Volume 1, Issue 1
Welcome to YADC!
Inside this issue:
Welcome to the first YADC Newsletter. My
“As a teacher, finding fictional
interest in Deaf Characters in Young Adult
Interview with 2
Lois Hodge, author or Adolescent Literature began with one of books with deaf characters had
of Season of Change my former students requesting a summer
been somewhat of a challenge. … I
reading list. Her only demand was that she
What’s on my Bookshelf 3
wanted to read about characters similar to have dedicated a great deal of time
herself. Like many of you reading this
121 Deaf Characters in 4
to compiling a list so that students
Adolescent Literature newsletter, my former student is a Deaf stu-
dent who attends a school for the Deaf. She
and their teachers won’t have to do
References 7 wanted to read about characters who use
American Sign Language and participate as so much work.”
Web Resources 8 members within the Deaf Community.
As a teacher, finding fictional books with
increase does not mean that there is an
deaf characters had been somewhat of a
increase in understanding of deaf people.
challenge. There was so much work to be
There are still many stereotypes within so
done and I never seemed to have „enough‟
many of the books that I have read. My
time to put together a complete list of
main focus is on Deaf characters who use
books. I was able to recommend a book
sign language but since my original search,
that I thought would be a good summer
I have had Oral deaf teens ask me to keep
read. Nancy Butts‟ Cheshire Moon (1992) is
them in mind too. My book list includes ALL
a charming book about a 13-year-old
Miranda who is saddened by her cousin‟s
death and furious at her parents' insistence I have dedicated a great deal of time to
that she speak rather than sign. The plot compiling a list so that students and their
turns slightly mystical when two teens be- teachers won‟t have to do so much work. I
gin having similar dreams under the hope you enjoy this newsletter. If you‟d like
“Cheshire moon”. Yet, the story is about to subscribe, please contact me at
Miranda, a deaf girl, who struggles with firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be
communication. Without her cousin, the sure to check out my blog where you will
Cheshire Moon only member of her family who was fluent find new books, author websites and my
in sign language, communication is difficult
by Nancy Butts updated „100+ Books And Counting‟ list of
and embarrassing. Miranda feels isolated, Deaf characters at
alienated, and unsure of herself. http://pajka.blogspot.com/.
Authors are including more deaf characters
Sharon Pajka-West, Ph.D.
than they did in the past. However, this
Interview with Lois Hodge, author of Season of Change
Now, there are more than 5000 students.
Last year I was completing my doctoral dissertation entitled,
The Portrayals and Perceptions of Deaf Characters in Adoles-
SPW: How did you come up with the idea to write this story?
cent Literature, when my friend Emily mentioned that her
LH: I was taking a book-writing course from the Institute of
grandmother was a deaf author who wrote a book for young
Children‟s Literature, Redding Ridge, Connecticut
adults. Her grandmother is Lois Hodge and her grand-
through distance education. The instructor and I ex-
mother‟s book, A Season of Change, was already cited in my
plored different topics and she liked my idea of writing
dissertation. What a small world!
about a deaf girl with her hearing problems.
I mentioned to Emily that I was thinking about
SPW: Do you share any similarities with your
starting a small, free newsletter to recommend
books with deaf characters to Deaf Education
teachers and their students. I think it is impor-
LH: Yes, there is a part of me in the story, but I
tant because as a teacher I had a hard time find-
tried to pick out the problems that were common
ing enough time developing lesson plans and
among the deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
researching for good books for my students.
SPW: At one point in the book, Biney seems to
There is never enough time for teachers! I
think of all the things she can‟t do. How does she
wanted to create a newsletter to help deaf stu-
have the strength to overcome such incredible
dents find books with characters who are like
them and who have had similar life experiences
as they may have had. LH: Most deaf/ hearing-impaired children and
adults go through the phase of thinking that they
When I told Emily that I planned on writing pub-
can‟t do anything. The character‟s events and
lishers to see if I could interview the authors
observations of other people, along with her frus-
who wrote these books, she said that she
trations became catalysts to find ways to overcome the
thought her grandmother wouldn‟t mind being interviewed.
obstacles. It was at this time, when it was necessary to
Below is my correspondence with Lois Hodge.
explore… to try new or different ways to determine
LH: I will give a brief outline of my background before an- whether she could handle her objectives. If not, then try
swering your questions, which, I think, will explain some
something else. She was getting experience in learning
of my activities as an adult…. In 1928, I was born deaf
what she could and could not do.
