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15 inspiring kid's books with deaf characters, or by deaf authors

Updated: Apr 5

Next Tuesday 2nd April is International Children's Book Day and we're celebrating by highlighting some great kid's books with deaf characters and books by deaf authors and illustrators. These books are a great way to learn about deaf culture, sign language, and celebrate the diversity of our world.



1. Ada and the helpers

Author: Travis D. Peterson

"Ada is a dancing, deaf fox with cochlear implants who loves to help others. On her way to dance in a talent show one day, she meets three other creatures who are each facing a physical challenge or disability of their own. She decides to help each of her new friends to see past their challenges and discover their natural, God-given strengths. But can they help her in return? Ada's a bit nervous about the talent show! Will she be able to hear the music clearly?"

This book has BSL fingerspelling.


2. Astrid and the Astronaut

Author: Rie Neal

A young girl is determined to be the first astronaut with hearing aids in space!


Astrid can’t wait for the school year to start so she can put her Astronomically Grand Plan into action! She and her best friend, Hallie, are going to be in their first year of Shooting Stars, a club dedicated to all things space. Astrid’s big sister has told her all about it, and this year, there is a big, wonderful prize: a trip to a real-life space camp!


But Astrid’s Grand Plan isn’t off to a great start: it turns out Hallie is more interested in the art club, Petite Picassos! And Astrid isn’t sure that her goal of exploring space will happen the same way without her BFF by her side. Can Astrid figure out a way to complete her mission?

This book gives some Deaf Awareness tips.


3. Bessie Needs Hearing Aid

Author: Jenna Harmke

Did you child just get hearing aids? Is your child feeling self-conscience about their hearing loss? This is a children's book that will help children with hearing loss understand the process, and that they are not alone. The author wrote this book when she was a teenager about her own experience of getting hearing aids as a child, so it will resonate with children just learning of hearing issues, or coping with wearing hearing aids.

This is a story of Bessie the bunny, who was so excited to start school only to have the kids get frustrated when she was not hearing them properly. Bessie visits the audiologist and learns about hearing aids and how they can help with her hearing loss.


4. Can Bears Ski?

Author: Raymond Antrobus

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?"

The author draws on his own experience to show how isolating it can be for a deaf child in a hearing world.

The new paperback edition includes an illustrated BSL alphabet.

Watch Rose Ayling-Ellis signing the story:







5. Dachy's Deaf

Author: Jack Hughes

Dachy is a deaf dinosaur that wears a hearing aid. But sometimes, when his friends get too noisy, he likes to turn it off to get some peace and quiet. One day, when his hearing aid is off, Dachy falls asleep and ends up floating down the river towards a waterfall and a hungry crocodile. Can his friends rescue him in time?

Read and approved by The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS).


6. Elephant and the lost blanket

Author: Alex Naidoo

Elephant takes her special blue blanket with her everywhere. It’s her favourite thing in the whole world. So when it goes missing in the park one day, Elephant is desperate to find it. Elephant’s friends come to the rescue and help her search high and low, but all is not what it seems… In this story, Elephant is deaf and has hearing aids and her friend Tiger has cochlear implants.

This book includes a link to some supporting video content, which allows you and your child to bring the book to life by learning some key vocabulary in British Sign language.


7. Freddie and The Fairy

Author: Julia Donaldson & Karen George

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.

This is a lovely book that's shows how easy it is for communication mistakes to happen and ways to help communication.


8. Jake and Jasmine to the rescue

Author: Karen Harlow

When Jake (deaf and cochlear implant user) returns to his superhero school after the summer he finds out that Tilly, the school’s tortoise, has gone missing.

Jake teams up with Jasmine, a new girl in his class, and together they go on a quest to find the school’s much loved pet and show that anyone can be a superhero!

The book includes deaf awareness tips and advice on reading with a deaf child provided by the National Literacy Trust.


9. Jack Signs!

Author: Karen Hardwicke

Based on a true story, Jack Signs! is the heart-warming story of a little boy who is deaf, his typically hearing sister and their Mum. When his Mum discovers a book of sign language, their family life is transformed and Jack blossoms with his new-found communication skills.





10. Jazz and Pop's Adventure

Author: Tarnelia Matthews

Pop, a hearing support dog, is always there for Jazz, who is deaf! This clever hearing dog helps him every day, alerting Jazz to things he won't be able to hear and providing any support he may need. But one day Pop runs off and Jazz can't find her anywhere, how will he find her again?

