These are lists of children’s books for deaf and hard of hearing children, featuring deaf or hard of hearing children in the stories. Deaf or hard of hearing children are the main characters in the stories. Some of the books feature kids with cochlear implants, other with hearing aids. Amazon is linked for clarity – so you know exactly what book I’m talking about – but be sure to look for these in your local library or request them. Your local used bookseller might have them as well – always shop local when possible!
Best Children’s Books Featuring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
I wanted to break up the sections a little more for you (to make it easier for you to find the age you are targeting), but I think in the end one list is the way I’ll need to go with the target ages mentioned in the book description box.
Some of these are board books, others regular paper books. Some are about deaf children, some hard of hearing children, all of the stories feature hearing ware in some way – cochlear implants or hearing aids.
There is a weird obsession it seems with a lot of the stories to feature “super” something, that cochlear implants or hearing aids give superpowers. I personally was not the type of kid that would have appreciated that kind of thing, but then I again, I didn’t like Dr. Seuss, so it’s probably just me. Knowing that, I put those books in.
There is also a thread of “overcoming” in a lot of them. I left that in, but I want to remind you that it’s
important imperative that your kid grow up with a sense of disability pride – in not “overcoming” their hearing loss, but rather, in leaning in and recognizing it for an intrinsic part of who they are. I don’t think hearing loss is some kind of super power, but I also don’t think it’s something to overcome. It simply is a platform upon which I experience my world.
More on these perspectives:
Children’s Books, Ages 0-12 Featuring Deaf/HOH Kids
Ada is a dancing fox who is deaf. Loving to help others, she befriends 3 others who also have a disability. This charming book comes with ABC's in ASL, a foldout ASL poster
Themes: Helping others, inclusion, friendship, finding your own strengths
For: ages 3-8
An autobiography in comic form of a girl who is deaf (from meningitis), her start at a new school, wearing a giant hearing aid and hearing loss.
Themes: Friendships, hearing loss and transitions, self-advocacy
For: Ages 8 - 12 (adults would love it too!)
Harper navigates hearing loss with cochlear
implants. "This real life story allows readers to follow her journey, providing both parents and children who are facing any kind of diagnosis a much-needed dose of encouragement"
Themes: Transitions (hearing loss), empowerment.
For: Ages 8-12
A journey through the real-life emotional process family members often experience after a hearing loss is identified by way of the story of Bridget and her sister. Her sister notices that Bridget is acting strangely, ignoring the world around her and inventing weird words. This eventually leads to a diagnosis.
Themes: Hearing loss, emotional journey
For: Ages 3-8
"Fierceness comes in many forms, but Super Kena's arrives in powerful determination. When kids at school make fun of her hearing aids, she gets a super idea. She will gather her differently-abled classmates to create a team of super heroes. Together, they will use their superpowers to make a difference in the world - by spreading understanding and acceptance . . . one classroom at a time."
For: Ages 3-8
Introduction to a child who is enjoying their life and uses cochlear implants.
"Meet Ananya, a girl who is profoundly deaf and wears cochlear implants...she is a daughter, a sister, and a friend who likes Minecraft, tennis and the piano!"
Themes: Hearing loss awareness
For: Ages 6-8
"All the Ways I Hear You first introduces our young hard of hearing narrator, Sy, and his neat hearing aids. From there, Sy goes on to introduce his diverse group of friends who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind and their own hearing technology and communication styles, like cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing systems, communication boards/tablets and sign language. The book also introduces other children in familial and support roles, namely a hearing sibling and a child of deaf adults (CODA)."
Themes: Inclusion, education
For: Ages 3-8
"I'm so glad you came by. My name is Billie. I'm four years old and I am also Hard of Hearing. I have bilateral hearing loss due to Microtia. Microtia is a congenital condition of a little or missing outer ear. I wear my BAHA to be able to hear the world around me."
Themes: Acceptance, inclusion, kindness
For: Ages 3-8
"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" and all work through mishearing with communication strategies!
Themes: Overcoming adversity
For: Ages 3-8
"Zola has a problem. She does not hear as well as other kids. Today is the day she goes to the doctor, a special doctor, to check her hearing. Zola is worried because she has heard all about those kids who do not hear well. Her greatest fear is having to wear a hearing aid."
Themes: self-acceptance, courage
"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?"
Themes: self-awareness, hearing loss transition
For: ages 3-8
Includes: This new paperback edition includes an illustrated BSL alphabet.
This book serves as a communication tool for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing, audiologists, parents and classroom teachers to facilitate children's understanding of the various obstacles they may face with hearing loss. This book encourages children to advocate for themselves.
Themes: self-advocacy, navigating hearing loss and transitions
For: ages 8-12
"Mila wants to prove to her family that she's a BIG KID! Her plan is to do everything on her own, without asking for help - not even once! She uses her creativity, willpower, and even her new cochlear implant hearing device, to tackle one big kid activity after another."
Themes: independence asking for help (sub theme of normalcy of kids with hearing loss)
For: ages 3-8
Includes: 34 page downloadable activity pack
"Baby loves the five senses! Accurate enough for experts, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the science of sound and hearing. Beautiful, visually stimulating, illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two as well."
Themes: hearing awareness
For: ages infant - 3
"The story follows Skylar, a young boy with hearing aids, as he awakens and prepares for a typical school day. Situations such as mishearing and misunderstanding are highlighted."
Themes: hearing loss transitions (and feelings associated with hearing loss, self-advocacy
For: ages 7-11
Note: this book is also available as an e-book for iOS (Apple) devices, and includes sound effects to simulate what Skylar hears
That was a long list, but a lot of them were really good.
I think it’s really important for deaf and hard of hearing children see themselves featured in books as the heroes. I think it’s important to feel a sense of pride and a twinge of connection and identity in that.
Just like with books about Down syndrome (or any other disability), or with dolls with hearing aids (or wheelchairs or anything else, disability-related), I also think that these are also for the hearing kids, for the non-disabled.
These should not just be for the kids that are featured in the books (the ones who are deaf and hard of hearing). If we are going to normalize disability, ALL of us need to be reading ALL of our stories.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.