(moderately severe), and later (in my sixties) my eye-
SPW: Did you experience any obstacles growing up as a deaf
sight began to deteriorate. I have what is called Usher
Syndrome, a defective recessive gene condition inher-
ited from both of my parents. I attended elementary and LH: My major problem during my growing up period was
high school training schools of Kansas State Teachers communication with the other children in the classroom.
College (KSTC) in Emporia. The classes were then small When I was with a few children in a group, I could not
(no more than 20 students per room). I had the advan- keep up with their chatter. I had one girl friend who was
tage of both teachers and practice teachers to help me instrumental in getting me to talk some, when we were
with the subjects in school. I attended summer school to by ourselves. I still prefer to talk on a one-to-one basis.
keep up with my age group. I also took lip-reading
SPW: Do you believe the book while published in 1987 is still
classes for about six years beginning in the 4th grade. I
relevant today? Why?
do not know sign language. I graduated with majors in
Social Science and Biology and minor in Psychology in LH: While situations have improved considerably with better
1950 at KSTC. It is now Emporia State University. At the
(Continued on page 6)
time I attended KSTC there were only 1500 students.
What’s on my Bookshelf!
It‟s that time again! Time to pull out the beach chairs and challenges, harrowing experiences and delicately wrought
bask in the sun… but don‟t forget your sunscreen and don‟t humorous insights as to what is like to be deaf and in a
forget to bring a good book! Here are some of the books quot;hearingquot; world. This year, there is
that I plan to read this summer: jealousy about the new deaf kid in class, Jon, who is so good
in sports and who might offer him competition for Mrs. Birge
Marlee Matlin & Doug Cooney,
and elsewhere. Jake's narrative ends on the last day of
Nobody's Perfect (2006): This is a
school, his last day of being a sevy.
companion to Deaf Child Crossing
(2002). Main character, Megan, is J. Andrews, Hasta Luego, San Diego
thrown when a new girl, Alexis, ig- (Flying Fingers Club, Vol 3) (1991):
nores her gestures of friendship. Donald Dunbar is thrilled when his
Alexis Powell is pretty, smart, and a mother takes him, his sister and friend
great soccer player, and she seems Matt, who is deaf, to San Diego for his
intent on ignoring Megan. Alexis birthday. The Flying Fingers Club
behaves strangely around people sleuths find themselves in action again
with disabilities which is related to when the boys witness the theft of rare
her having an autistic brother. cockatoos from the San Diego Zoo. Don-
Megan, whose family and friends ald and Matt trail the robbers, only to
accept her deafness as part of their everyday lives, is be captured and stranded in Mexico.
shocked by this.
Missy Keast, One Day: Our
Delia Ray, Singing Hands (2006): View (2001): This book docu-
Gussie Davis is the hearing daughter mented Deaf culture around the
of deaf parents in 1948 Birmingham, world in a 24-hour period.
AL. She is a rebellious teen who sings Missy Keast is the creator of the
out loud during the church for the One Day: Our View project
deaf where her father ministers. which capitalized on the close-
Gussie becomes involved in mission- knit Deaf community and the
ary efforts at a black deaf church and power of the Internet to reach
with the Alabama School for the Deaf. photographers around the
Gussie comes to terms with being world to participate in this project. The book strives to show
quot;thequot; hearing child of deaf parents. the world a glimpse into the lives of the deaf worldwide.
This project produced tens of thousands of pictures taken
Deb Piper, Those Sevy Blues (2001):
by both amateur and professional photographers around
Jake returns in the awaited sequel to
the world on May 1, 1997. The result of this outstanding ef-
Jake's The Name, Sixth Grade's The
fort is a fully illustrated book of photographs submitted to
Game. He's in seventh grade now,
the project by our volunteer photographers. http://
and just as humorous and feisty,
loaded with self-esteem and ready to
share his experiences of being
mainstreamed. The compassionate,
strong and irascible interpreter, Mrs.
