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a photo of Alice Wong's book Year of the Tiger

Vintage Press, book design by Debbie Glasserman

Alice Wong was born with muscular dystrophy, which hampered her ability to walk by the time she was 7 or 8 years old. As a first-grader, she had to make her way slowly down the hall, lagging behind her classmates. One day, her teacher took Alice’s hand. Side by side, they led the class through the school. “Walking together, in tandem — adult-child, nondisabled-disabled, teacher-student — we set the pace for the entire class,” Wong writes in “Year of the Tiger.” “I have not felt that seen, safe, or cared for by a teacher since.”

Much of Wong’s education was filled with “enraging, traumatic, discriminatory, bullying, and embarrassing experiences,” but this teacher made young Alice feel as if she were brimming with potential.

While some of those enraging experiences are among the topics Wong explores, that’s only part of the story in “Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life.” Wong, who now uses a wheelchair and breathes with the assistance of a ventilator, was born more than a decade before the...