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Children's books on deaf-blindness and disability
NCDB recently received an inquiry about where to find children’s books on deaf-blindness and disabilities in general. Children’s literature is one of my favorite subjects due to my librarian background, so I did some research and put together this list of resources (I focused on books for preschool through 6th grade and didn’t include young adult novels). I thought it might be interesting and/or helpful to others, so I’m sharing it here...
A great source for children’s books on disability in general is the Schneider Family Book Award, given annually by the American Library Association to books about the disability experience. They give the award in three categories—birth through grade school, middle school, and teen. Go to the link below and select a year to see the winners:
Probably easier to navigate is their bibliography of books about the disability experience (organized by age range):
As far as books specifically about deaf-blindness, there are a TON of Helen Keller biographies for kids out there. Just search Amazon or a library catalog to find one that’s at the reading level you want. Here are two I like because they have a lot of photos:
Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher
Helen Keller: Her Life in Pictures
This next one is a biography of Laura Bridgman (slightly fictionalized) that I loved when I was a child, so I decided to include it, even though it’s old. It’s out of print but available on Amazon:
Child of the Silent Night
Here’s a more recent children’s biography of Laura (higher reading level):
She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer
Aside from Helen biographies, there are not many children’s books out there that deal with deaf-blindness. I did find the following two:
Can You Feel the Thunder?
Thirteen-year-old Mic Parsons struggles with mixed feelings about his deaf and blind sister and his new neighbor. (Grades 4-8)
A Dog Called Homeless
Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a deaf-blind boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates. (Grades 4-7)
Here are two bibliographies of children’s books that include blind characters:
Here’s a bibliography of picture books organized by disability:
Here’s a nice, concise bibliography of children’s books on disability from the San Francisco Public Library:
And last but not least, I have to give a shout out to one of my very favorite books as a child, Connie’s New Eyes. It’s the true story of a woman getting her first guide dog, starting when the dog is a puppy and following the two of them through their training and back to Connie’s home and career. It’s illustrated with beautiful full-page black and white photographs. Unfortunately it’s no longer in print, but you can get it from Amazon:
Do you have any books to add? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!