The illustrations by Lucy Rodgers (Deaf illustrator) include sign language.




11. Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

Author: Shannon Stocker

This is a story of music.

Of obstacles.

Of strength and hard work.

Of all you can accomplish when you dream.

This book is about Evelyn Glennie a Deaf Percussionist

and the perfect book to inspire children to never give up on their dreams.




12. Lizzie and Lucky

Author: Megan Rix

There are four Lizzie and Lucky books about Lizzie's adventures with animals. Lizzie is deaf and her family use sign language.

The author Megan is partially deaf.









13. Nobody's Perfect

Author: Marlee Matlin (Deaf Actress).

Megan (deaf) has spent forever planning her positively purple birthday sleepover. She's even made glittery purple invitations for every girl in her class. Then a new girl, Alexis Powell, joins their class. Alexis seems perfect: She's smart, pretty, and rules the soccer games on the playground. But no matter how hard Megan tries to be a friend to Alexis, the new girl is aloof or rude. At first Megan thinks Alexis is shy. Then Megan starts to fear that Alexis is treating her differently because she's deaf. When the girls are forced to collaborate on a science fair project, Megan learns the truth -- and realizes that nobody's perfect.

This book is great for teens and explores friendship.


14. Proud to be Deaf

Authors: Ava Beese (deaf 7yrs old), Lilli Beese (BSL interpreter )& Nick Beese (Deaf and was deaf football captain)

Ava is like any other 7-year-old. She likes to talk and laugh with her friends, is obsessed with dogs and loves being active. Ava is also deaf - and she's proud of it. She loves her deaf community, that she's bilingual, and that she experiences the world differently from hearing people.

She talks about her experiences at school making friends with hearing children, and teaches readers the BSL alphabet and some BSL phrases.



15. The night the moon went out

Author: Samantha Baines

Aneira is a hearing-aid wearer and she is super scared of the dark. When the moon suddenly goes out one night, Aneira is on a mission to turn it back on! With the help of her owl friend, she sets off on a journey to fix the moon and overcome her fear.

Both the author Samantha Baines and the illustrator Lucy Rogers are deaf.







✨✨BONUS✨✨


Song for a Whale

Author: Lynne Kelly

This award-winning story follows a deaf girl named Iris, who forms a deep connection with a whale that cannot communicate with its species.


Iris, a tech genius often misunderstood due to her deafness, empathises with the whale, Blue 55, and decides to create a way to "sing" to him despite the distance.


Lynne Kelly's heartwarming tale emphasises determination and the power of empathy to make a difference.



The Quest for the Cockle Implant

Author: Maya Wasserman (profoundly deaf 9 years old)

When deaf mermaid Angel loses one of her cockle implants, she and her sister go on an exciting adventure through the sea to find it. Using sign language to communicate, their adventure brings them face-to-face with a monstrous Merkitty. Will they get past the squid, sharks and strangling seaweed? Will they get Angel’s cockle implant back? And will they get home in time for tea?

Maya's story won a NDCS competition and was made into this book. The Illustrator Lucy Rodgers is Deaf.

The story includes British Sign Language (BSL) and deaf awareness tips. A full BSL translation of the story is available via the Signed Stories app.


El Deafo

Author: Cece Bell

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.


Jill’s First Day of School: Based on a True Story of a Ten-Year-Old Deaf Girl

Author: Annie Wessler, Tony Wessler

Jill’s First Day of School tells a true story based on the life of a ten-year-old girl, born deaf, who is trying to fit into a hearing world that she will find full of challenges. Her courage and persistence, with the help of her mother and a special school called Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), give the ten-year-old the ability to succeed.


Overcoming anxiety (and a doubting new classmate) are all part of her experience. All is well when Jill returns home from school and gets a great surprise!

Jill’s success can be a model for every child facing their own worries in developing friendships and keeping a positive attitude.



Little Signers Club

Explore Little Signers Club, where stories and British Sign Language meet!


Out of My Window has a deaf character. The rest are animal based but include Cath Smith's gorgeous graphics and are dual language.


Watch out for The Leaves on the Trees, due for release on 2nd Sept too!



And for the not-so-young we highly recommend exploring our curated list of must-read books featuring Deaf perspectives: www.deafumbrella.com/post/deaf-books-for-world-book-day


Wishing you a wonderful day filled with great stories and enriching experiences! Enjoy the reading!



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