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Books about deafness or with deaf characters

This month we're recognizing National Deaf History Month with books related to Deaf history, culture, and characters, and the Deaf experience.

“My father spoke with his hands. He was deaf. His voice was in his hands. And his hands contained his memories.” — Myron Uhlberg, Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

National Deaf History Month occurs from March 13 through April 15th and is intended to bring awareness about Deaf history and Deaf culture. This bibliography focuses on books that either feature deaf/Deaf characters, discuss prominent events within Deaf history, and/or are written by authors who are deaf/Deaf.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Vicki Vogt

Registration Services Librarian

Perkins Library


Annie’s Song

by Catherine Anderson

DB 46753, Available as BARD Download

Everyone believes Annie Trimble is an idiot, so the town bully Douglas Montgomery has no qualms about raping her. His brother, Alex, runs him out of town, however, marries the pregnant Annie, and adopts the baby. Alex patiently helps Annie overcome her fear of men, and he is quite surprised when he discovers she is not dumb—just deaf. Some descriptions of sex. 1996.

Download Annie’s Song, DB 46753

Butterfly

by Antoinette Ashley

DB 98149, Available as BARD Download

Morgan Atkins, born deaf and unofficially adopted into a family, feels as if she has never belonged. A single mother of twins, she has built a comfortable life with a man who is not their father. But a ghost from her past comes to town and she begins an affair. 2019.

Download Butterfly, DB 98149

Continuum

by Chella Man

DB 104192, Available as BARD Download

Fine artist, activist, and Titans actor Chella Man uses his own experiences as Deaf, genderqueer, Jewish, Chinese, and transmasculine identities to talk about cultivating self-acceptance and acting as one’s own representation. For junior and senior high readers. 2021.

Download Continuum, DB 104192

A Cousin’s Challenge

by Wanda E. Brunstetter

DB 71213, Available as BARD Download

Amish schoolteacher Jolene Yoder, who lost her hearing two years ago, returns home to Indiana after learning sign language and lip reading in Pennsylvania. Jolene teaches two nonhearing children and assists newly deaf bachelor Lonnie Hershberger. Meanwhile Jake Beechy falls in love with Jolene’s cousin Ella Miller. 2010.

Download A Cousin’s Challenge, DB 71213

Dead Silence

by Robin Carroll

LT 28971

Elise Carmichael is a court sign language interpreter who reads lips all the time. As a widow with a young son who is deaf, lip reading is simply second nature, until the day she reads the lips of someone on the phone discussing an attempt to be made on a senator’s life—a senator who just happens to be her mother-in-law. Before she can decide what she needs to do, she receives the information that her son is rushed to the ER and she must leave. Then she later sees the news report that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. But when she comes forward, her life, as well as her son’s life, may now be in the crosshairs of the assassin. 2020.

Deaf Republic: Poems

by Ilya Kaminsky

DB 94920, BR 22694, Available as BARD Download

Collection of poems telling the story of a town that is rendered deaf when soldiers are breaking up a protest and one shoots and kills a young deaf boy. Puppeteers Alfonso and Sonya are expecting a new baby, while the theater where they work is the center of insurgency. Some violence. 2019.

Download Deaf Republic: Poems, DB 94920

Download Braille, Deaf Republic: Poems, BR 22694

Edison

by Edmund Morris

DB 96904, Available as BARD Download

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author provides an account of the life and work of the near-deaf Thomas Alva Edison, best known for his invention of the first practical incandescent lamp and advances in sound recording technology. Draws on original documents from Edison’s lab, family papers, and more. 2019.

Download Edison, DB 96904

Face the Music: A Life Exposed

by Paul Stanley

DB 78915, Available as BARD Download

Rhythm guitarist for KISS details his childhood in a dysfunctional family and describes the congenital defect that left him partially deaf and without a right ear, driving him to immerse himself in music and stagecraft. Recalls the influences in his personal and professional lives. Strong language. Bestseller. 2014.

Download Face the Music: A Life Exposed, DB 78915

Five Flavors of Dumb

by Antony John

DB 72769, BR 19295, Available as BARD Download

Eighteen-year-old Piper who is Deaf, volunteers as a manager for a rock band called Dumb. While trying to make Dumb profitable, Piper learns a few things about music and business—and about herself. For senior high readers. Schneider Award. 2010.