Birge, returns, too. Seventh grade in
Jackson Junior High School offers
121 Deaf Character s in Adolescent Literature
29. Stephen Cosgrove Harmony: Song of the Sea Trilogy
1. Joan Aiken Dangerous Games (1999)
Book 1 (1989)
2. Jean F. Andrews (Flying Fingers Series) The Flying
30. Stephen Cosgrove Laughter Ring: Song of the Sea
Fingers Club (1988)
Trilogy Book 2 (1990)
3. Jean F. Andrews (Flying Fingers Series) Secret in the
31. Stephen Cosgrove Sharing: Song of the Sea Trilogy
Dorm Attic (1990)
Book 3 (1991)
4. Jean F. Andrews (Flying Fingers Series) Hasta Luego,
32. Carla Damron Keeping Silent: A Caleb Knowles
San Diego (1991)
5. Jean F. Andrews (Flying Fingers Series) The Ghost of
Tomahawk Creek (1993) 33. Carla Damron Spider Blue (2005)
6. V.C. Andrews Melody (1996) 34. Jeffrey Deaver A Maiden's Grave (reprinted 2001)
35. Colin Dexter The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn
7. Jennifer Armstrong Mary Mehan Awake (1998)
8. Madelyn Arnold Bird-Eyes (1988)
36. Frances O'Roark Dowell Dovey Coe
9. Ben M. Baglio Doggy Dare (2000)
10. Eleanor Poe Barlow The Master's
37. James Casey Gillies The Legend of
Cat: The Story of Charles Dickens
Five Great Deaf Ghost Stories (2003)
As Told by His Cat (1998)
38. Forrest Erickson The Silent Zone
11. Claire H. Blatchford All Alone
(Except for My Dog Friday) (1983)
39. Jean Ferris Of Sound Mind (2001)
12. Claire H. Blatchford Nick's Mis-
sion (1995) 40. Sarah Flanigan Alice (1991)
13. Claire H. Blatchford Nick's Secret 41. Janice Graham The Tailor's
(2000) Daughter (2006)
42. Peni R. Griffin Switching Well
14. Christina Bridges Hero (1982)
15. Eve Bunting A Sudden Silence
43. Leslie Davis Guccione Tell Me
How the Wind Sounds (1992)
16. Nancy Butts Cheshire Moon (1996)
44. Ruth Hallman Breakaway (1983)
17. Raewyn Caisley The Quiet World
(1996) 45. Emily Hanlon The Swing (1979; reprinted 2000)
46. Lorraine Hunter Hare Make Room for the Holly-
18. Charles L. Calia The Unspeakable : A Novel (1999)
hocks/Where the Birds Don't Sing (1999)
19. Keelin Carey, Kristina Guevremont, & Nicole March
47. Jo Harper Deaf Smith: Scout, Spy, and Texas Hero
Princess, a Tiger, and Other Deaf Tales (2006)
20. Cathryn Carroll and Harlan Lane Clerc: The Story of
His Early Years (2002) 48. Lilo Hess The Good Luck Dog (1985)
21. Kate Chester Death in the Afternoon (Hear No Evil, No. 49. Kief Hillsbery War Boy (2001)
1) (1996) 50. Karen Hirsch Becky (1981)
22. Kate Chester A Time of Fear (Hear No Evil , No. 3) 51. Lois L. Hodge Season of Change (1987)
52. Candri Hodges When I Grow Up (1994)
23. Kate Chester Dead and Buried (Hear No Evil , No. 4)
53. Shelley Hrdlitschka Kat's Fall (2004)
54. Angela Elwell Hunt The Deadly Chase (1996)
24. Kate Chester Sudden Death (Hear No Evil) (1997)
55. Frances Itani Deafening: A Novel (2003)
25. Kate Chester Hear No Evil (Hear No Evil , No. 5) (1997)
56. Sherryl Jordan The Raging Quiet (2000)
26. Kate Chester Playing With Fire (Hear No Evil , No. 6)
57. M. E. Kerr Gentlehands (reprinted 1990)
27. Kate Chester Missing (Hear No Evil , No. 2) (1999)
(Continued on page 5)
28. Clarissa Conrad Never the Same Again (1995)
121 Deaf Character s in Adolescent Literature
88. N.L.Ray There Was This Man Running (1981)
(Continued from page 4)
89. Bill Richardson After Hamelin (2000)
