Ranked: Deaf Characters in Fiction (UPDATED)

When it comes to representation in literature, deafness is very rare. So I decided to go on a quest to find as many fiction books as possible portraying deaf characters, and rank these representations from best to not-best by genre. You can click the genres below to jump to the section or simply keep scrolling.

Note 2: I do not rank poetry or plays here, mostly because I struggle to read them. I do not plan to include baby books. I do not rank stories whose deaf characters are animals, such as bats, dogs, cats, etc. Humanoid aliens or humanoid mythical creatures (e.g., centaurs or fairies) are okay. I do not rank stories and fanfics posted on sites (e.g., Wattpad and Ao3) because I need to have limits/parameters for this blog.

Before I get into my ranking, I want to make a few things clear:

Now, without further ado, let’s get into the ranking.


Children’s and Middle Grade Books

2. Boo! by Dack Virnig (2018)

Note: I got the sense while reading that this is written for middle graders/high schoolers, but correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll move it to the YA/Adult.


YA and Adult Fiction

Note: The deaf author wrote this between 1917 and 1922, and it was published posthumously in 2015.


Comics and Graphic Novels


Short Stories / Flash Fiction



Anthologies

I have no complaints about these stories containing deaf characters. Why would I, when all these stories are by deaf or hard of hearing authors?

Titles with explicitly deaf characters are:

  • “The Meaning, not the Words” by Kristen Ringman
  • “The Ear” by Willy Conley
  • “Family Dog” by Raymond Luczak
  • “The Vibrating Mouth” by John Lee Clark
  • “The Job” by Maverick Smith
  • “The Climax” by Tonya Maria Stremlau
  • “In the Haunted Darkness” by Michael R. Collins
  • “Spirit Box” by Kristen Harmon
  • “Understanding” by Kelsey M. Young
  • “Online Dating” by Daniel Crosby

Other titles metaphorize deafness, such as “Hearing Aid” by David Langford and “Rui’s Story” by Bobby Cox and Joanne Yee.

Again, no complaints. This anthology includes 48 (mostly fiction) stories. Some stories are POV deaf or hearing, some are excerpts from larger stories, etc. There’s a real variety. Some stories have triggering content, including use of the r-slur.

Note: “Nympholepsy,” “Goodbye, My Valentine,” and “The Influence of the Spanish Inquisition on Colonial Europe” do not have explicitly deaf characters.

This anthology contains a variety of deaf lit, mostly poems and one play. There are a few short stories with deaf characters:

Upcoming Books to be Ranked (alphabetized by title)

Underlined titles are ones I have read but have not yet added to the ranking (probably because I haven’t written the Goodreads review yet). Titles ending with an asterisk (*) are the ones I’m most looking forward to, personally! Which book(s) are you most excited to see ranked? Let me know and I’ll prioritize it.

Did I miss any fiction books, comics/graphic novels, or short stories with a deaf character? Drop the title in a comment below so I can add it to my list! (Yes, I also look at manga, webtoons, and novelizations of films. No, I do not rank poetry, plays, baby books, books with deaf animals—bats, dogs, cats, etc., or online stories/fanfics.) You can give me titles in other languages. Although I can only read English and Spanish, I also have the patience to wait for translations.

