This holiday season, as families come together for Christmas, some of your youngest relatives may be meeting some your oldest relatives for the very first time.
Young children are often unfiltered and can be prone to asking embarrassing questions or blurting out somewhat insensitive thoughts on delicate subject matters, such as hearing loss. So it’s probably a good idea to get all of their tricky questions out of the way beforehand.
But how do you broach the concept of hearing loss with them in advance?
Luckily, there are a number of wonderful children’s books on the topic.
El Deafo by Cece Bell is a cute graphic novel that tells the story of a rabbit, named Cece, who is starting at a new school and just wants to make friends. At her old school, all the other kids in her class had hearing loss. But at her new school, she’s different, and these kids all stare at the giant hearing aid she wears strapped to her chest. One day she discovers that her Phonic Ear can hear much further than just the classroom, it can hear her teacher down the hallway, and all the way into the teacher’s lounge. So she uses this superpower to become El Deafo, Listener For All.
Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson and Karen George is the story of a boy who rescues a fairy named Bessie-Belle, who can grant wishes but is hard of hearing. Bessie-Belle’s problem hearing is made all the more difficult by the fact that Freddie tends to mumble a lot. Together they work through the issue so that Bessie-Belle can grant Freddie his correct wishes. This is a great tale that deals with hearing loss and the challenges it can present when people fail to speak clearly.
Rivers’ Walk by Nathalie Johnson is an inspiring story about a bunny rabbit that discovers how much better she can hear when she wears her hearing aids.
Maxi’s Super Ears by Maggie Klein follows Maxi on his journey into the world of hearing as he gets his first set of hearing aids. This book can help children learn empathy for others with hearing loss, while also sharing the message that kids can experience hearing loss too.
Sophie’s Tales: Overcoming Obstacles by Melanie Paticoff and Chrissie Vales tells the tale of a little dog that uses a cochlear implant to help her with her hearing loss. In the story, Sophie meets Champ, a labradoodle who needs to wear glasses in order to see. It’s a nice story that compares wearing hearing aids to wearing glasses and teaches the lesson winning isn’t the only way to have fun.
Elana’s Ears, or How I Became the Best Big Sister in the World by Gloria Roth Lowell and Karen Stormer Brooks. This book is the story of Lacey, a dog who is at first confused and upset when her family brings home Elana, a new baby. Lacey eventually becomes very protective and loving of the new child when it’s discovered that Elana has hearing loss. The dog then becomes her guardian angel, and best big sister in the world. The book is aimed at siblings of people with hearing loss in order to help them better understand the issues facing their family members.
Any of these books would make great Christmas gifts from grandparents looking to explain the subject of hearing loss to their grandkids and help to give them a greater understanding of hearing aids and hearing loss.
If you have suggestions for other books that tackle this subject please let us know.