Celebrate Deaf Awareness Month with These 7 Books
If you're a hearing person, these books are a great look at Deaf culture!
Books To Read For Deaf Awareness Month
The month of September is Deaf Awareness Month and the last week of the month is Deaf Awareness Week. If you don't know a lot about Deaf culture in the United States, these books are perfect to read for Deaf Awareness Month!
This time of year has been important to me since I came across it in my research it several years ago. That's because I'm hard of hearing and have been slowly losing my hearing for a while now. It's also because I grew up with a Deaf mother, grandpa, and first cousin.
I've always been around Deafness. While I can't speak for their experiences with it, I can speak for my own and how it's been a struggle in my life on top of other health issues and being unable to get hearing aids. No one knows why I'm losing my hearing. My doctor's best guess guess is that it's genetic.
That's why I wanted to share these seven books to read during Deaf Awareness Month. They're all memoirs and will share first hand what Deaf and hard of hearing people experience. If you're like me, well, they're just good books to read you'll find comfort in.
Here is a list of resources from the National Association of the Deaf.
1. Mean Little deaf Queer: A Memoir by Terry Galloway
When Terry Galloway was nine, she began to lose her hearing. No one yet knew the experimental antibiotics her mother was given would cause havoc on her fetal nervous system. She acted out her pain of wearing hearing aids and Coke-bottle glasses by pretending to drown at a camp for disabled kids. Later, Galloway used theater to navigate life. In her memoir, Galloway digs into her mental health, queer identity, and deafness in an unforgettable way.
2. I'll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin
Marlee Matlin rose to fame after winning an Oscar for her role in Children of a Lesser God. Growing up, she struggled to connect to people, including her own mother. She began using drugs even before she was in high school, but eventually found herself in acting despite no formal training. Over time, Marlee became an activist, a mother, and a spokesperson and role model "for millions of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people" the world wide.
3. Ready to Be Heard: How I Lost My Hearing and Found My Voice by Amanda McDonough
At the age of four, Amanda McDonough began losing her hearing and, for the next 18 years, she hid her gradual hearing loss from everyone. By the time McDonough was 22, she couldn't hide it any longer after and was unable to hear, lip read, or sign. Her memoir details how she was able finish college, learn to sign, and discovered Deaf culture and also herself.
4. Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma
Before Haben Girma became the first Deafblind person to graduate Harvard Law, she was raised in Louisiana, the daughter of refugees who lived through Eritrea's thirty-year war. Her parents' strength inspired her, thirsting for knowledge and travel, defining her Deafblindness as "an opportunity for innovation" that lead to Girma developing a text-to-braille communication system. Now, she is a disability advocate, and this is her story.
5. Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South by Mary Herring Wright
Black Deaf child, Mary Herring Wright grew up in Iron Mine, North Carolina from the 1920 through 1940s. She attended a school for Black Deaf and blind children in North Carolina, providing a unique perspective of both the Depression and World War II and life before integration and the American's with Disabilities Act. Herring Wright was also a teacher for the Deaf and blind, and her memoir is not only a moving book, but also an important part of Black history, Deaf history, and Black Deaf history.
6. If a Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard by Jennifer Rosner
As a hearing person, Jennifer Rosner was surprised when both her daughters were born Deaf. As she dug through her ancestry, she found a "hidden history of deafness in her family, going back generations to the Jewish enclaves of Eastern Europe." Rosner's story is relatable to any hearing parent born with Deaf children and the adjustments they must make in their own lives to provide for their children. At the heart of this story is family, both the family we have and the family we came from.
7. Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman's Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
Brandi Rarus is known for being Miss Deaf America 1988 and a Deaf spokesperson, but before that, Rarus was an adopted child who lost her hearing at six. Throughout her childhood, she was caught between the Deaf and hearing worlds until college when she was finally able to embrace Deaf culture. She and her husband had three hearing children and she loved her children, but she still felt as if something was missing. They she was introduced to Zoe, a six-month-old Deaf baby in foster care who needed a family that understood her. The Raruses became that family.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
How do you plan to celebrate Deaf Awareness Month!