Recently, Little Bit has become interested in Sign Language or ASL. As a baby, we used basic signs with her to help her communicate and now she wants to learn more. We started looking into books that teach sign language and I discovered so many wonderful books that can be used by people from all backgrounds and ages to learn ASL. On this list we have included fictional stories and how to books. We hope this inspires you to learn more about ASL and the Deaf community.
Books About and Featuring Sign Language
More Resources for Little Book Lovers
The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.
Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.
Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of Book-Based Activity Calendars so that you can extend the fun with a special book each week.
Stories Featuring Sign Language
Hands & Hearts by Donna Jo Napoli – Hands & Hearts is a beautiful story of a mother and daughter’s day at the beach. The text is poetic, simple and includes one word on each page that is shown in sign language in the margins.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears told in Sign Language by Harry Bornstein – Goldilocks and the Three Bears tells the original tale but each page includes the story told in sign language. The illustrations and text are included along with the signs for each word so you can tell the story with sign language and read the story.
Sign and Sing Along: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Annie Kubler – This version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star includes illustrations of how to sign the song and the words. Readers can be very interactive with the book by singing along and signing the song. Annie Kubler also has the following books that include sign language:
Story Time With Signs & Rhymes by Dawn Babb Prochovnic – Story Time With Signs & Rhymes is a series of books that feature different stories told in rhyme and include signs throughout. The illustrations are very childlike and soft. This is a good series to use if you are introducing sign language to young readers. The series includes the following books:
Stories with Deaf Characters
The Printer by Myron Uhlberg – The Printer is set in New York in the 1940’s. The narrator is a young boy whose deaf father works as a printer in a large print factory. The story focuses on how his father often feels disconnected from his hearing co-workers, but when a fire breaks out, the young boy’s father must save everyone. I love the historical setting and how readers are able to see how the deaf father becomes a hero.
Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad by Anita Riggio – Secret Signs is a wonderful mix of deaf culture and Civil War history tied into one. In this story, a young deaf boy knows his mother is involved in the Underground Railroad. One day Slave Trackers come to their home and hold the mother and it is up to the young boy to go to the market and pass along the sign. This is a very exciting book and shows that throughout history deaf people have helped with historical events, such as the Underground Railroad.
Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg – Dad, Jackie, and Me is a great story of a boy and his dad during all he knows about baseball. This is a great story that includes information about Jackie Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers.
Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman – Moses Goes to a Concert is one book in a series about Moses, a deaf boy. In this book, he travels with his deaf classmates to a concert. The teacher has a special surprise for the students and readers will love learning how Moses and his friends are able to enjoy the concert. The series also includes the following books:
Let’s Hear it For Almigal! by Wendy Kupfer – Let’s Hear it For Almigal is a sweet story about a little girl that is receiving cochlear implants. Almigal wants to hear everything in the world around her and readers will enjoy seeing her hear all these things. This is a great book for kids with or without disabilities as the book shows how everyone is unique and special in their own way.
Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin – Dad and Me in the Morning is a sweet story of a boy and his dad as they walk each morning. The boy is deaf and his dad is learning ASL and their morning walks are their special times. This is a great book that introduces readers to the relationship between a deaf child and their parent.
Silent Observer by Christy Mackinnon – Silent Observer is the sweet story of Christy Mackinnon’s childhood in 19th century Canada. Christy is left deaf after catching whooping cough and readers are able to experience her world from the fun adventures she has to the amazing people she meets, such as Helen Keller.
Instructional Books for Readers (signs are described with words)
The Kids’ Guide to Sign Language by Kathryn Clay – The Kids’ Guide to Sign Language includes detailed descriptions for each sign. The book does not show signs for individual words but instead focuses on sentences commonly used.
All Day Long: Teaching Your Baby to Sign by Lora Heller – All Day Long is a board book for littles ones that shows a photograph of a single sign on each page. Below the photograph is a description of how to make the sign. The words are common words that little ones would use throughout the day such as book, thank you, more, toy, eat, etc.
Instructional Books for Non-readers (signs are described with picture/illustration)
Signing in My World: Sign Language for Kids by Kathryn Clay – Signing in My World is a great book for kids that want to learn to sign. Little Bit has become very interested in sign language and this is an easy book that she can learn from with our without us reading to her. Each page has a few words, with an associated illustration, the sign and a short description. There are several books in this series which each focus on a different area of interest.
Sign Language: My First 100 Words by Michiyo Nelson – Sign Language: My First 100 Words is a bright and colorful. The book shows signs for everything from people and sports to numbers and food. The signs are shown on the side of the pages with illustrations in the middle of the page.
Learn to Sign the Fun Way: Let Your Fingers Do the Talking with Games, Puzzles, and Activities in American Sign by Penny Warner – Learn to Sign the Fun Way is a book designed for teachers or parents that are teaching sign language. The book includes illustrated signs and details on how to make the signs, games and activities to make learning ASL fun for learners of all ages.
My First Book Of Sign Language by Joan Holub – My First Book of Sign Language introduces readers to ASL by using the alphabet. Starting with A each page shows illustrations of items that begin with that letter and sings for some of the items at the bottom of the page. For example on the F page we see two friends walking by flowers, the sign for flower and friend are shown at the bottom.
Sign Language for Kids: A Fun & Easy Guide to American Sign Language by Lora Heller – Sign Language for Kids is a great book for teaching kids of all ages ASL. A wide range of vocabulary is included with pictures of the signs. Sentences/questions are also included that use signs from the book.