Celebrating Deaf Awareness With Children’s and YA Literature

Posted on September 5, 2023

by Emily G

There are over 300,000 deaf or hard-of-hearing children in the United States (National Association of the Deaf). September is Deaf Awareness Month. What better way to celebrate than to curl up with one of these fantastic books featuring memorable deaf and hard-of-hearing characters?

Hands and Hearts: With 15 Words in American Sign Language

By Donna Jo Napoli

Print   |   hoopla

A mother and daughter head to the beach to enjoy a variety of fun-filled activities. While enjoying their day at the beach, they communicate in American Sign Language. Throughout the story, beautiful illustrations are accompanied by sidebars providing instructions on how to sign relevant words in ASL. A perfect book to practice signing with a loved one!

Can Bears Ski?

By Raymond Antrobus

Print   |   Wonderbook  |  hoopla

A bright, playful picture book about Little Bear. While Little Bear can feel vibrations in the floor, he has trouble hearing his family, friends, and teacher. So, Little Bear visits an audiologist with Papa Bear, where he is then fitted for hearing aids. While visiting a doctor’s office can be scary for little ones, this book takes the fear out of a visit to the audiologist.

Ninita’s Big World: The True Story of a Deaf Pygmy Marmoset

By Sarah Glenn Marsh

Print   |   hoopla

The true story of YouTube star Ninita, a deaf pygmy marmoset. This is a story of family, friendship and belonging as Ninita explores her habitat and finds a forever friend in Mr. Big, another pygmy marmoset. Watch Ninita on YouTube after reading this unforgettable tale.

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, A Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

By Shannon Stocker

Print   |   eBook  |  eAudiobook

The empowering life story of a deaf musician named Evelyn Glennie and how she grew up to become the first full-time solo percussionist in the world. This is an important story for anyone who’s ever been told a dream is out of reach.

Mighty Mila

by Katie Petruzziello

A funny and empowering picture book about a young girl named Mia who wears cochlear implants. Mia’s desire to be treated like a big kid spurs her creativity and willpower, as she works to overcome a variety of challenges.  This book also includes educational activities to help youngsters develop vocabulary and listening skills.

Emma Every Day: Party Problems

by C.L. Reid

Print  |  hoopla

The first book in a delightful early chapter book series about a fun, spirited young girl named Emma who is deaf. She wears cochlear implants and uses American Sign Language. Each book in this series includes an ASL fingerspelling chart and ASL fingerspelling within the text, so children can sign along with the story.

Show Me a Sign

By Ann Clare LeZotte

Print   |   eBook  |  eAudiobook  |  hoopla eBook  |  hoopla eAudiobook

Become immersed in the true history of a deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century.  Deaf author Ann Clare LeZotte unfolds a compelling tale of ableism and racism through the eyes of a young deaf girl named Mary Lambert.

Set Me Free

By Ann Clare LeZotte

Print   |   hoopla

A powerful companion to LeZotte’s earlier novel Show Me a Sign. Three years later, Mary Lambert leaves Martha’s Vineyard for Boston to help teach a young deaf girl how to communicate. Stay tuned for the third and final installment of this powerful middle grade novel, Sail Me Away Home, due to be released in November.

Signs of Survival: A Memoir of the Holocaust

By Renee Hartman with Joshua M. Green

A gripping Holocaust memoir that tells the story of sisters Renee and Herta living as Jews in Czechoslovakia. When their parents are taken away, Renee and Herta must run and hide. Herta is deaf and Renee is hearing, so the sisters communicate in sign language as they desperately fight for survival.

Song for a Whale

By Lynne Kelly

Print   |   eBook eAudiobook

Interpreter Lynne Kelly creates a memorable character in a 12-year-old deaf girl and tech genius named Iris. When Iris learns of a whale who can’t communicate with other whales, she feels an immediate kinship and becomes determined to do something for this kindred spirit.

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P!

By Alex Gino

Print   |   eBook hoopla eBook hoopla eAudiobook

In this middle grade novel, social justice issues are at the forefront. Jilly’s sister Emma is born deaf, and Jilly’s cousins are black. Suddenly, Jilly is very much aware of her privilege as a white, hearing individual and of the prejudice her family members encounter every day. By befriending Derek, a Deaf and Black ASL user, Jilly starts to learn and grow.

El Deafo

By Cece Bell

Print   |   eBook  |  hoopla

A graphic novel that depicts the story of a hard-of-hearing student named Cece and her hearing aid, also known as The Phonic Ear. When Cece realizes the untapped power of her hearing aid, she embraces this superpower. Maybe this new superpower will help her find what she wants most: a super friend!

Hello, Universe

By Erin Entrada Kelly

Print   |   Wonderbook  |  eBook  |  eAudiobook  |  hoopla eBook  |  hoopla eAudiobook

Four kids form an unlikely friendship when they must confront a bully, and rescue a boy and his pet guinea pig.  This novel embraces differences, as the story is told from four different points of view, including the perspective of Valencia, a deaf girl who loves nature.

Give Me a Sign

By Anna Sortino

The perfect YA summer romance that takes place at a summer camp for the deaf and blind. Hard-of-hearing camp counselor Lilah plans to practice her ASL, but she doesn’t plan on falling for a hunky Deaf counselor named Isaac.

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