Resources About Deaf Culture and History

The following resources are ones that I personally recommend and are not a comprehensive list of available resources on this topic.

For Children

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin and Jez Tuya. Whitman, 2016.

William Ellsworth Hoy has long been a hero of the Deaf community – a record-setting baseball player who played for multiple National League teams and changed the way that baseball was played. Churnin’s approachable text and Tuya’s expressive illustrations take readers along with William’s struggles to be taken seriously by the hearing world. Read an interview with the author at

What is it Like to be Deaf? by Deborah Kent. Enslow, 2012.

A clearly-written, accurate, and accessible overview for children.

My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language by Emily Arnold McCully. Hyperion, 2008.

The story of the first school for the deaf in the United States from the point of view of Alice Cogswell, the young deaf girl who inspired Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s trek to Europe to learn how to teach deaf children.

Moses Goes to the Circus by Isaac Millman. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003. Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. Moses Sees a Play by Isaac Millman. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004. Moses Goes to School by Isaac Millman. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.

These inventive picture books feature Moses, who is Deaf, and teach some basic signs along with information about schools for the deaf and intercultural communication.

Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg and Colin Bootman. Peachtree, 2005.

A hearing boy and his deaf father bond over their shared love of baseball and Jackie Robinson in 1947 Brooklyn.

Learn to Sign the Fun Way: Let Your Fingers Do the Talking with Games, Puzzles, and Activities in American Sign Language by Penny Warner.  Prima, 2001.

This book incorporates basic ASL learning with information about Deaf Culture and games and puzzles for active learning.

The Printer by Myron Uhlberg and Ted Papoulas. Peachtree, 2003.

This unique picture book presents the tale of a deaf printer who, through the use of American Sign Language, is able to communicate with other deaf printers over the roar of the printing presses, and save their hearing counterparts from a fire.

The Sound of All Things by Myron Uhlberg and Ted Papoulas. Peachtree, 2016.

This autobiographical story follows a hearing boy and his deaf parents on a trip to Coney Island in the 1930s.

Teaching about ASL and Deaf Culture:


For Teens and Adults

General Deaf Culture Resources:

Audism Unveiled. DVD. DawnSignPress, 2008. Also online at

Essential viewing for any student of Deaf Culture. Presented in American Sign Language with subtitles for the signing impaired.

American Deaf Culture (Info to Go from the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center)

Canadian Association of the Deaf:

Community and Culture FAQ from the National Association of the Deaf:

Deaf Culture Digital Library:

An online guide from the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library, featuring resources about Deaf Culture, American Sign Language, accessibility, and more.

Deaf History Month: Audism (5:47):

Deaf Linx: Fighting Audism Through Empowerment and Education:


Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN):

High-quality ASL music videos performed by Deaf artists.

For Hearing People Only: Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions about The Deaf Community, Its Culture, and The “Deaf Reality” by Matthew S. Moore and Linda Levitan. Deaf Life Press, 2003.

Information about Deaf Culture in a question and answer format.

Reading Between the Signs: Intercultural Communication for Sign Language Interpreters by Anna Mindess. Nicholas Brealey, 2013.

Though the second half of this book is specifically geared to interpreters, the first half is an excellent overview of the American Deaf Culture, American Hearing Culture, and intercultural communication for anyone.

National Association of the Deaf:

Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. Harvard University Press, 1988.

Illuminates the life and culture of Deaf people from the inside, through their everyday talk, their shared myths, their art and performances, and the lessons they teach one another.

Inside Deaf Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries. Harvard University Press, 2006.

Two Deaf authors reveal their own very different entrances into their culture and, by illuminating moments in American Deaf history, clearly show that Deaf people live culturally, and linguistically, complex lives.

Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf by Oliver Sacks. HarperCollins, 1989.

There’s a reason this book is a classic in the field of Deaf Studies: Sacks weaves together history, linguistics, and a deep understanding of culture to create a compelling introduction to American Sign Language and Deaf culture for the uninitiated.

See What I Mean: Differences Between Deaf and Hearing Cultures. Online program, also available on DVD.

An interactive program that compares Hearing and Deaf cultures.

A Sign of Respect: Strategies for Effective Deaf/Hearing Interactions by Thomas Holcomb and Anna Mindess. DVD.

An interactive program that compares teaches about navigating signing environments.

Signing Etiquette:


Deaf History:

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce. Harvard University Press, 1985.

The remarkable story of Martha’s Vineyard, which once boasted a deaf population so large that deaf people were completely integrated into the life of the island and everyone used sign language.

A Journey into the DEAF-WORLD by Harlan L. Lane, Robert Hoffmeister, and Benjamin J. Bahan. DawnSign Press, 1996.

A comprehensive look at the Deaf world in the United States as seen by three giants in the field of deaf studies.

When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf by Harlan Lane. David McKay, 1984.

The early history of Deaf life in America. This remarkable creative nonfiction book is written from the point of view of Laurent Clerc, the first Deaf teacher in the United States and co-founder of the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States.

Laurent Clerc (1785-1869):

“Celebrate Deaf History with Clerc-Gallaudet Week, December 3-9” by Kathy MacMillan.

“Keep ‘Em Reading: Deaf History Month and ASL” by Kathy MacMillan. Library Sparks web resource, May 2006.

Recommended resources for teachers and librarians, along with games and activities suitable for the classroom or programs.

The Deaf Community in America: History in the Making by Melvia and Ronald Nomeland.  McFarland, 2011.

Traces the history of the education of and the social world of deaf people through the years. Topics include attitudes toward the deaf in Europe and America and the evolution of communication and language.

The Preservation of American Sign Language. DVD. Sign Media Inc., 2003.

Contains 8 vintage performances taken from films in the Gallaudet University Archives. A portion of the film is shown followed by a comparison of some of the older signs with contemporary sign formation.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet:

Through Deaf Eyes. DVD. PBS, 2007 and informational website:

A 2-hour documentary that explores 200 years of Deaf life in America.

A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America. By John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch, Barry A. Gallaudet University Press, 1989.

An overview of the early days of Deaf Culture in the United States.

Name Signs:

The Book of Name Signs: Naming in American Sign Language by Sam Supalla. DawnSignPress, 1992.

The classic text on the linguistic and cultural significance of name signs in American Sign Language.

Name Signs – ASL and Deaf Culture (ASL That) (2:34):

Name signs: naming custom in Deaf culture:

Name Signs, What’s That About by Lydia L. Callis: