The best deaf culture books 📚

Browse the best books on deaf culture as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States

Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States

By Irene Leigh, Jean Andrews, Raychelle Harris, Topher Gonzáles Ávila

Why this book?

The authors explore the complexity of deaf identities, looking at race, sexual behavior/orientation, disability, and the range of different experiences deaf people have, from being born into a family that signs to not even learning about sign languages until they are (nearly) adults.

From the list:

The best books about deaf culture

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Book cover of Silent Fear

Silent Fear

By Lance Morcan, James Morcan

Why this book?

Silent Fear is a stunning mystery novel, scary because it is set in an institute for the blind during a lockdown. There is a serial killer on the loose and no inmates have the ability to see their persecutor. Yes, this one gets right inside your mind and I felt privileged to read it.

From the list:

The best fiction books for curious minds

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Book cover of Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood

Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood

By Paddy Ladd

Why this book?

This book gives the British side of things, focusing on the division between viewing deafness as a medical condition (a deficiency) and viewing it as a cultural condition (which leads to the birth of sign languages).  This book asks what a culture is, truly, and shows how cultures grow up around deaf signing communities.

From the list:

The best books about deaf culture

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Book cover of The Deaf Way II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers

The Deaf Way II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers

By Tonya M. Stremlau

Why this book?

This has poetry, essays, short stories, and a play, all by internationally acclaimed deaf writers.  These give you a starting point. From there, you need to take a sign language course and start watching videos of deaf poems, stories, and jokes. What a grand world of wonder awaits you!

From the list:

The best books about deaf culture

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Book cover of Inside Deaf Culture

Inside Deaf Culture

By Carol Padden, Tom Humphries

Why this book?

This book looks at the history of hearing people’s attitudes toward deaf people and sign languages in America over the past two centuries, and how those attitudes and the social institutions that stem from them have affected the ways deaf people see themselves. Despite the suppression of their language, deaf signers managed to keep American Sign Language alive through clubs and theater. Today, sign languages have achieved recognition of their full status as natural human languages.

From the list:

The best books about deaf culture

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Book cover of Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War

Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War

By Harry G. Lang

Why this book?

Deaf people served as soldiers, nurses, cooks, even spies during the American Civil War. This book celebrates their bravery and how they applied their skills to fight for what they believed in.

From the list:

The best books about deaf culture

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