5 Books To Add To Your TBR That Introduce Deaf Characters

Need new book recommendations with unique characters and stories? Try these five new books based on people who are deaf or hearing impaired.

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Sometimes we are looking for books that are diverse and have a unique experience. There are all kinds of individuals who are born differently or go through something that makes us readers connect with them and opens our minds to them. We found five books that have characters who are deaf and/or hearing impaired. There are selections for Young Adult and Middle Grade. Which one will you try?

1. You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

girl graffiti painting on a wall

Julia finds a slur about her best friend on a wall at Kingston School for the Deaf. She attempts to cover it up with a graffiti mural. When she tells her friend about it the last thing she expected was for her to snitch and get her expelled.

Her parents send her to a ‘mainstream’ school in the suburbs, where she is treated differently. Her only friend is the art she paints, which is everywhere. She creates graffiti in any space she can find. However, when she discovers she may not be the only vandal in town, will this turn into an ally or a graffiti war?

2. Show Me A Sign by Ann Clare Lezotte

girl touching her thumb and pointer fingers, hues of blue

This is the first book of the trilogy and is a story inspired by true events about a thriving deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early nineteenth century.

Mary Lambert feels safe on the island of Martha’s vineyard. Her great-grandfather was the first English-deaf settler on the island. Fast forward over 100 years later, the majority of the people are deaf and/or hearing impaired. Almost everyone can communicate in sign language.

However certain events cause havoc on this vineyard– her brother’s death, land disputes between the English and Wampanoag people, and mad scientists whose intrigue about the island’s prevalent deafness causes her to become one of his cruel experiments. Can she save herself and her community?

3. Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

girl with her arms out on a deck and a whale below

This cute read is about a deaf girl’s connection to a whale and how it helps with her self-confidence and the chance to be heard.

Twelve-year-old Iris is a genius and the only deaf person in her school. She is very tech savvy, yet, she’s treated as if she’s unintelligent. When she learns bout Blue55, a whale who is unable to speak to other whales, she has the idea to invent a way to sing to him. The two questions are: How will she play her song and will it reach him?

This is a contemporary read for those who want something heartfelt and a great triumph for tweens.

4. Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

a yellow feather falling in the blue sky

This middle-grade book is about looking beneath the surface and self discovering oneself and beign aware of others.

Frannie hasn’t been feeling hopeful. As she reads the start of a poem in class, “Hope is the thing with feathers…” feathers haven’t fallen to her feet. She noticed her friend Samantha has become more holy and a new kid in class is being called ‘Jesus Boy’ due to his complexion. When winter comes, these new thoughts come to light, realizing her brother Sean’s deafness and his experience, her mother’s fear, a bully’s anger, Samantha’s faith, and even her desire to hope.

5. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

kids walking with a dog while a boy in a cap is stuck underneath them

This is a great middle-grade read, because of young kids embracing their differences and working together. Four unique individuals are brought together by this one incident.

Virgil is shy and kind, but feels out of place with their loud family. Valencia is deaf, loves nature, brave, and secretly lonely. Kaori has her little sister clinging to her and she is a self-proclaimed psychic. Chet wishes the weird kids would be normal and would rather be playing basketball.

When Chet pulls a prank on Virgil, it leads to him being at the bottom of a well with his pet guinea pig. Thus, the journey brings Chet, Valencia, and Kaori on a mission.

For more book recommendations go on Bookstr!