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Hearing Loss and Deafness

childrens books about hearing loss

Hearing Loss and Deafness Booklist

Our hearing loss booklist is designed for anyone seeking to promote diversity and inclusion in their personal or school settings, including parents, teachers, and those looking for personal development.

This varied booklist of picturebooks, chapter books and graphic novels includes relatable stories for children with hearing loss, as well as books that help all children to understand what it is like for deaf and hearing impaired people to navigate a world that isn’t always designed with them in mind.

From the inspiring real-life story of deaf musician Evelyn Glennie to the moving story of sudden hearing impairment in Stewart Foster’s chapter book Can You Feel the Noise?, there’s something for all primary ages on this booklist.

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Picturebooks about hearing loss and deafness

Cassie Silva
 & Frances Ives

The loss of hearing strikes such a sad note, but although sadness is eloquently conveyed in both words and pictures, this beautifully inclusive story – of a child, Jacki, and her Mama – resounds with hope.  It is a celebration of a relationship not defined by disability, but by love.  So Jacki learns to listen to the quiet which is slowly enveloping her Mama. She begins to be more alert to rhythm and mood and smell.  Indeed, mother and daughter become atuned to each other in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

The story shows that deafness does not have to isolate.  It can deepen wonder, inspire mutual respect and be life-enhancing.  (The Author’s Note gives context and encourages readers to learn sign language.)

The clear font and large, expressive illustrations mean that teachers can easily share this with a whole class, either to celebrate diversity or when teaching about acceptance.  Not all children will have encountered hearing impairment, but all will benefit from this new perspective, as well as provided much needed representation for those who live with hearing impairment in the day to day realities.

Highly recommended for the school library and classroom book corners.

Yin Jianling
 & Yu Rong
Based on the true story of Chinese dancer Lihua Tai, The Visible Sounds tells the uplifting tale of a young child dealing with the frustration and solitude of hearing loss. Alone in silence, the child’s life is changed forever when a chance touch unlocks a vibrant new world, now blazing with rainbows of visible sounds.The Visible Sounds brings a message of hope and joy to children living with a disability and is an inspirational reminder that dreams can become reality.
Shannon Stocker
 & Devon Holzwarth

An inspiring picture book true story of the inspiring life of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Evelyn began to experience hearing loss at ten years old. She loved music, and did not want to give up on her passion because of her deafness. Trying different instruments helped, and she switched to percussion, where the vibrations could help her to feel the music with her body. Over time, Evelyn became an award-winning percussionist and opened doors to making music education more accessible for others.

The beautiful and evocative artwork captures the optimistic tone of the story and highlights the idea of ‘feeling’ the music.

Raymond Antrobus
 & Polly Dunbar
Boy Bear cannot hear Dad Bear coming to wake him up in the morning but he can feel the floor vibrate with his heavy footsteps . He can only grasp little bits of what his teacher says to him at school. He cannot catch what his friends are laughing at. And, all the time, Boy Bear keeps hearing the question, "Can Bears ski?" What does it mean? With the support of Dad Bear, Boy Bear visits an audiologist and, eventually, he gets hearing aids. Suddenly, he understands the question everyone has been asking him: "CAN YOU HEAR ME?" Raymond Antrobus, the award-winning poet of The Perseverance , draws on his own experience to show how isolating it can be for a deaf child in a hearing world. But through his lyrical and moving words, matched with Polly's stunning imagery, he also shows how many ways there are to communicate love. With a solid network, Boy Bear will find his place in the world.
Julia Donaldson
 & Karen George
Written by Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo , and illustrated by Karen George, Freddie and the Fairy is a delightfully witty, rhyming tale. Freddie wants nothing more than a pet, so when the fairy Bessie-Belle offers to grant his wishes, he knows just what to ask for. But Bessie-Belle can't hear very well and Freddie tends to mumble, which means the wishes aren't turning out as planned! Whatever can they do? Luckily the Fairy Queen is on hand to help.

Shorter chapter books and graphic novels about hearing impairment

Megan Rix
 & Tim Budgen
Chapter book
Meet Lizzie and Lucky: a sparky young detective and her loyal Dalmatian sidekick! The first title in a brand new illustrated series from beloved animal author Megan Rix. Lizzie is desperate for a dog. In order to convince her parents to get one, she has to come up with 101 reasons why she needs one. Lizzie is a master at making lists, so thinking of 101 reasons is going to be easy! Especially as she is deaf and could train one to be her hearing dog. But as Lizzie begins compiling her list, she witnesses an adorable puppy being snatched away and put into a van by a mysterious-looking man. Can Lizzie solve the case - and maybe find herself a loyal friend at the same time...?
Karen Owen
Chapter book

Callie and Bo are best friends. Together they have set up SPUD – the Super Perceptive Undercover Detectives. With the help of Callie’s pet Mynah bird, Bo, this is the second case the girls are hoping to solve. Bo’s special talent is that he can talk, communicating with Callie through her “slugs” (hearing aids) and the three are a great team.