Download Five Flavors of Dumb, DB 72769

Download Braille, Five Flavors of Dumb, BR 19295

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

by Haben Girma

DB 96188, BR 22702, Available as BARD Download

The autobiography of the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. Girma describes her childhood, world travels, development of a text-to-braille communication system, and time at Harvard Law, as well as the ways she uses her talents to advocate for those with disabilities. 2019.

Download Haben, DB 96188

Download Braille, Haben, BR 22702

Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

by Myron Uhlberg

DB 68756, BR 18281, Available as BARD Download

Children’s book author Uhlberg describes his childhood in 1930s and 1940s Brooklyn with two Deaf parents and a hearing but epileptic younger brother. He recounts dealing with his sometimes uncomfortable role as an interpreter and with the looks of curiosity and shock from strangers. Some strong language. 2008.

Download Hands of My Father, DB 68756

Download Braille, Hands of My Father, BR 18281

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

by Carson McCullers

DB 58532, DB 91754, BR 11395, LT 2393, Available as BARD Download

Deep South, 1930s. John Singer, who is deaf and mute, feels content until his best friend, also mute, is committed to a mental institution. Singer, who can read lips, becomes the confidante of several town residents, all of whom want answers to their problems. Some strong language. 1940.

Download The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, DB 58532

Download The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, DB 91754

Download Braille, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, BR 11395

Huckleberry Lake

by Catherine Anderson

DB 98186, Available as BARD Download

Erin De Laney, disillusioned with her work in law enforcement, takes a job at her uncle’s ranch in Mystic Creek. She meets Wyatt Fitzgerald, the deaf foreman on the ranch, and works with him to help an abused horse. 2019.

Download Huckleberry Lake, DB 98186

I Can’t See You, I’m Deaf: a Memoir

by Woody Livingston

DB 97815, BR 22938, Available as BARD download

The author recounts his experiences going blind while already completely deaf, including attending college, traveling, playing hockey, and piloting an airplane. Describes the discrimination he faced, his struggles with homelessness and unemployment, and his decision to live by faith. 2019.

Download I Can’t See You, I’m Deaf, DB 97815

Download Braille, I Can’t See You, I’m Deaf, BR 22938

Into the Dark

by Karen Rose

DB 99786, Available as BARD Download

When he and his brother Josh are in danger, deaf teenager Michael Rowland turns to Josh’s soccer coach, ex-Army ranger Diesel Kennedy. Diesel takes them to see Dr. Dani Novak—not only because she’s fluent in American Sign Language, but because he’s drawn to her. 2019.

Download Into the Dark, DB 99786

Never Seduce a Scot

by Maya Banks

DB 75873, Available as BARD Download

Graeme Montgomery and deaf Eveline Armstrong are forced by the Scottish king to wed to resolve clan warfare. When Graeme discovers that Eveline is deaf and can read lips, the two begin a real marriage. But enemies desire to continue the conflict. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2012.

Download Never Seduce a Scot, DB 75873

Not a Sound

by Heather Gudenkauf

DB 88392, BR 22398, Available as BARD Download

Two years ago an accident left Amelia Winn deaf, finished her nursing career, and destroyed her marriage as she turned to alcohol. Now sober, Amelia and her hearing dog find the body of an estranged friend and former colleague by the river and begin investigating. Some violence and some strong language. 2017.

Download Not a Sound, DB 88392

Download Braille, Not a Sound, BR 22398

Orchid of the Bayou: A Deaf Woman Faces Blindness

by Cathryn Carroll

BR 19223, Available as BARD download

Autobiography of Deaf Cajun woman follows her early childhood, attendance at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, and graduation from Gallaudet University. Describes the post-childbirth vision problems that led her to research her heritage as an Acadian, the group with the highest rates of Usher syndrome in the world. 2001.

Download Braille, Orchid of the Bayou, BR 19223

Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy and His Family

by Louis Auchincloss

LT 30653

When Connecticut veterinarian Melissa Shapiro gets a call about a tiny deaf, blind puppy rescued from a hoarding situation in need of fostering, she doesn’t hesitate to say “yes.” Little does she know how that decision will transform her, her family, and legions of admirers destined to embrace the saga of the indomitable pink pup. 2021.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

by Sara Barnard

DB 91437, Available as BARD Download

Steffi, who deals with anxiety and is selectively mute, worries about the upcoming school year after her best friend transfers. When new student Rhys, who is Deaf, is assigned to her, they find ways to communicate. Strong language and descriptions of sex. For senior high and older readers. 2017.

