In honour of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week coming up this month, we’ve dedicated all our posts to the issue of diversity in fiction. For more information on NAIDOC Week, visit their website here.
I like to read diverse books, I think it’s important but it wasn’t until one of my favourite small readers asked me for a book with a hero/heroine ‘like her’ that I really started to understand. Even now, I know I’m only doing my best and can’t completely get it.
This small reader has significant hearing loss. She’s not completely deaf and she doesn’t think it should be a ‘plot’ so much but she wants to read about girls like her. Having adventures, friend issues, falling in love, fighting dragons – and maybe wearing their hearing aids or getting into trouble cos the battery is flat and they have to pretend to have some idea of what’s going on around them.
She gave me advice when I had a character go deaf in my sci-fi series (LIFER, TEMPER) and is helping me with my first hard of hearing contemporary heroine. I feel getting the details right is important but am aware they won’t be right for all readers who might have hearing loss. I believe the character is more than her hearing and hope to show that. It’s a challenge for me as a hearing person, but one I think is worthwhile.
Have you read any books with a character with hearing loss?
I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.