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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

New Blog Alert (and I do not DO new blog alerts normally)

Last year I served on the Newbery committee which was fun, awesome, and ultimately very exhausting.  Attempting to read every children’s book published in 2006 turned out to be quite a feat.  After a while I would notice weird trends in the titles that passed under my nose.  Kids who got their hands injured in machinery (at least 4).  Sentient cheese (2).  That kind of thing.  Less a trend and more an interesting type of book was the middle grade novel featuring deaf characters.  I call this interesting because all the books that I read of this sort  were really really good.  There was Singing Hands by Delia Ray and the great Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby. 

I mention all this in preface to the fact that until now I was unaware of the remarkably well-written blog Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature.  There are plenty of blogs out there that focus on a single topic in literature for young people, but not all them contain the sheer levels of time and attention that Sharon Pajka-West, Ph.D has poured into this site.  Here’s what she says about the blog:
Acquiring fictional books that include deaf characters can be time-consuming and challenging for teachers and librarians. The research examining deaf characters in fiction is extremely limited and most of the recent articles focus on children’s literature– specifically picture books. I hope this Blog assists teachers in recommending books with characters with whom our students can relate. I also hope this Blog assists in recommending books with multiple realities of the D/deaf human experience. While my primary focus is adolescent and Young Adult chapter books, I will add information about children’s literature and adult ‘cross-over’ texts from time to time.
To be fair, the site really looks at children AND adolescent literature, not just YA titles.  At the moment Sharon has up an interview with Sarah Miller, the author of Miss Spitfire.  Why should you read this?  Well, aside from its innately fascinating text there’s a picture of Sarah wearing a Pigeon t-shirt that makes me wish I owned one of my own.

Sharon’s other posts also bear watching.  There’s an interview with David Mack, the creator of the deaf graphic novel character Echo (shown here):

There are reviews, looks at new titles, and even a posting on International Children’s Books with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Characters

Discovering a site like this out of the blue can be a bit overwhelming so I suggest you take some time out of your busy schedule and explore it at length.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. How fabulous! I’m going to tell so many former colleagues about this one.

  2. Tricia Stohr-Hunt says:

    Oh Betsy, I love that shirt too! Go to and search for adult T-shirts. I love the pigeon, but I think I may Click Clack Read or the one with Viola Swamp!

  3. Tricia Stohr-Hunt says:

    Okay, the word need/want was left out. Pick whichever suits your fancy!

  4. Thanks for sharing–what a great site!