I love reading books about Deaf characters. The number of books that somehow incorporate hearing loss are surprising. It is somehow both more than I expected and less than I expected. I am amazed by the Deaf characters in the sidelines of not-as-popular novels by classic authors: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Lew Wallace, Brian Selznick… (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t a traditional classic author, but he’s certainly a contemporary classic in our classrooms!)
I am always amazed that my students have often never read books containing Deaf characters. If they have, it’s usually children’s books about how it’s okay to be different or trying to encourage our DHH kiddos to wear their hearing aids. I don’t consider these genuine novels, because the whole focus of the story is meant to discuss hearing loss. The books I love are the ones where there just happens to be a Deaf individual appearing, or featured in the story. The author doesn’t make a big deal out of teaching the reader to accept their own hearing loss or that of their classmates. The point isn’t to preach but to entertain.
Do you use books with Deaf characters with your students? I always strive to include these genuine examples of Deaf characters in my literature curriculum. I believe all readers are seeking images of themselves within the pages of what they read. Our students deserve characters that can provide this self-connection.
Here are some of my favorite links to lists of books featuring Deaf characters:
This is certainly not all inclusive. I hope to begin my own list through this blog and would like to feature reviews of some of these books. Are there any you would like to know more about? Please comment with requests for reviews or for titles that meet any criteria you may have in looking for a book. Thanks!