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Deaf Community Book List

For Hearing People Only (2003)

"For Hearing People Only" is written for people who have questions about Deaf culture, sign language, and Deaf life in general, and need a quick answer. It is not intended to be an in-depth excursion into a vast and complex subject, but to provide accurate and provocative answers to over a hundred persistent questions. It is a handbook for beginners. Each chapter is designed as an independent unit focusing on one topic. It’s for students and casual readers taking a peek into this subject for the first time. It can be used as a handy in-class or supplementary text in beginning ASL, Deaf Studies, or Introduction to Deaf Culture classes.

Leah Hagar Cohen (1994)

Train go sorry: Inside a Deaf world.

This is a good introductory book for grades 9-12 and early college, it talks about Ms. Cohen's experiences as the daughter of the principal for Lexington School for the Deaf and as a member of the Deaf community.

Carol Padden and Tom Humphries (1988)

Deaf in America: Voices from a culture.

This book, along with Harlan Lane's, stresses the cultural aspects of the Deaf community in the United States. It's a good way to understand the cultural position and one of the best texts out there.

Harlan Lane (1976)

When the mind hears: A history of the deaf.

This was one of the first real histories of the founding of the Deaf community in the United States, tracing its roots back to France. It's written in the first person which is a bit odd, but definitely a good read. The only problem is that it's quite big and heavy, might be a bit too much for a grade school child to handle.

Harlan Lane (1992)

The mask of benevolence: Disabling the Deaf community.

This is Harlan Lane's most famous book and was widely acclaimed when it came out as a manifesto of the Deaf community. It brings up the topic of oralism and the history of oppression the Deaf community has suffered. Its pitfalls are perhaps that it doesn't account for the hard of hearing perspective or talk about differences within the Deaf community, but as a whole, it's an excellent book to read and discuss.

Nora Ellen Groce (1985)

Everyone here spoke sign language: Hereditary deafness on Martha's Vineyard.

This is a fascinating study of an island off the shore of Massachusetts where there was a strong strain of hereditary deafness that caused a large percentage of islanders to be born deaf. Unexpectedly, this meant that since everyone knew someone who was deaf, everyone spoke sign language and there wasn't much social differentiation between the deaf and non-deaf. A must-read.

Raymond Luczak (1993)

Eyes of desire: A deaf gay & lesbian reader.

If you're gay or lesbian or deaf or just curious, this book is absolutely wonderful. It's collection of short autobiographical stories by gay and lesbian Deaf individuals and gives good insight into this minority within a minority.

Paul Michael Preston (1994)

Mother father deaf : Living between sound and silence.

This book is about CODAs -- children of deaf adults. If you're a CODA, it's a must read. Even if you're not, it's a good way to understand the difficulties faced when Deaf people meet and mingle with hearing people; and how we can overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers between the two.

Lou Ann Walker (1994)

Hand, heart, and mind: The story of the education of America's deaf people.

This is perhaps by far the best children's book on the deaf. It's designed for grade-school kids to get a better understanding of what the deaf community is about.

John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch (1989)

A place of their own: Creating the deaf community in America.

This was also one of the leading books on the deaf community and still remains a major text on the topic.

Henry Kisor (1990)

What's that pig outdoors: A memoir of deafness.

Kisor's book on his experiences as a deaf person from the oral perspective is a good counterbalance to the cultural Deaf position. Read it with Padden and Humphrey and compare.

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