September is Deaf Awareness Month

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A long thin banner with a muted blue background. To the left is the text "September is Deaf Awareness Month" and to the right is a person signing "help" in ASL.

September is Deaf Awareness Month, a time to celebrate and raise awareness of the language, culture, and diversity of the Deaf community in the United States. No two d/Deaf* experiences are the same, but we've done our best to round up resources for all ages that help to better explain how d/Deaf individuals experience the world. 

Interested in learning American Sign Language? We've got resources for that, too. Even knowing basic signs can go a long way! Be sure to search online as well; there are many free resources available for learning ASL at your own pace.

 

*d/Deaf is often the way the Deaf community distinguishes between Deaf—those who consider themselves a part of the Deaf culture, often sharing a language (ASL)—and deaf—both the physical condition of not hearing and those who experience hearing loss but do not consider themselves a part of the Deaf community. You can read more from the National Association of the Deaf, here

 

Children's Titles

 

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Six book covers for the books linked to below.

Crazy for Apples by C. L. Reid

"Emma, a deaf girl, and her best friend Izzie are going to the apple orchard today in order to pick apples for cooking, but their basket of apples ends up in the mud. Includes an ASL fingerspelling chart, glossary, and content-related questions."

 

Can Bears Ski? by Raymond Antrobus

"Little Bear feels the world around him. He feels the floor shake when someone stomps to get his attention - but something is missing. Little Bear is not sure what is happening. All around him he hears the familiar refrain: "Can bears ski?" Then Dad Bear takes him to see an audiologist and they learn that Little Bear has been experiencing deafness. With new hearing aids, he discovers that "Can bears ski?" is actually "Can you hear me?" His new world is loud and will take some getting used to, but with the love and support of Dad Bear, Little Bear will find his way."

 

El Deafo by Cece Bell

"The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her "superpower.""

 

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino

"When her new baby sister is born deaf, Jilly makes an online connection with a fellow fantasy fan, who happens to be black and deaf, and begins to learn about the many obstacles that exist in the world for people who are different from her."

 

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

"It is 1805 and Mary Lambert has always felt safe among the deaf community of Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard where practically everyone communicates in a shared sign language, but recent events have shattered her life; her brother George has died, land disputes between English settlers and the Wampanoag people are becoming increasingly bitter, and a "scientist" determined to discover the origins of the islands' widespread deafness has decided she makes the perfect "live specimen"--and kidnapped her."

 

Some Kids are Deaf by Lola M. Schaefer

"Simple text and photographs describe kids who are deaf, the ways they communicate, and some of their everyday activities."

Teen Titles

 

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Six book covers for the books linked to below.

You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

"When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural. Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a ((٣school in the suburbs, where she's treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up. Out in the burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war."

 

A Sign of Affection by suu Morishita

"Yuki, who’s always been deaf, is used to communicating with sign language and her phone. But she’s not used to English, so when a tourist from overseas asks for directions, she nearly panics…until a handsome stranger steps in to help. His name is Itsuomi, and it turns out he’s a friend of a friend. A charismatic globetrotter, Itsuomi speaks three languages, but he’s never had a deaf friend. The two feel drawn to each other and plan a date on a romantic winter’s night…but Yuki’s friend is afraid that she might be setting herself up to get hurt. Could this be something real? Or will these feelings melt away with the snow?"--Amazon.com

 

The Words in My Hands by Asphyxia

"Near-future Australia is controlled by Organicore, a company that produces the "perfectly balanced" synthetic meals that have all but replaced wild food, but Piper McBride, sixteen, deaf, and cued white, begins to wonder if wild food is as dangerous as Organicore's propaganda says."

 

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ōima

"Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can't hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes their favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children's cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the school, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or is it too late?"--provided from Amazon.com

 

Continuum by Chella Man

"Fine artist, activist, and Titans actor Chella Man uses his own experiences as a deaf, transgender, genderqueer, Jewish person of color to talk about cultivating self-acceptance and acting as one's own representation."

