The Best Books for Kids With Hearing Loss
Books About Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
Finding great books about children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be difficult. Many books are out of date in terms of current technology, or they are targeted toward an adult audience. As the mother to a five-year-old boy who wears hearing aids, I was disappointed to find outdated books about hearing loss in our local library. One book described a boy as having "weird words" and another featured a girl wearing an outdated body-worn hearing aid system from the 1970s.
Fortunately, there are many new, wonderful books that explore current technology and provide a positive outlook for children with hearing loss. Books with an auditory/verbal approach (containing references to hearing aids, cochlear implants, and "learning to listen") are listed in the first section. Books about ASL and Deaf culture are listed in the second section.
Children's Book About Cochlear Implants
Rally Caps: Chapter Book
Books With an Auditory/Verbal or Oral Approach
Let's Hear it For Almigal, by Wendy Kupfer
Almigal is an energetic girl who wears cotton candy pink hearing aids. Almigal is the luckiest girl in the world, because she has many friends and each one is different. Sometimes, Almigal feels unlucky because she cannot hear her friend's baby brother's giggle or the birds chirp. She receives good news when the doctor tells her she can get cochlear implants. Ali has the surgery, does listening homework ("who knew homework could be fun?"), and soon learns to hear all the sounds around her. The book covers what happens when cochlear implants get wet (fortunately, Almigal's mother saves the cochlear implants with a hair dryer).
My five-year-old son's favorite part of the book is when Ali's pet poodle runs off with her cochlear implant. The book ends on a positive note, as Ali is able to hear her friend's "teeny tiny voice" and the soft music of her ballet class. Best of all, she can now hear her mommy and daddy whisper, "I love you."
Cosmo Gets an Ear, by Gary Clemente
What happens when a little boy has trouble hearing? This book follows the young Cosmo through the hearing tests, learning about hearing aids, and the discovery of many new sounds with his new ears.
Sophie's Tales, by Melanie Paticoff
The Sophie's Tales series features Sophie, a small white dog who wears cochlear implants. The series includes two books: "Learning to Listen" and "Overcoming Obstacles." A stuffed animal version of Sophie is also available. The Sophie's Tales series is perfect for children ages 3-10.
Happy Birthday to My Ears, by Elizabeth Boschini and Rachel Chaikof
This book is available as a board book or paperback, and it is targeted to very young cochlear implant users. This book follows a young boy through his first year with a cochlear implant. In rhyming prose, it goes through the seasons of sound to a set of brand-new ears.
Abby Gets a Cochlear Implant, by Maureen Cassidy Riski
Abby has a progressive hearing loss and wears purple hearing aids. Soon, she gets a cochlear implant and shows the readers how she learns to hear with her new ears.
Ellie's Ears, by Elizabeth Boschini and Rachel Chaikof
A ten-year-old girl with bilateral cochlear implants explains her hearing loss to her mainstream 3rd grade class.
Rally Caps, by Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi Cutler Del Dottore
A chapter book for slightly older children, ten-year-old Jordan is injured while trying out for his Little League team. Jordan is fearful of returning to baseball, until he meets an inspiring deaf friend at summer camp. Luca has a cochlear implant and has a wonderful "nothing is impossible" attitude.
Sophie's Tales Book Series
Books with an ASL Approach
Books With an ASL or Deaf Culture Approach
Dad and Me in the Morning, by Patricia Lakin
Beautiful illustrations follow the story of a young boy and his father through the day. The small boy puts on his hearing aids and explores the beach with his father, showing many ways to communicate.
Moses Goes to a Concert, by Isaac Millman
Moses uses ASL and attends a concert. This book shows how Moses and his classmates enjoy the feel of music, as their teacher hands out balloons to help the children feel the vibration. Moses goes backstage and learns that the percussionist in the orchestra is also Deaf, and performs in stocking feet to feel the vibration of the drums.
Prudence Parker and a Sign of Friendship, by Christine Burk
Prudence encounters Haley, a young Deaf girl, on a beach. Using her limited knowledge of sign language, Prudence strikes up a friendship with Haley. The girls play together, and Haley teaches Prudence more signs.
Can You Hear a Rainbow?: The Story of a Deaf Boy Named Chris, by Jamie Riggio Heelan
Chris is a ten year old boy and uses a variety of communication modalities. This realistic picture book describes how Chris uses speech reading, sign language, and hearing aids to communicate.
Nobody's Perfect, by Marlee Matlin
Megan is deaf and attends a mainstream school with an interpreter. She is thrilled to have a "perfectly purple" birthday party. She is disheartened with the new girl in class, Alexis, declines her invitation. Megan soon discovers the truth behind Alexis' refusal to attend her party, and uses her knowledge of sign language to help build a friendship with the new girl in school.
Great Books for Siblings
Elana's Ears, by Gloria Roth Lowell
Lacey is a very happy dog, but feels a little displaced when baby Elana comes home. When Lacey tries to teach Elana to bark, she soon realizes that Elana has difficulty hearing. Lacey vows to become the best "big sister" in the world, in addition to becoming Elana's ears.