When children read books they want to find books that they can identify with. Children of color want to read books in which there are children of color. Girls want to read books in which there are strong girls (like the Mighty Girl) series.
Children with hearing loss who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants want to read books about children with hearing loss who wear technology.
There are two new books which deserve review. MIGHTY MILA is a book about a little girl named Mila who has SUPER EARS. In this case her SUPER EARS are cochlear implants. She talks about what she can hear with her super ears. She hears big sounds and tiny sounds. In this book she decides to prove that she can do everything by herself. She can get dressed by herself, play by herself. She uses her ears to help her find what is missing. Sometimes she needs help. Her dad gives her the bike but without training wheels. It turns out to be harder than Mila expects. But when she asks for help it turn out that her parents can help her and she learns to ride by herself.
The thing I like best about this book is that there are questions at the end of the book that families, clinicians and teachers can use to build discussion.
The book is written by Mila’s mom, Katie Petruzziello and illustrated by Nadia Sarell. It is published by Might Books LLC.
NOW HEAR THIS : HARPER SOARS WITH HER MAGIC EARS
This book is written in the first person by a little girl named Harper who has a hearing loss. She describes that she was born with a hearing loss caused by a gene that both parents had and that it required lots of trips to the audiologist and the ENT.
She talks about getting earmolds and hearing aids and choosing the color she liked – blue earmolds and silver hearing aids. And then she got a cochlear implant. She played listening games during programming sessions and got rewards like lollipops and stickers. She talks about people asking her what it is like to hear with a cochlear implant and she says it is the only way she ever has heard. She says it helps to face the person talking to her. She talks about different sounds, and the fact that being born with hearing loss has not stopped her one bit.
She plays all kinds of sports and plans on winning. She wants everyone to know that no what problem you are born with you can soar. Harper also has a brother who has a hearing loss and she talks about how it’s good to have a sibling who understands what it is like to have a hearing loss.
This book is written for older kids. While there are some drawings it is mostly written material. I would say that once a child has a language level of 3rd or 4th grade this book could be read to them.
This book is published by Gatekeeper Press and is written by Valli and Harper Gideons and illustrated by Priscila Soares.
How to use books
We know that it is critical to read to children. As we read we may adapt the language to match the child’s language level. But don’t just read the text. Talk about the book. Talk about what is happening.
“Why do you think Mila made such a mess in her room?”. “ Did Harper like her hearing aids? Why did she like them? Do you think she ever felt sad about wearing hearing aids?” “ Do you ever feel sad about wearing hearing aids?” What was the cat doing? Why was the cat doing that? Have you ever seen a purple cat?”
Talk about the book. Use it as an opportunity to build new language. Use it as an opportunity to develop ideas and to analyze why someone has done what they did.
But mostly READ READ READ. Even once a child can read for themselves families should read to them because we can read at a higher level than they can and it gives the opportunity to keep building skills.