  • 87th Precinct #12, 22, 27, 38, 45, 54 by Ed McBain
  • AAQPP: Deafness for Dummies by Helium
  • Alice by Sara Flanigan
  • All Alone (Except for My Dog Friday) by Claire H. Blatchford
  • Altered Land by Jules Hardy
  • Ancestors by Chenjerai Hove
  • Ancestral Truths by Sara Maitland
  • “And Sarah Laughed” by Joanne Greenberg
  • Apple Is My Sign by Mary Riskind
  • Aquarium by Yaara Shehori
  • Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan
  • The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard
  • At Face Value by Emily Franklin
  • Avatar Volume 1: A Look into Abyss by Juan Miguel Aguilera
  • Backspace by Stephen C. Caldwin
  • Balancing Act by Virginia M. Scott
  • Batman Beyond: Hear No Evil by Scott Peterson
  • Becky by Karen Hirsch
  • Belonging by Virginia M. Scott
  • The Best Sign by Bonnie Highsmith Taylor
  • Between Us and the Deaf by Gudmundina Haflidason
  • Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
  • “The Binnacle Boy” by Paul Fleischman
  • Bird-eyes by Madelyn Arnold *
  • The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson
  • The Bookseller’s Advice by Sue Breitner
  • Brain Storm by Richard Dooling
  • Breakaway by Ruth Hallman
  • The Bride and the Deaf Girl by Susannah Calloway
  • Broken Voices by Winona Rasheed
  • Bunker 10 by J. A. Henderson
  • Buy a Watch, Get a Wife! by Rachel Brown
  • Can You Feel It? by Pauline Findlay
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Case of the Los Angeles Chameleon: Featuring Comrade Dolgov of the KGB by Bud Long
  • The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron
  • The Center of Things by Jenny McPhee
  • Charlie and Frog (#1 and #2) by Karen Krane
  • “Charm” by Vivien Bretherton
  • Chattering by Louise Stern
  • Cheshire Moon by Nancy Butts
  • “Chickamauga” by Ambrose Bierce
  • Cole’s Redemption (Alpha Pack #5) by J.D. Tyler
  • Colonial Prime (Katieran Prime #7) by K.D. Jones
  • Conclusive Evidence by Al Macy
  • The Connor Westphal series by Penny Warner
  • The Cretan by Elisabeth Ayrton
  • A Criminal Appeal by D.R. Schanker
  • Crocodile Meatloaf by Nancy Simpson Levene
  • Crossed Wires by John E. Simpson
  • The Crystal Clipper by B. Roman
  • Dangerous Games by Joan Aiken
  • The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
  • Dark Pines by Will Dean
  • Dark Space (anthology), edited by Leonie Skye *
  • Dark Thirst by Sara Reinke
  • The Day is Ours by Hilda Lewis
  • Deaf Beneath by Libby Lael
  • The Deaf Boy Who Could Dance by Sue Laura *
  • Deaf Child Crossing series by Marlee Matlin
  • Deaf Culture Fairy Tales by Roz Rosen
  • Deaf Like Me by Dave Blackwell
  • Deaf Lit Extravaganza (anthology) edited by John Lee Clark
  • The Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger and Paul DuBois Jacobs
  • “The Deaf Mute” by Guy de Maupassant
  • Deaf Sentence by David Lodge
  • The Deaf Swordsman series by R. Janvier del Valle *
  • Deaf Wish by Geoff Cook
  • Deaf, Dumb, and Blonde (Baron #26) by Anthony Morton (John Creasey)
  • The Deaf-Mute Boy by Joseph Geraci
  • Death Signs by H. Edward Hunsburger
  • Deception’s Full Circle by J.G. Martinson
  • Different Ways of Being by Alan Balter
  • Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
  • Dire Wolves: Silence by Lena Austin
  • The Discreet Gentleman series by Kris Tualla
  • Doctor Marigold by Charles Dickens
  • Doggy Dare by Ben M. Baglio
  • Dovey Coe by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  • A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi
  • Echo by Clint Kelly
  • Eva Trout; Or, Changing Scenes by Elizabeth Bowen
  • “Fairer Than the Sun” by Juozas Grušas
  • Falling into Fear by Anne Colledge
  • Fear Into Darkness: A Trustice Jeffries Novel by Taylor Dye
  • The Fifth Vertex by Kevin Hoffman
  • Finding Abby by Virginia M. Scott
  • Fire Opal by Pamela Hill
  • First Man by Albert Camus
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
  • The Flying Fingers series by Jean F. Andrews
  • Flying to the Light by Elyse Salpeter