58. Mary King Stolen Shadows (2001) 90. Mary Riskind Apple Is My Sign (reprinted 1993)
59. Lucille R. Kraiman Thanks A Lot (1995) 91. Ginny Rorby Hurt Go Happy (2006)
60. Blair LaCrosse, Michelle LaCrosse Silent Ears, Silent 92. Lillian Rosen Just Like Everybody Else (1981)
Heart: A Deaf Man's Journey Through Two Worlds 93. Keith Scribner Miracle Girl (2003)
94. Virginia M. Scott Balancing Act (1997)
61. Betty Sullivan La Pierre The Silent Scream (2001)
95. Virginia M. Scott Belonging (1999)
62. Elizabeth Laird & Pauline Hazelwood Graffix: the Lis-
96. Virginia M. Scott Finding Abby (2000)
97. Vikram Seth An Equal Music: A Novel (2000)
63. Bret Lott The Hunt Club: A Novel (2005)
98. Susan Shreve The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn't Hear
64. Arthur Luhn In the Name of Silence (2003)
65. Anna Levene My Friend is Deaf (My Friend Series)
99. Jody Sorenson The Secret Letters of Mama Cat (1988)
100. James Smith The Boys of San Joaquin (2005)
66. Nancy Simpson Levene Crocodile Meatloaf (1993)
101. Barbara Luetke Stahlman Hannie (1996)
67. Nancy Smiler Levinson Annie’s World (1990)
102. Richard A. Steel Touchdown (2000)
68. Nancy Smiler Levinson World of her Own (1981)
103. J. Cutler Stephen and Jodi, Cutler Del Dottore Rally
69. Ann Martin Jessi's Secret Language (The Babysitter's
Club #16) (reprinted 1996)
104. Bonnie Highsmith Taylor The Best Sign (1999)
70. Marlee Matlin Deaf Child Crossing (2002)
105. Theodore Taylor Tuck Triumphant (1992)
71. Marlee Matlin & Doug Cooney Nobody's Perfect (2006)
106. Victoria Thompson Murder on Lenox Hill (2005)
72. Lynn E. McElfresh Can You Feel the Thunder (1999)
107. Victoria Thompson Murder on St. Mark's Place (2000)
73. Dandi Daley Mackall & Terry Brown Please Reply
108. Jean Ure Muddy Four Paws (1999)
109. Augusta Waite Two Boys Go Fishing (1999)
74. Sarah Miller Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
(2007) 110. Penny Warner Dead Body Language (1997)
75. Marissa Moss Amelia Lends a Hand (2002) 111. Penny Warner Sign of Foul Play (1997)
76. Donna Jo Napoli Friends Everywhere (1999) 112. Penny Warner Right to Remain Silent (1998)
77. John Neufeld Gaps in Stone Walls (1998) 113. Penny Warner A Quiet Undertaking : A Connor West-
phal Mystery (2000)
78. Charles O‟Brien Mute Witness (2001)
114. Penny Warner Blind Side: A Connor Westphal Mystery
79. Charles O‟Brien Black Gold (2002)
80. Deb Piper Jake's the Name, Sixth Grade's the Game
115. Penny Warner Silence Is Golden: A Connor Westphal
81. Deb Piper Those Sevy Blues (2001)-- sequel to Jake's
116. Elizabeth Webster Johnnie Alone (1986)
the Name (#70)
117. M. A. Windsor, Margaret Windsor Pretty Saro (1986)
82. Ron Podmore A Sign to Remember (2002)
118. Elizabeth Yates, Gloria Repp Hue and Cry (1991)
83. Penny Pollock Keeping It Secret (1986)
119. Elizabeth Yates Sound Friendships: The Story of Willa
84. Patrick J. Quinn Matthew Pinkowski's Special Summer
and Her Hearing Dog (1992)
120. Linda Yeatman, Hugh Casson Buttons: The Dog Who
85. Patrick J. Quinn Signs Of Spring (1995)
Was More Than a Friend (1988)
86. Martin Peter Quigley Original Colored House of David
121. Joy Zelonky, Barbara Bejna, Shirlee Jensen I Can't Al-
ways Hear You (1980)
87. Delia Ray Singing Hands (2006)
(Continued from page 2)
decided against publication).
