8 books featuring deaf characters in time for Christmas!

Posted on December 11, 2015

The Everyone In campaign by Inclusive Minds is calling on authors, illustrators and publishers this Christmas to include more deaf and disabled characters in books and stories. Limping Chicken caught up with campaign manager Alexandra Strick to find out more.  First, Alexandra shares a few of her favorites for your Christmas wish list!


What the Jackdaw Saw
By Julia Donaldson & Nick Sharratt
A distracted jackdaw who wants to invite everyone to his party, learns how signs can help us all. Available with a signed version on CD.


Little Space Explorers
By Anthony Lewis
An interactive board book with a figure to play with. Like many of the wonderful early years books from Child’s Play, one of the characters has a hearing aid.


By Chrissie Keighery
Following meningitis, 15 year old Demi learns to adjust to life without her hearing, as well as the challenges of a new school.


Freddie and the Fairy
By Julia Donaldson & Karen George
Freddie learns the value of effective communication, when a heard-of-hearing fairy offers to grant his wishes.


By Joyce Dunbar
Orla meets a mysterious moonbird and learns how to speak with his hands and listen with his eyes.


Max the Champion
Sean Stockdale & Alexandra Strick
A subtly inclusive picture book about a sports-mad little boy with a powerful imagination. His hearing aid becomes visible as the story progresses.


My Brother John
By Joanne Zellweger, Gerard Featherstone & Andy Elliott.
A girl describes the fun she has with her brother, who has a hearing aid and a cochlear implant.


The Deaf Musicians
By Pete Seeger & Paul Dubois Jacobs
A pianist who loses his hearing and his job, only to start a popular new band of deaf musicians.


El Deafo
By Cece Bell
Delivered in graphic-novel format, this is a quirky, funny and very accessible memoir-style book, based on the childhood of the author/illustrator.

The UK children’s publishing industry is booming and currently worth in excess of 330 million pounds, yet books featuring deaf or disabled characters are still frustratingly hard to find.

The new Everyone In campaign hopes to change this by calling on authors, illustrators and publishers to consider disability and deaf representation when creating books for the children’s market.

“All children have the right to be able to find themselves in the books they read,” explains Inclusive Minds’ manager Alexandra Strick, “If books don’t feature characters who are deaf or disabled, the message we risk giving out is that books are not for them.  So improving inclusivity is vital if we are going to help all children to engage with books and reading.  

The campaign, which is using the hashtag #everyonein and has the backing of international bestselling author, Julia Donaldson, who is herself deafened, is calling for incidental representation in illustrations as well as stories centred around protagonists who have a disability.

“It’s vital that books don’t just show the world one picture of what it might be like to be deaf or disabled,” says Alexander.”Books need to reflect the vast spectrum of experiences of deafness and disability. This can help change perceptions of disability and deafness for ALL children.”

Whilst there is a need for more representation in books, there are already a few titles which feature deafness. Here Alexandra shares a few of her favorites for your Christmas wish list!

By Rebecca Atkinson.

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