 

T4: A Novel in Verse by Ann Clare LeZotte

"When the Nazi party takes control of Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula, who is deaf, finds her world-as-she-knows-it turned upside down, as she is taken into hiding to protect her from the new law nicknamed T4."

 

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

"Budding screenwriter Nate, sixteen, finds his conviction that happy endings do not happen in real life sorely tested when his childhood best friend and crush, Oliver James Hernandez, moves back to town."

Adult Non-Fiction Titles

 

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A long thin banner with book covers that are linked to below.

I'll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin

"The compelling memoir of the Academy Award-winning actress and role model for 30 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people serves as an inspiration and a lesson in overcoming adversity."

 

The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus

"In this extraordinary debut collection, award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus interrogates anger, grief, illness, vulnerability, deafness, and race through a commanding engagement with language, tongues, listening, and sound. In the wake of his father's death, the speaker in Raymond Antrobus' The Perseverance travels to Gaudi's cathedral in Barcelona. Ruminating on the idea of silence and sound, he wonders whether acoustics really can bring us closer to God. As he receives information through his hearing aid technology, he considers how deaf people are included in this idea: "Even though," he says, "I have not heard / the golden decibel of angels, / I have been living in a noiseless / palace where the doorbell is pulsating / light and I am able to answer." So begins a stunning examination of a d/Deaf experience alongside meditations on loss, grief, education, and language, both spoken and signed. With a global scope and a deep intimacy, Antrobus draws on family and historical figures to create a chorus of voices: on the page, in our mouths, in our hands and ears. The Perseverance is a book about communication and connection, about cultural inheritance, about identity in a hearing world that takes everything for granted, about the dangers we may find-both individually and as a society-if we fail to understand each other."

 

The Language of Light: A History of Silenced Voices by Gerald Shea

"Partially deaf due to a childhood illness, Gerald Shea is no stranger to the search for communicative grace and clarity. In this eloquent and thoroughly researched book, he uncovers the centuries-long struggle of the Deaf to be taught in sign language--the only language that renders them complete, fully communicative human beings. Shea explores the history of the deeply biased attitudes toward the Deaf in Europe and America, which illogically forced them to be taught in a language they could neither hear nor speak. As even A.G. Bell, a fervent oralist, admitted, sign language is "the quickest method of reaching the mind of a deaf child." Shea's research exposes a persistent but misguided determination among hearing educators to teach the Deaf orally, making the very faculty they lacked the principal instrument of their instruction. To forbid their education in sign language--the "language of light"--is to deny the Deaf their human rights, he concludes."

 

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

"By turns heart-tugging and hilarious, Myron Uhlberg's memoir tells the story of growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents--and his life in a world that he found unaccountably beautiful, even as he longed to escape it."

 

Deaf Utopia: A Memoir—And a Love Letter to a Way of Life by Nyle DiMarco

"A heartfelt and inspiring memoir and deaf culture anthem by Nyle DiMarco, actor, producer, two-time reality show winner, and cultural icon of the international deaf community."

 

The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure by Carolyn McCaskill

"People who first encounter sign language often ask if deaf people around the world sign the same language. Frequently, they are surprised to learn that there are different sign languages in different nations worldwide, as well as variations of these languages. These variations depend on social factors such as region, age, gender, socioeconomic status, and race. One variation, Black ASL, has been recognized for years as a distinct form of sign language but only through anecdotal reports.

[This book], originally published in 2011, presents the first sociohistorical and linguistic study of Black American Sign Language. Based on the findings of the Black ASL Project, which undertook this unprecedented research, Hidden Treasure documents the stories and language of the African American Deaf community. With links to online video content that includes interviews with Black ASL users, this volume is a groundbreaking scholarly contribution and a powerful affirmation for Black Deaf people. This paperback edition includes an updated foreword by Glenn B. Anderson, a new preface that reflects on the impact of this research, and an expanded list of references and resources on Black ASL. The online supplemental video content is available at the Gallaudet University Press YouTube Channel." 

