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20+ Brilliant Books Featuring Unforgettable Deaf or Hard of Hearing Characters

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!

Fans of funny fiction with heart will also adore Ross Montgomery’s Max and the Millions, while football enthusiasts will love Pete Kalu’s gripping, thought-provoking The Silent Striker.

Read on for the full collection – there are books here to satisfy all ages and tastes.

El Deafo

El Deafo

5+ readers 7+ readers

Author: Cece Bell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2014

El Deafo is a funny, deeply honest graphic novel memoir for middle graders. It chronicles the author's hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with a powerful and very awkward hearing aid called the Phonic Ear. It gives her the ability to hear--sometimes things she shouldn't--but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her, Phonic Ear and all. Finally, she is able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become El Deafo, Listener for All. And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she's longed for.

ebook of the month
Genesis

Genesis

9+ readers 11+ readers

Author: Helen Dennis Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/01/2016

What if a teenage boy washed up on the banks of the River Thames, soaked to the skin and unable to explain who he is? What if the only clue to the boy's identity is a sketch he made of a strange symbol? Who would help him? Who would hunt him? Who is River Boy? Unable to communicate, the River Boy is given paper and a pencil and begins to scribble. Soon a symbol emerges, but the boy has no idea why he has drawn it even thought it's the only clue to the mystery of his identity... As the boy begins to build a new life under a new name, the hunt for his real identity begins. A hunt which will lead him on a dangerous QUEST that he has only one year to complete ...

ebook of the month

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