Yesterday in the UK, was the start of Deaf Awareness Week – an official week dedicated to promoting d/Deaf Awareness. With 1 in 6 people being either d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing, it is really important to recognise the barriers that they may face everyday and help improve them by spreading awareness and acceptance. This week is important to me personally and I suppose I just want people to recognise that the only difference that stands between a Hearing and d/Deaf person is one’s hearing, and how they personally communicate. d/Deaf people don’t bite!
Anyway, I digress.
Over the last couple of years or so, I have been looking for books that feature d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing characters, and it’s not been easy. I’ve read a couple, and only one has truly stood out as being rather spectacular.
If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months, you’d probably know which book is right there at the top:
However, I have been looking even deeper and I think I have come across some others (mainly YA) that might just be surprising.
Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?
Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she’s a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….
(Although, I don’t personally feel compelled to read this one. I only added it because I know Colleen Hoover has a rather large fanbase across the book community, and I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it)
I’m always trying to figure out what’s really going on. Always having to fill in the gaps, but never getting all the details. It’s like trying to do a jigsaw when I don’t even know what the picture is, and I’m missing one of the vital middle pieces.
How do you know if your friends are talking about you behind your back or if a boy likes you? They could act innocent, but you’d know from the rumours. You’d hear the whispers. But what if you couldn’t hear those whispers anymore? What if everything you took for granted was gone? Being a teenager is hard enough.
But being a deaf teenager?
Shelly always adored her older brother, who seemed so much more confident and self-assured than she could ever hope to be.
But now that Ian attends the Hawthorne School for the Deaf, a residential school that gives him the opportunity to immerse himself in the Deaf community, Shelly feels abandoned and slighted in favor of Ian’s new friends. The two siblings have grown apart, with unspoken—and unsigned—resentment growing between them.
When Ian returns home with news that the state plans to close Hawthorne, Shelly isn’t sure she wants him back. The two siblings confront their feelings in an intense argument about signing, speaking, and communication. Doing so might bridge the gulf that separates them—or drive them further apart.
A thoughtful, revealing tale of family dynamics, Waiting for a Sign celebrates the beauty and power of Deaf culture, offering readers an opportunity for insight and understanding.
Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for his unknown father. Rose scrapbooks a famous silent actress. When Ben finds clues and Rose reads enticing news, the children independently run to New York for what they are missing. Ben’s story in words, Rose’s in pictures, come together in deafness.
These are just a select few but thanks to Goodreads and its lists, more are there to be explored:
Maybe you know some other books with d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing characters.
Or maybe you’ve found something you might be interested in reading.
Hopefully some of these books will help to create and spread awareness in a positive way. Books can teach us and make us realise what living with deafness is like, but it is us who have to take that extra step and implement what we know and what we can do to help break down those barriers. I don’t want to turn this into my own personal campaign for d/Deaf awareness but there is so much more the Hearing community can do to grant accessibility and be mindful of how the d/Deaf communicate.
Anyway, I’ll stop before I get too overboard.
Thanks for reading and have a good day!