Representation matters, and for young people who are deaf or hard of hearing, discovering characters you identify with, and reading storylines you can relate to, is a powerful force for good, which is why we’ve curated this collection of brilliant books featuring unforgettable characters who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Covering everything from picture books, to illustrated first readers, to ground-breaking novels for teenagers, these books are sure to ignite empathy in hearing readers alongside presenting vital representation.
Written by an acclaimed deaf poet, Raymond Antrobus’ Can Bears Ski? picture book tells of a little bear’s experience of not hearing what his family, friends and teacher are saying, before he’s fitted out with hearing aids, and able to enjoy listening to his dad’s bedtime story. Lively, lyrical and supportive, Can Bears Ski? includes an illustrated British Sign Language alphabet.
Julia Donaldson’s What the Jackdaw Saw is a joyous, entertaining story that sees a host of vibrant animals use sign language. With an inclusive message about the importance of effective communication, this also includes some British Sign Language so all readers can learn to sign key words from the book.
Megan Rix’s Lizzie and Lucky series fearing adorable Lizzie and her hearing dog are wonderful to read together with 5+ year-olds, and excellent for newly-independent readers. With a strong sense of mystery and adventure, the way Lizzie and her hearing friend communicate through signing and lip-reading is a joy. The author’s Echo Come Home is also a delight for animal lovers as Echo the stray is trained as a hearing dog.
One of our recent favourites (a Love Reading Debut of the Month, no less), Samantha Baines’ Harriet Versus the Galaxy is a humorous, heart-warming intergalactic adventure featuring a hearing aid-wearing heroine and tonnes of actual aliens, addressing the issue of feeling alienated in an engaging, inventive way. What’s more, Harriet is an exhilarating bundle of awesome!
Read on for the full collection – there are books here to satisfy all ages and tastes.