National Deaf Awareness Month
September 15, 2023
September is National Deaf Awareness Month! In this diverse booklist of fiction and non-fiction titles, you’ll find captivating narratives that illuminate the experiences of the Deaf community, offering powerful insights into their culture, challenges, and triumphs. From heartwarming memoirs tracing personal journeys to informative explorations of sign language and communication, these books celebrate the richness of Deaf identity.
Deaf Utopia: A Memoir and a Love Letter to a Way of Life by Nyle DiMarco
Candid and inspiring this is a memoir and a Deaf culture anthem! DiMarco describes growing up in a multigenerational Deaf home and details his work to improve Deaf representation in media. DiMarco has won America’s Next Top Model and works with Neflix both on and off the screen. Throughout the book he immerses readers in the rich dialog of American Sign Language (ASL) and other facets of his culture.
I’ll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin
You’ve probably seen this actress on screens both big and small. This academy award winning star has done a lot in her career, including being a role model for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Being a role model comes with challenges, which she outlines in this book along with her stories of growing up Deaf, and her struggles with addiction and abuse.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
You could totally read this graphic novel with an elementary school kiddo in your life. This award winning inspiring memoir recounts the author’s experience with becoming deaf at age four, the indignities and joys of being Deaf in a hearing community, and how she determined her superpower.
True Biz by Sara Novic
This book transfers you into life at River Valley School for the Deaf. The story focuses on Charlie, a rebellious transfer student; Austin, the school’s golden boy; and February, the head mistress who is trying to keep the school open and her marriage intact. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to undo their lives, this trio of characters finds their lives intertwined and changed forever.
No Excuses: Growing Up Deaf and Achieving my Super Bowl Dreams by Derrick Coleman
Coleman was the first Deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks. He recounts his humbling story starting from his childhood in California and doesn’t shy away from discussing his challenges and fears. This inspiring memoir shows how far hard work and determination can get you.
Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War by Harry G. Lang
History buffs get excited. Here’s a unique and previously untold perspective of the American Civil War. This visually rich volume presents Lang’s groundbreaking study of the Deaf experience during this time. He focuses on soldiers and civilians alike, drawing on hundreds of first hand accounts, and pieces together a story of how the Deaf put aside their personal concerns and the discrimination they faced daily, in order to pursue a cause larger than themselves.
Significant Gestures: A History of American Sign Language by John Tabak
American Sign Language is a unique and beautiful language. Tabak covers the history of this language by starting with its roots in 18th century France and follows it through to present times. Learn about how the language evolved once it was introduced to Deaf Americans, how schools and other institutions sprung up to allow the Deaf to participate in society, and how fast the language is evolving today.