  • Follow the Music by L. C. Ireland *
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Forest of Aisling by D.S. Elstad
  • Fragile by Jandra Sutton
  • Freak City by Kathrin Schrockle
  • Friends Everywhere by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Gaps in Stone Walls by John Neufeld
  • Gather the Weeds by Patrick Kilgallon
  • The Ghost Rebellion (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #5) by Pip Ballantine
  • The Gift by Patrick O’Leary
  • The Gift of the Girl Who Couldn’t Hear by Susan Richards Shreve
  • Girl in the Shadows by V.C. Andrews
  • Girl of the Year: Joss series by Erin Falligant
  • Go to the Hill by Stevie Platt
  • The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
  • Good Luck Dog by Lilo Hess
  • Goodbye Tchaikovsky by Michael Thal
  • “Grayfish” by Pete Fromm
  • A Handful of Stories by Roz Rosen
  • A Handful of Spells by Kimberley A. Shaw *
  • Hannah Trevor Trilogy by Margaret Lawrence
  • Harriet Versus the Galaxy by Samantha Baines
  • Havana Heat by Darryl Brock
  • Hear Like the Deaf People by Cooper Nickerson
  • Hear No Evil series by Kate Chester
  • Hear-Say by Greg Cook
  • A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • Heart of the Woods: A Story of Life Among the Habitants in the Laurentian Foot-Hills by Isabel Adams
  • Heart Sounds by Michele Johns
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Heritage of Shannara (The Talismans of Shannara #4) by Terry Brooks
  • The Hero by Christina Bridges
  • ひだまりが聴こえる (I Hear the Sunspot) series by Yuki Fumino
  • The Hidden by Brian Fairchild
  • Hollow Earth by John and Carol E. Barrowman
  • Hot Laps by Steve Eubanks
  • “The House Across from the Deaf School” by Michael Gills
  • The House at the End of Ladybug Lane by Elise Primavera
  • Hue & Cry by Elizabeth Yates
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
  • I Believe You by Jeanne Grunert
  • Impossible Music by Sean Williams
  • “In Space, No One Can Hear” by Michael A. Burstein
  • In the Name of Silence by Arthur Luhn
  • In This Sign by Joanne Greenberg
  • InSight by Polly Iyer
  • Interrupt by Toni Dwiggins
  • “Into Silence” by Marlin Barton
  • Invisible by Cecily Anne Paterson
  • The Invisible Hero by Elizabeth Fensham
  • An Irish Christmas Feast by John B. Keane
  • Island of Silence by Carolyn Brimley Norris
  • Isles of View by C.F. Brunner
  • Jake’s the Name, Sixth Grade’s the Game and Those Sevy Blues by Deb Piper
  • “Jerry and Clarinda” by Henry William Bishop
  • Johnnie Alone by Elizabeth Webster
  • Just Like Everybody Else by Lillian Rosen
  • Kat’s Fall by Shelley Hrdlitschka *
  • Keeping It Secret by Penny Pollock
  • Keeping Silent and Spider Blue by Carla Damron
  • “The Key” by Eudora Welty
  • 聲の形 (A Silent Voice) series by Yoshitoki Ōima
  • Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter
  • The Legend of Five Great Deaf Ghost Stories by James Gillies Casey
  • “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor
  • “The Limner” by Julian Barnes
  • The Listening Eye (Miss Silver #28) by Patricia Wentworth
  • The Listening Silence by Marie Joseph
  • Listening to Mondrian by Nadia Wheatley
  • The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love by Ann Edwards Cannon
  • Loving April by Melvin Burgess
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan *
  • A Maiden’s Grave by Jeffery Deaver
  • Makara by Kristen Ringman *
  • Make Room for the Hollyhocks/Where the Birds Don’t Sing by Lorraine Hunter Hare
  • The Man with the Magic Eardrums by Harry Stephen Keeler
  • The Mansion by William Faulkner
  • Mary Mehan Awake by Jennifer Armstrong
  • Mask of the Jackal by Christine Harris
  • Max and the Millions by Ross Montgomery
  • Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  • Melody by V.C. Andrews
  • Men With Their Hands by Raymond Luczak
  • Miracle Girl by Keith Scribner
  • Moon Craving (Children of the Moon #2) by Lucy Monroe
  • “Moonglow” by Catherine Asaro (in Charmed Destinies anthology)