Download A Quiet Kind of Thunder, DB 91437

The Silence

by Tim Lebbon

DB 84379, DVD 1662 (Titled A Quiet Place), Available as BARD Download

When vicious flying creatures who hunt by sounds are disturbed in a cave system, they swarm the planet, killing everything they encounter. Deaf teenager Ally and her family flee, with Ally their best chance to learn how to run for their lives in silence. Violence and some strong language. 2015.

Download The Silence, DB 84379

The Silence Between Us

by Alison Gervais

DB 97850, BR 22944, Available as BARD Download

After moving to Colorado, seventeen-year-old Maya, who is Deaf, is forced to attend a hearing school. As she navigates her new life, Maya proves that her lack of hearing will not stop her from pursuing her dreams. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

Download The Silence Between Us, DB 97850

Download The Silence Between Us, BR 22944

Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals about the Mind

by Margalit Fox

DB 81592, Available as BARD Download

An isolated Bedouin community in Israel experiences an unusually high rate of deafness, and its residents “speak” an indigenous sign language created there. Linguist Margalit Fox works to unravel this language, which developed free of other linguistic influence, and discusses what this reveals about the human “language instinct.” 2007.

Download Talking Hands, DB 81592

Song for a Whale

by Lynne Kelly

DB 94077, BR 22668, Available as BARD Download

Twelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, who are both Deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris’s plan to help Blue 55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales. For grades 4-7. 2019.

Download Song for a Whale, DB 94077

Download Song for a Whale, BR 22668

The Story of Beautiful Girl

by Rachel Simon

DB 74553, Available as BARD Download

Lynnie, a developmentally disabled white woman, and Homan, a deaf-mute black man, escape from a Pennsylvania institution and take refuge with widowed schoolteacher Martha. Before the authorities arrive, Lynnie entrusts her newborn daughter to Martha and Homan flees. Lynnie and Homan long for one another over the decades. 2011.

Download The Story of Beautiful Girl, DB 74553

The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa

by Josh Swiller

DB 67060, Available as BARD download

Swiller, who lost his hearing during childhood, describes joining the Peace Corps at age twenty-three “to find a place,” he says, “past deafness.” Recounts his two-year stint and his attempts to improve conditions in a remote Zambian village plagued by poverty, disease, and violence. Strong language and some violence. 2007.

Download The Unheard, DB 67060

The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows

by Kent Nerburn

DB 71467, Available as BARD Download

The white author, who learned about Native American culture from Indian elder Dan in Neither Wolf nor Dog (DB 71434), recounts his search for Dan’s deaf sister Yellow Bird. Examines the history of government-run Indian boarding schools, such as the one that took Yellow Bird from her family. 2009.

Download The Wolf at Twilight, DB 71467

What Is Visible?

by Kimberly Elkins

DB 78666, BR 20466, Available as BARD Download

Attending the San Celina Mid-State Fair, Benni Harper’s enjoyment of the fair’s activities are put on hold after the theft of a quilt intended for a special exhibition and the discovery of a corpse in the Piebald Family Farm Exhibit. 2010.

Download What is Visible?, DB 78666

Download What is Visible?, BR 20466

Where I Stand: On The Signing Community and My DeafBlind Experience

by John Lee Clark

DB 101940, BR 23498, Available as BARD Download

Attending the San Celina Mid-State Fair, Benni Harper’s enjoyment of the fair’s activities are put on hold after the theft of a quilt intended for a special exhibition and the discovery of a corpse in the Piebald Family Farm Exhibit. 2010.

Download Where I Stand, DB 101940

Download Braille, Where I Stand, BR 23498

Words in My Hands: A Teacher, a Deaf-Blind Man, an Unforgettable Journey

by Diane P. Chambers

DB 72036, Available as BARD Download

Sign-language teacher/interpreter discusses her occupation and her introduction to eighty-six-year-old deaf-blind musician Bert Riedel, a former dentist who has Usher syndrome. Describes the tactile signing lessons she gave Riedel and his family and explains the role of their PowerBraille Display machine. 2005.

Download Words in My Hands, DB 72036

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