Ohio Deaf History Month

To observe the beginning of Ohio Deaf History Month today, here are six picture books and middle-grade books that are centered on deaf or hard-of-hearing characters.

Picture Books:

Dad and Me in the Morning

Dad and Me in the Morning

Written by Patricia Lakin and illustrated by Robert G. Stelle

As a young boy and his father get ready to watch the sunrise, readers are reminded that speech is not always needed to communicate love.

Reading Age: 3-5 years


Hands & Hearts: With 15 Words in American Sign Language by [Donna Jo Napoli, Amy Bates]

Hands and Hearts

Written by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Amy Bates

This sweet story about a day spent at the beach focuses on the love between a mother and daughter. While they build sandcastles, swim, and dance in the sand, readers will learn fifteen words using American Sign Language as the mother and daughter enjoy their day together.

Reading Age: 5-7 years


Julia's Words

Julia’s Words

Written by Judith L. Roth and illustrated by Brooke Rothshank

When Christina meets Julia, she discovers there is more than one way to communicate and that friendship is deeper than sound. Accompanied by signs to use while reading the story, this book is a good way to introduce young readers to sign language.

Reading Age: 4-5 years


Middle Grade:

El Deafo

El Deafo

When Cece learns she can hear her teacher anywhere she goes with her Phonic Ear, she realizes that she is on her way to becoming a superhero.

Reading Age: 8-12 years


Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

Written by Shari Green

Both sixth grade and Macy McMillan’s life are coming to an end, or that’s how it feels when Macy’s mom decides to sell their house and get remarried. To make matters worse for Macy, her mom is making her help their neighbor, who doesn’t know sign language, pack for her own move to an assisted living facility. But Iris has stories to tell and both she and Macy are persistent. Through notes and books and cookies, Macy and Iris forge their own language together as their friendship grows. 

Reading Age: 8-12 years


Song for a Whale

Song for a Whale

Written by Lynne Kelly

As the only deaf person in her school, Iris knows what it is liked to be ignored by others. Which is why when she learns about Blue 55, a whale who is unable to speak to other whales, she decides to invent a way to “sing” to him.

Reading Age: 8-12 years


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