Note: This is a Reference title, which means it cannot be checked out. 

Adult Fiction Titles

 

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True Biz by Sara Nović

"True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history final, and have doctors, politicians, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they'll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who's never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school's golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both at the same time. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another-and changed forever. This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, cochlear implants and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection."

 

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

"Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can't do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay, where Caleb is forced to confront painful memories. Caleb is a memorable protagonist who refuses to let his deafness limit his opportunities, or his participation in the investigation. But does his persistence border on stubbornness? And at what cost? As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend and himself."

 

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

"When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters: her job, her husband David, and her stepdaughter Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again. As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?"

 

Into the Dark by Karen Rose

"New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose returns with a new thriller in her chilling Cincinnati series. Michael Rowland is not your typical teenager. Deaf from birth, he's always looked out for his five-year-old brother, Joshua. When his stepfather comes after Joshua, Michael takes the child and runs. He's determined to protect his brother at all costs, even if that means making himself vulnerable to a danger he can't hear coming. And the danger intensifies when Michael witnesses a stranger kill his stepfather. Desperate and afraid, the boys have nowhere else to go but to Joshua's soccer coach, journalist and ex-Army ranger Diesel Kennedy. When Diesel sees that Michael is injured, he takes them to see Dr. Dani Novak-not only because she's fluent in American Sign Language, but because he's drawn to her and everything she stands for. She never refuses Diesel's requests-because she, too, feels their connection-but she resists him for reasons she doesn't want to confess. When Dani and Diesel learn that Michael saw the face of his stepfather's killer, they fear for his safety. But they quickly discover that it's even worse than they feared: They may have a serial killer on their hands-and all signs point to Michael as the next target."

 

Tripping the Tale Fantastic: Weird Fiction by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers by Christopher Jon Heuer

"From haunted Civil War battlefields to a severed ear discovered on a nightly run; from lab-grown dinosaurs to forest creatures that steal away children under the cover of night; from deadly bio-engineered fleas to a burning teenage desire for cybernetic amputations: Deaf and hard of hearing authors from around the world bring you this fun, though oftentimes disturbing, collection of short fiction."

 

A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe

With the fate of her disgraced family resting on her shoulders, Lady Christina Barclay has arrived in New York City from London to quickly secure a wealthy husband. But when her parents settle on an intolerable suitor, Christina turns to her reclusive neighbor, a darkly handsome and utterly compelling inventor, for help.

Oliver Hawkes reluctantly agrees to a platonic marriage . . . with his own condition: The marriage must end after one year. Not only does Oliver face challenges that are certain to make life as his wife difficult, but more importantly, he refuses to be distracted from his life’s work—the development of a revolutionary device that could transform thousands of lives, including his own.

Much to his surprise, his bride is more beguiling than he imagined. When temptation burns hot between them, they realize they must overcome their own secrets and doubts, and every effort to undermine their marriage, because one year can never be enough.

Learn ASL: Books & DVDs

 

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The Gallaudet Children's Dictionary of American Sign Language

Learn American Sign Language: Everything You Need to Start Signing by James W. Guido

The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary by Richard A. Tennant

American Sign Language Dictionary for Beginners by Tara Adams

The Everything Sign Language Book by Irene Duke

Baron's American Sign Language by David A. Stewart

The Joy of Signing: A Dictionary of American Signs by Lottie L. Riekehof

American Sign Language for Beginners: Learn Signing Essentials in 30 Days by Rochelle Barlow

The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language

Sign Language for Kids: A Fun & Easy Guide to American Sign Language by Lora Heller

 

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Idioms & Phrases in American Sign Language

Emergency Medical Words & Sentences in American Sign Language

Common Expressions in American Sign Language

American Sign Language for Babies & Toddlers : 200 Words in Audio & ASL

American Sign Language Vocabulary Builder

Sign Language 101: A Beginner's Guide to American Sign Language

 

Descriptions provided by the publishers unless otherwise noted.
By MercedesG on September 9, 2022