  • Morality Play by Barry Unsworth
  • A Mortal Bane by Roberta Gellis
  • Muddy Four Paws by Jean Ure
  • Murder Impossible by Jack Fitzgerald
  • Murder on Lexington Avenue (Gaslight Mystery #12) by Victoria Thompson
  • Mute Witness and Black Gold by Charles O’Brien
  • My Haunting Love by J.S. Wilsoncroft
  • My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
  • My Sister’s Voice by Mary Carter
  • Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
  • Never the Same Again by Clarissa Conrad
  • Nick’s Mission and Nick’s Secret by Claire H. Blatchford
  • Night Angel (Night #2.5) by Lisa Kessler
  • “Night Moves” by Ross Showalter
  • Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
  • “Of Silence and Slow Time” by Karawynn Long
  • Of Sound Mind by Jean Ferris
  • Of Such Small Differences by Joanne Greenberg
  • On the Ropes series by Aly Martinez
  • The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin
  • Ordeal by Silence: A Story of Medieval Times by Prudence Andrews
  • Other Nature by Stephanie A. Smith
  • Our John Willie by Catherine Cookson
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
  • Parrot’s Theorum by Dennis Guedj
  • Passion Hunter by Ira Cochin
  • “The Persistence of Vision” by John Varley
  • Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg
  • Portal Through the Pond by David K. Anderson
  • Portraits of Forgiveness by E. Patrick Hull
  • Precious Things by Gail R. Delaney
  • The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
  • “A Quarrelsome Man” by Pauline Melville
  • Queer Person by Ralph Hubbard
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
  • The Quiet World by Raewyn Caisley
  • “Rachel in Love” by Pat Murphy
  • The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan
  • Rally Caps by Stephen J. Cutler
  • The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Read My Lips by Teri Brown
  • Read My Lips by Jana Novotny Hunter
  • Reasonable Doubt by Steven Barish
  • The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
  • Resident Evil: Retribution by John Shirley
  • Resilient Silence by Peter M. Quint
  • Resistance by Janet Graber
  • Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic
  • Ricki by Lou Honderich
  • Risk by Dannika Dark
  • Road Girl by Hester Parsons Battad
  • Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant *
  • Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything by Lenore Look
  • Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
  • The Rules of Silence by Kristen Johnson Ingram
  • Samedi the Deafness by Jesse Ball (note: unclear whether any characters are deaf or if this is a metaphor; will read anyway just in case)
  • The Sand Bird by Margaret J. Baker
  • Saudade by Katherine Vaz
  • “Sea Change” by Alan Brennert
  • The Secret Letters of Mama Cat by Jody Sorenson
  • Secret Signs by T. J. Waters
  • Senses and Sensations series by Susan Laine
  • Set Me Free by Ann Clare LeZotte *
  • Shattered by Kia Dupree
  • 神童 (The Prodigy) by Akira Sasou
  • Shrine by James Herbert
  • The Sign for Home by Blair Fell *
  • A Sign to Remember by Ron Podmore
  • The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman
  • Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown
  • Signs of Murder (Anna Southwood Mysteries #3) by Jean Bedford
  • Signs of Spring by Patrick Quinn
  • Signs Unseen, Sounds Unheard by Carolyn B. Norris
  • Silence by Deborah Lytton
  • Silence in Center by Jody Studdard
  • Silence in the Wild by Dale C. Jellison
  • Silence is Deadly by Lloyd Biggle
  • Silent Dances (Starbridge #2) and Silent Songs (Starbridge #5) by A.C. Crispin and Kathleen O’Malley
  • Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini
  • Silent Fear by Lance & James Morcan
  • A Silent Fury (High Stakes #2) by Lynette Eason
  • Silent Lotus by Jeanne M. Lee
  • The Silent Scream by Betty Sullivan La Pierre
  • The Silent Time by Paul Rowe
  • The Silent War by Victor Pemberton
  • Silent Witness by Susan Yankowitz
  • Silent World (Broken World #7) by Kate L. Mary
