Books with deaf or hard-of-hearing characters are a great way to expose children to diversity through literature. Here's a list of 7 of our favorite children's books which show the world of Deaf culture and what it means to have a Deaf identity.
A Place for Grace is about a small dog named Grace, who finds out she's too small to become a seeing-eye dog. Grace then meets Charlie, who is deaf. After seeing Grace save a boy from getting hit by a car, Charlie believes Grace would make a great hearing dog for people who are deaf. So Charlie decides to help Grace become his own hearing dog.
River of Hands contains four stories written by young Deaf authors and Deaf illustrators through a project by the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf. The four stories "A Fishy Story", "ZZZZZZ", "BUT" and "Unlucky Charm" introduce Deaf characters in a fun way. The book includes instructions on some American Sign Language (ASL) signs, quirky illustrations, and information about Deaf culture.
Shay and Ivy: Beyond the Kingdom is written by Sheena McFeely, the creator of ASL Nook. The book is based off McFeely's daughters Shaylee and Ivy. The story follows the characters Shay and Ivy as they dream about being princesses at an imaginary ball. But Shay starts to think about possibilities outside of their imaginary kingdom. Shay and Ivy begin imagining themselves as fearless pilots, scientists, and astronauts. The book includes illustrations of the characters signing to each other, and sends a lovely message about the importance of being yourself.
This book tells the story of a dinosaur named Dina, who is deaf. Dina decides to run away from home because her parents won't let her learn sign language. After running away Dina, befriends an Owl named Otto, a Mole named Moliere, and a Chipmunk named Camilla. Dina the Deaf Dinosaur draws on feelings that the author, Carole Addabbo, experienced as a child. Addabbo has been deaf since birth and is a sign language teacher.
A Birthday for Ben, written by Kate Gaynor and illustrated by Karen Quirke, introduces deafness to young readers. Ben is turning 7 and doesn't want to have a birthday party, but when his friends surprise him, he realises how easy it can be for everyone to join in. The story shows difficulties that a child who is deaf may face and how it is important to include everyone in games and activities.
This story follows a mother and daughter as they spend a day at the beach. The mother and daughter swim, dance, build sandcastles and communicate through American Sign Language. The book teaches the reader how to learn 15 ASL signs and includes instructional sidebars on how to learn the sign. The book is also beautifully illustrated, and shows the special bond between a mother and child.
Dad and Me in the Morning is a story about a young boy and his father that wake early one morning to watch the sunrise on the beach. The young boy wakes up to his flashing visual alarm clock, puts on his hearing aids and goes to wake his father. The two communicate through signing, lipreading and squeezing each other's hands. The book has beautiful watercolour illustrations and a great little story about the relationship between a father and son.