond what she can see.

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul: DB, BK
Illustrated by Jason Chin | A spare, poetic picture book exploring the different phases of the water cycle in surprising and engaging ways.

The Water Princess by Susan Verde: DB, BK
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds | The story of one young girl's quest to bring clean drinking water to her African village.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom: DB, BR, BK
Illustrated by Michaela Goade | When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource.

Books for Teens

Casi alcanzar todo por Matt Mendez: BK
Juan, JD y Fabi, tres jóvenes amigos, narran su historia y comparten sus sueños.

Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults): 17 First-Person Stories for Today, edited by Alice Wong: BK
According to the last census, one in five people in the U.S. lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture.

Las fuentes del silencio por Ruth Sepetys: DB, BK
Las vidas de Daniel, hijo de un magnate petrolero tejano y Ana, una joven proveniente de una familia afectada por la guerra civil en Madrid, España, se entrecruzan en una inolvidable historia de amor.

Furia: A Novel by Yamile Saied Méndez: DB, BR, BK
Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star in Rosario, Argentina, dreams of playing professionally, in defiance of her father's wishes and at the risk of her budding romance with Diego.

Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone: DB, BK
A companion to the powerful documentary about educating girls around the world draws on new research to illuminate the dramatic facts behind the film, exploring challenges ranging from child marriage and slavery to sex trafficking, gender discrimination, and poverty.

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal: DB, BR
A history of the fight for reproductive rights in the United States. Tracing the path to the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade and the continuing battle for women's rights.

Juliet respira profundo por Gabby Rivera: DB, BK
Juliet, una lesbiana puertorriqueña en El Bronx, consigue un trabajo con su escritora feminista favorita, pero luego descubre que hay diferencias entre ellas.

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne: DB, BK
For African American women, the fight for the right to vote was only one battle. An eye-opening book that tells the important, overlooked story of Black women as a force in the suffrage movement—when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle.

Make a Zine!: Start Your Own Underground Publishing Revolution (4th Edition), edited by Joe Biel and Bill Brent: BK
The fourth edition of Make a Zine! hits on more advanced topics like Creative Commons licenses, legality, and sustainability. Illustrated by an army of notable and soon-to-be-notable artists and cartoonists, Make a Zine! also takes a look at the burgeoning indie comix scene.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam: DB, BK
From award-winning bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon: DB, BR
In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense. 

Voces sin fronteras / Our Stories Our Truth: True Comics from the Latin American Youth Center by the Latino Youth Leadership Council of LAYC: DB, BK
Sixteen young people from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, D.C., tell their stories of immigration and transformation in the form of comics.

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert: DB
The first year they are eligible to vote, Marva and Duke meet at their polling place and, over the course of one crazy day, fall in love.

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People by Elizabeth Rusch: DB, BK
Rusch examines some of the more problematic aspects of our government but, more importantly, offers ways for young people to fix them.

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen: BK
After a terrorist attack rocks the country and anti-Islamic sentiment stirs, three Black Muslim girls create a space where they can shatter assumptions and share truths.