Deaf Literature

Signs of Jays: Linda Kurtz Kingsley

  • Signs Of Jays is about 2 little boys, Pete & Mike, and Pete’s mother’s class of deaf and hard of hearing students. This class discovers 2 abandoned blue jays and decides to help rescue them. While doing so Pete and the deaf/hard of hearing students learn how to communicate using sign language but also their own made up language of signs and expressions. *Spoiler alert* Pete also discovers what it is like for these students to be in a special education classroom, being prepped to be mainstreamed in the public school system.
  • I enjoyed this book for many reasons. The first and foremost reason is that it is focused on deaf/hard of hearing students without being focused on what these kids can not do. It is one of the more empowering books for deaf/hard of hearing children. Another positive of this book is that it discusses how deaf/hard of hearing children are mainstreamed into the public education system. It is mostly accurate; the only negative to it being that it doesn’t show the extent of struggling. Another positive aspect of this book is that it is predominantly deaf/hard of hearing characters. The negative that I find with this book is that it does show sign language in an unnatural way. Meaning, that the signs are just inserted, it doesn’t show fluency throughout the book. It is also based for the hearing reader and not the deaf reader.

Leading Ladies: Marlee Matlin

  • Leading Ladies is about a group of young girls who go through the trials of old friends, new friends, and jealousy. The main character, Megan, is in 4th grade and her class decides to put on the Wizard of Oz play for the community. While Megan plans to be Dorothy she soon runs into trouble when her best friend Lizzie transfers to her school and tries out as well. Spoiler Alert In the end all the girls end up doing the play and overcoming their differences. The best part of the book is that both Megan and Lizzie are deaf.
  • This is a good book for young girls who want a fun read. It discusses issues age appropriate including, old and new friends and wanting to be the center of attention. It is great to show girls how to work through their problems and it also shows a caring family who is supportive. The deaf culture aspect is decent because it shows Megan having an interpreter but also relying on her friends and reading lips, which is accurate to real life. I dislike this book though because everything is neat and in order. While Megan has issues with friends, the book doesn’t discuss her troubles being deaf and in a public school in full detail. It also doesn’t show the school setting in a true light because Megan and Lizzie both have an interpreter and the school fully supports inclusion, which isn’t popular yet. The book also ends in a neat and tidy way where everyone gets what they want and all the girls are friends and happy.

Moses Goes To (Series): Isaac Millman

  • Moses Goes To (fill in blank) is a series about a young boy, Moses, who is deaf. The books focus on different places that he goes to such as the circus, a concert or a play. The first Moses book to be written was in April 1998 and it was Moses Goes to A Concert. In all of these books there is an introduction on how to read them. There is very little writing but diagrams to illustrate American Sign Language and words underneath. These diagrams show how to make the sentence that goes with the picture. At the end of every book there is 2 full conversations that you can do in ASL as well as an ASL alphabet page.
  • I absolutely despise these books. The Moses series is based on little knowledge of deaf culture. They are simply produced to teach others how to sign, and they do a bad job at that. The pictures that they use are difficult to understand and they disregard all grammar of ASL. The plots of these books only focus on the disability aspect of deafness and it is severely stereotyped. The ONLY positive side of this book would be to teach very young children (ages 3-5), who are having difficulty expressing themselves, different signs.

Dad, Jackie & Me: Myron Uhlberg

  • Dad, Jackie & Me is a book about a son and his dad and their relationship with baseball. In this book the dad is deaf and brings home to tickets to see the Dodgers play. During the game the dad starts cheering but it comes out differently and embarrasses the son. After the game, the dad becomes infatuated with baseball and Jackie Robinson. Spoiler Alert Throughout the course of the story the relationship between the son and father grows as their passion for Jackie grows. The dad plays catch with the son frequently but can never catch the ball. At the last Dodgers game Jackie hits a ball to the dad and he is able to catch it!
  • I enjoyed this book for many reasons. It offers a different perspective, one that the parent is deaf and the child is hearing. This relationship is becoming more popular and time increases. It offers both parents and children a fresh perspective on deaf culture. It’s also a great book for upper elementary because it does discuss parent-child relationships. At this age children start to resent their parents and get embarrassed by them. This book highlights that relationship and shows different ways to overcome it. I also enjoyed this book because while it has a deaf main character it doesn’t focus on the deafness for the plot line.