hearing aids, cued speech, cochlear implants for young
SPW: At the end of the book, Biney becomes the hero and
children as well as adults, and greater efforts to involve
gets the guy! Before that, she has to overcome her fear
deaf children with children who hear well. Communica-
of using the telephone. As an author, what fears have
tion is still dependent on how much the deaf/
you had to overcome?
hearing-impaired children can understand,
absorb and then contribute in a group.
LH: The telephone has been very frustrating. I
had so many misunderstandings, that at one time
SPW: Biney struggled to communicate with her
my frustration shoed in my voice. I quit using the
hearing peers and then used a hearing aid to
telephone. I used TTY for many years. With dete-
help her hear more. Do you think that Ameri-
riorating eyesight, I no longer use TTY. All my
can Sign Language would have given her the
life, I depended on lip-reading along with what-
confidence that she needed or further iso-
ever sound I heard when personally visiting
friends. I learned to be frank that I was deaf and
LH: ASL probably would have given Biney more
depended on lip reading. Even so, I always re-
confidence in communicating with others
ceived unpredictable reactions. Some responded
who knew ASL, but not with children or adults
and talked slowly, some even asked questions
who do not know ASL. Can the ones using
about my deafness. However, a few would not
sign language understand general talk with-
have anything to do with me and turned away to
A Season of Change
out it? Can the deaf person talk clearly? The
talk to somebody else. I left them alone.
ability would vary with different individuals.
SPW: Similar to Biney, have you ever faced people who
SPW: If you had to write a 2007 follow-up story of Biney,
thought you weren‟t capable as a deaf person? How did
where would she be today and what would she be do-
you prove them wrong?
ing (career wise)?
LH: Yes, I met quite a few people, both as a teen and as an
LH: Biney would try to attend college majoring in art and
adult, who felt I wasn‟t capable as a deaf person. I was
biology. She would have applied to a position in a mu-
even told by a teacher that I wasn‟t capable of taking
seum as artist and researcher. Where she would be
courses through distance education. Since I have dete-
accepted is another story. (I have written the story, but
riorating eyesight, I have been taking Braille through
distance education for the past five years at The Hadley
School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois. In October
2006, I received the Richard Kinney Challenge of Living
Award “in recognition of your strength and persever-
ance in achieving independence through distance edu-
“My advice … is to explore, to be
positive, to be persistent in reaching SPW: What advice would you give to young people who are
reading your book for the first time today?
LH: My advice for young people is to explore, to be posi-
tive, to be persistent in reaching goals and if possible,
to try adaptive equipment to keep in touch with others.
Bailes, C.N. (2002). Mandy: A critical look at the portrayal of a characters in adolescent literature (Doctoral dissertation,
Deaf character in children‟s literature. Multicultural Per- University of Virginia, 2007), Dissertation Abstracts Inter-
spectives, 4(4), 3-9. national, 67 (10), 3746A.
Batson, T. (1980). The deaf person in fiction: From sainthood Schwartz, A.V. (1980). Books mirror society: a study of chil-
to Rorschach blot. Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, dren‟s materials. Interracial Books for Children Bulletin,
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thology of deaf characters in literature. Washington, D.C.: females in realistic picture books (1998-2004). University
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When not working on the YADC Newsletter,
Sharon and Julie enjoy having lunch, drinking
coffee, and sharing stories of their awesome lives
with one another.
Read the YADC blog!
Adolescent Literature with Deaf Characters Blog
MyShelf (includes a Deaf Characters shelf)
ADCO Hearing Products Teen Book List
Children‟s Literature Website
van Asch Deaf Education Centre (VADEC) Chapter Book List
Deaf Internet Bookstore
Deaf in Literature Biography
The Dragon Lode
Odyssey Winter 2002
Listen, Hear! Deaf Characters in Popular Fiction