Resources About Deaf Culture and History

For Children

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.

Kids Meet A Deaf Person (HiHo Kids) (7:47): Hearing kids meet a Deaf women who answers their questions about ASL and life as a Deaf person

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.

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.

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.

Victory Week by Walter P. Kelley and Tony Landon McGregor. Deaf Life Press, 1998: A child’s-eye view of the March 1988 “Deaf President Now” protest.

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 and What is Sign Language? by Deborah Kent. Enslow, 2012.: A set of clearly-written, accurate, and accessible overviews for children.


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.

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.

Canadian Association of the Deaf: the oldest national consumer organization of, by and for Deaf individuals in Canada for having its interests represented at national level.

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

Deaf Cultural Resource Center: A subsidiary of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (FOLDA), which was founded in 1986 by Alice L. Hagemeyer, the first Librarian to the Deaf Community at D.C. Public Library, this site has lots of information about events, historical information, programming ideas, and more.

Deaf Culture: Info to Go from the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

Deaf Culture PEPNet Tipsheet: Created as part of a grant from the US Department of Education, this tipsheet is available in PDF form and makes a handy guide and handout. Written by Professor Linda Siple, Assistant Professor Leslie Greer, and Associate Professor Barbra Ray Holcomb, all of the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.

Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity by H-Dirksen L Bauman and Joseph J Murray. University of Minnesota Press, 2014.: Explores the concept of Deaf Gain – the opposite of hearing loss.

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.

Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN): High-quality ASL music videos performed by Deaf artists.

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.

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center: The premiere source of information about deafness online, with fact sheets, teacher guides, information about assistive devices, and more.

Maryland 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.

Name Signs – ASL and Deaf Culture: A brief video explaining name signs in ASL from ASL That.

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: The premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

See What I Mean: Differences Between Deaf and Hearing Cultures. Treehouse video.Online program, also available on DVD: An interactive program that compares Hearing and Deaf cultures.

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.

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.

Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox. Simon and Schuster, 2007: Documents life in a remote Bedouin village in Israel whose residents communicate through a unique method of sign language used by both hearing and non-hearing citizens, in an account that offers insight into the relationship between language and the human mind

Teaching about ASL and Deaf Culture: Suggested resources from Louise Sattler.


Deaf History:

Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage (Images of America series) by Kathleen Brockway. Arcadia, 2014: A photographic history of Baltimore’s Deaf community.

Deaf: Cultures and Communication, 1600 to the Present (Yale University Library Exhibit): This excellent historical overview features documents, photos, and more.

Detroit’s Deaf Heritage (Images of America series) by Kathleen Brockway. Arcadia, 2016: A photographic history of Detroit’s Deaf community.

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

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.

Deaf Heritage in Canada: A Distinctive, Diverse and Enduring Culture by Clifton F. Carbin, (1996) a project of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf and published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited. Complete text available online for educational and research purposes and for your enjoyment.

Gallaudet University Archives and Deaf Collections: An extensive digitized collection of books, videos, periodicals, and more.

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 Fair Chance in the Race of Life: The Role of Gallaudet University in Deaf History by Brian H. Greenwald and John Vickrey Van Cleve. Gallaudet University Press, 2008.

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.

“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.

Laurent Clerc (1785-1869): A brief biography of the first Deaf teacher in the United States, whose work led to the development of American Sign Language.

The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community by Harlan Lane. DawnSignPress, 1999.

The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry by Harlan Lane. Oxford University Press,  2011.

A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America by John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch. Gallaudet University Press, 1989: An overview of the early days of Deaf Culture in the United States.

Through Deaf Eyes. DVD. PBS, 2007 and informational website: A 2-hour documentary that explores 200 years of Deaf life in America.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet: A biography of the founder of the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States.

Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood by Paddy Ladd. Multilingual Matters, 2003.

The Week the World Heard Gallaudet by Jack R. Gannon. Gallaudet University Press, 1989: An inspiring photo history of the historic Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet, which led to the appointment of the first deaf president in the university’s history.

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.



Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School (Deaf Lives) by Gina A. Oliva. Gallaudet University Press, 2005.

Deaf Like Me by Thomas S. Spradley and James P. Spradley. Gallaudet University Press, 1985.

Deaf Utopia: A Memoir – and a Love Letter to a Way of Life by Nyle DiMarco. William Morrow, 2022.

I’ll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin. Gallery, 2010.

Lessons in Laughter: the Autobiography of a Deaf Actor by Bernard Bragg and Eugene Bergman. Gallaudet University Press.

Teaching from the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story by Harry G. Lang. Gallaudet University Press, 2007.

TRAIN GO SORRY: Inside a Deaf World by Leah Hager Cohen. Vintage, 1995.

What’s That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness by Henry Kisor. University of Illinois Press, 2010.