On a school trip to the Tower of London, Bo stows away in Callie’s rucksack and the adventure begins. Two people are acting suspiciously and SPUD are on a mission to solve the case of the theft of precious gold coins from one of the exhibits. Bo’s ability to communicate with both his human friends and the ravens who guard the Tower allow them to get right into the investigation. As the story unfolds, the investigation takes them all over the museum as they chase their suspects. They even get to work with real detectives!

The author, Karen Owen, has been partially deaf since childhood and uses this series to bring relatable characters that children with hearing loss can identify with. In the character of Callie, this is very much a superpower rather than a disability.The black and white illustrations by Louise Forshaw are a great addition to the story.

This is a fun, easy read and a good introduction to the detective genre for readers aged 6+.

Joyce Dunbar
 & John Shelley
Chapter book
A powerful and personal story from Joyce Dunbar about what it's like to experience hearing difficulties. Dylan can't hear as well as he used to be able to and he doesn't want to be different from his friends - he wants things to go back to the way they used to be. As his hearing gets worse he becomes more and more isolated from his friends. Luckily his dog Pluto is there to keep him down to earth... This heartwarming story from Joyce Dunbar has beautiful black-and-white illustrations by John Shelley and is perfect for children who are developing as readers.
Cece Bell
Graphic Novel

We adore this moving graphic novel memoir about deafness by Cece Bell.

Cece Bell retells her memories of being a young child, when she experienced hearing loss after being ill with meningitis. In this graphic novel retelling of her life, characters are redrawn as charming anthropomorphic bunnies – although, after a few pages, you forget that they are not just people. Despite the challenges of her condition, Cece approaches life with positivity and bounce.  A throwaway comment by another child called her ‘El Deafo’ sparks the creation of a fun alter-ego, empowering her to think like a superhero would about her hearing aid (which she sees as cool gadgets that give her extra powers). Other themes covered in the story include friendship, moving class and celebrating differences.

Readers will whizz through this thought-provoking and unique graphic novel.  There’s also an author note that gives a little more background about Cece Bell’s life.

Longer chapter books about hearing impairment

Lynne Kelly
Chapter book
A stirring and heart-warming tale of a young deaf girl who is determined to make a difference, the perfect read for fans of Wonder.Iris was born deaf, but she's never let that define her; after all, it's the only life she's ever known. And until recently she wasn't even very lonely, because her grandparents are both deaf, too. But Grandpa has just died and Grandma's not the same without him. The only place Iris really feels at home anymore is in her electronics workshop where she loves taking apart antique radios.Then, during a science lesson about sound waves, Iris finds out about a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. The lonely whale awakens something in Iris. She's determined to show him that someone in the world knows he's there.Iris works on a foolproof plan to help the whale but she soon realises that that is not enough: Iris wants to find the whale herself. One stolen credit card, two cruise ship tickets, and the adventure of a lifetime later, Iris and the whale each break through isolation to help one another be truly heard in ways that neither had ever expected.Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, young children category, for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.
Ross Montgomery
Chapter book
An action-packed adventure, imaginatively written with echoes of The Borrowers and Gulliver's Travels. Ten-year-old Max is singled out for being deaf by a despicable Headmaster who is evil enough to rival the Trunchbull. In order to solve a mystery at his boarding school, Max forms a friendship with another boy - overcoming their challenges and dispelling some assumptions about deafness along the way. The gaggle of five-year-old girls brings humour and slapstick to this heart-warming story. An excellent discussion opener for themes of bullying, friendships, difference and equality: "They were from two different species and they had never spoken the same language, but they were friends. And sometimes that's all you need to achieve the impossible."
Samantha Baines
 & Jessica Flores
Chapter book
A hilarious and heartfelt debut from multi-award winning, hearing aid wearing, comedian, actor and author Samantha Baines. The intergalactic adventure starts at home with Harriet, who discovers that her hearing-aid can do more than she ever bargained for when she finds an alien in her room. Discovering that her family secretly work for an intergalactic agency, Harriet becomes the Earth's first line of defence as the only one who can understand the invaders. Sure, her hearing aid helps her understand aliens from across the universe, if only she could understand her own feelings.
Stewart Foster
Chapter book
A profound story about inner strength and perseverance in the face of a life-changing event, from the award-winning author of The Bubble Boy . Perfect for fans of R. J. Palacio's Wonder and Lisa Thompson's The Goldfish Boy. Life is going well for Sophie. She's getting by at school, has some pretty awesome friends, and their band have made it through to the semifinals of the Battle of the Bands competition. But when Sophie wakes up completely deaf one morning, the life she once knew seems like a distant memory. With lessons replaced by endless hospital appointments, and conversations now an exercise in lip-reading, Sophie grows quieter and quieter. Until she discovers the vibrations of sound through an old set of drums and wonders whether life onstage is actually still within reach. Drawing on the author's own hearing impairment, Can You Feel the Noise? is a deeply personal and moving story that will stay with you long after reading.

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