Friday, March 29, 2013

Deaf History Month

Deaf History Month started on March 13 and goes until April 15. In honor of deaf history, here's a list of books about or featuring deaf people.


Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Everyone's taken aback when Piper starts managing the band Dumb. Even if Piper weren't hearing impaired (which she is. Severely.) she's not the type of student one associates with managing a cool high school band. But, when she discovers that her parents have just spent her college fund to get cochlear implants for her baby sister, well, maybe this band thing will be a way to make some money.

Strong Deaf by Lynn McElfresh. Jade is the only hearing person in her family. Her parents are committed advocates for deaf culture and rights and when her older sister, Marla, is home from her residential school, there is definite friction. Told in both Jade's and Marla's voices, we see how both girls feel out-of-place and resent the other. American Sign Language has its own syntax and grammar that's different from spoken English. Marla signs, so her voice uses ASL grammar.

Read My Lips by Teri Brown. When Serena moves to a new town, she's desperate to fit in. The popular girls promise her entry into their group, but only because they know she can read lips-- and can use this talent to find out everyone's gossip.


Invincible Summer by Hannah Moscowitz. Noah comes from a large family, but one that also has serious issues. Told over the course of four summers, we see Noah's family's issues, especially his relationship with his brother Chase, and the beach-neighbor girl they're both sleeping with. Noah's youngest brother, Gideon is deaf.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert. Ok, so you should probably just read The Story Of My Life by Helen Keller, but if you're looking for a different angle on Keller's life, check out this graphic novel. Incorporating Annie Sullivan's letters, Lambert shines fresh light on Sullivan and Keller's relationship and story. The art changes styles to reflect the different perspectives.

First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low by Ginger Wadsworth. Juliette Gordon Low is remembered for starting the Girl Scouts, but holy cow, what a life she lead. She was a force to be reckoned with-- more than enough money and unattached (widowed, bad marriage) and a drive to have a space where girls could be people-- something society tended not to allow them to be. Low was partially deaf, after a grain of rice entered her ear canal at her wedding.


The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk. Due to his size and deafness, Will is an outsider at his new school, an especially hard adjustment since his old school was just for the hearing impaired. When a football player is murdered, Will's outsider status may give him the edge he needs to figure out who did it.

T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte. The Nazis wished to exterminate more than the Jews. Doctors were ordered to euthanize anyone who they deemed disabled. Told in verse, Paula is a deaf teen who's trying to always stay one step ahead of the Gestapo, trying to survive.

Of Sound Mind by Jean Ferris. Theo's family depend on him for almost everything. As the only hearing member of the family, he's often called on to translate and buffer. He's also the only one who notices the silence on their house, as conversations are in sign, not spoken words. Then Theo meets a girl he wants to spend all his time with, but that's when his family needs him more than ever.

Which books with deaf characters would you add to the list? Leave me a comment to let me know!

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