  • The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse #3) by Colin Dexter
  • The Silent Zone by Forrest L. Erickson and Debra A. Peterson
  • Singing Hands by Delia Ray
  • Sins of Summer (Wyoming Frontier #3) by Dorothy Garlock
  • The Smart Princess, and Other Deaf Tales by Keelin Carey
  • Smelly Hearing Aids and Fishy Lips: A Deaf Teenager’s Journal by Marc Heyez
  • Smith Valley by StarAndrea
  • Someone Else’s Ocean by Kate Stewart
  • The Somers Treatment by Gillian Bradshaw
  • Song of Summer by Laura Lee Anderson
  • Song of the Sea Trilogy by Stephen Cosgrove
  • Los Sordos by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
  • Soul Catcher by Colin Kersey
  • The Sound of Your Voice by David Sullivan
  • Sounds of Silence by Phillip Tomasso III
  • Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
  • The Spider’s Web (Sister Fidelma #5) by Peter Tremayne
  • A Spoonful of Sugar (Bachelor Bake-Off #2) by Kate Hardy *
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Starfall by Jessie Kwak *
  • Stolen Shadows by Mary King
  • The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Story of Esther Costello by Nicholas Monsarrat
  • Strangers I Know by Claudia Durastanti *
  • Strawberries in the Sea by Elisabeth Ogilvie
  • Strong Deaf by Lynn McElfresh
  • The Stuntman’s Daughter and Other Stories by Alice Blanchard
  • Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver
  • A Sudden Silence by Eve Bunting
  • The Sylver Chronicles by Paul Kercal
  • The Tailor’s Daughter by Janice Graham
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  • Tales of the Borderlands series by Meg Burden
  • Talk Talk by T. Coraghessan Boyle 
  • Talk to Me by Pat Simmons
  • Tall, Tatted, and Tempting by Tammy Falkner
  • Tarantella by Sol Yurick
  • The Tea Dragon Festival by Kay O’Neill *
  • Tell Me How the Wind Sounds by Leslie Davis Guccione
  • The Telling by Eden Winters
  • There Was This Man Running by N.L. Ray
  • There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
  • Thornwood House by Anna Romer
  • The Tiger’s Woman by Celeste De Blasis
  • Tindr (The Circle of Ceridwen Saga #5) by Octavia Randolph
  • Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
  • Touchdown by Richard A. Steel
  • Travel in the Mouth of the Wolf by Paul Fattaruso
  • A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge
  • True Biz by Sara Nović *
  • Tuck Triumphant by Theodore Taylor
  • TURBO Racers: Trailblazer by Austin Aslan
  • Turn On the Light So I Can Hear by Teri Kanefield
  • Typhon’s Children by Toni Anzetti
  • The Unfinished by Jay B. Laws
  • Unravel by Amelia Loken
  • The UnSpeakable by Charles Laird Calia
  • Unspeakable by Graham Masterton
  • Until I’m Safe by Jane Grace
  • The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull
  • Wait for Me by An Na
  • War Boy by Thorn Kief Hillsbery
  • Washington School for the Deaf NaNoWriMo 2012 and 2016 (note: these are anthologies of minor students’ works)
  • Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
  • What Willow Says by Lynn Buckle
  • Whisper by Chrissie Keighery
  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
  • Winter Wind by J.R. Rain
  • The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O’Dell
  • Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend
  • Won’t Someone Help Anna? (Sweet Valley Twins #69) by Francine Pascal
  • The Words in My Hands by Asphyxia
  • World of Silence by Don Coldsmith
  • 无声的青春 (Youth of the Deaf) by He Yi (note: currently only available in Chinese)

Seems like a long list, right? Surprise! It’s not. Considering the vast size of the publishing industry, this isn’t even a drop in the sea. (And could there be any more titles using words like “silent”?!)

Published by modcasters

We’re a group of graduate students studying English Literature and Language on a mission to discuss literature, provide access to those on the deafness and/or blindness spectrum, and rock mustachios.

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