Deaf Culture Fairy Tales

The Review

This book consists of 20 twists on classic fairy tales to incorporate aspects of Deaf culture and the Deaf community. For example, in Little Red Riding Hood, Red Riding Hood’s mother and grandmother are Deaf and she communicates with them in sign language. Most of the stories are several pages; some are no more than a page and the longest is 13 pages. Some stories contain colorful illustrations that help maintain the children’s interest. These stories are wonderful for younger readers and for storytelling. There is a companion coloring book as well for both children and adults to enjoy.

This is an outstanding product for children to read about characters that are like them (whether they are deaf child, hearing child with deaf parents, or hard of hearing) and to learn more about deaf culture! This book would be engaging for those who are reluctant readers. This book has the classic components of fairy tales because some of the stories reiterate the overall lesson—i.e., “moral” of the story—in one sentence. This would be a great place for parents or teachers  to discuss the lesson learned in the story.

This is also great for early or beginning readers to acquire vocabulary. The stories include advanced words such as “diversity” and “sauntered.” These words can help expand children’s lexicon.  While the majority of the writing does not follow ASL word order, there are several instances where the characters engage in some kind of song or chant. These songs and chants follow ASL syntax. This is an innovative way of combining both English and ASL into the story and may ultimately help Deaf children better distinguish between these two languages and make strides toward bilingualism.

Last but not least, these stories are not just beneficial for Deaf children, but are also great for hearing children insofar as instilling them to with a greater appreciation of Deaf culture. For instance, in Bat, Birds, and Beasts, the author discusses the concept of how those who are hard of hearing tend to feel stuck in between both the hearing and Deaf worlds. This is important for hearing children to realize; when they themselves encounter hard of hearing individuals, they will no longer assume that they “have it easier” than their Deaf counterparts.

It will be great if they plan to produce an accompanying DVD with ASL videos/translations of these stories. My aunt and uncle used to sign some of these fairy tales to me when I was young, before I knew how to read or speak. These experiences were immensely helpful for me in acquiring languages- both signed and spoken language. Therefore, I believe that adding videos could benefit younger children who are not yet able to comprehend the written word. In addition, while there are a sufficient number of illustrations, it is worth buying the coloring book as it contains a wider variety of pictures.

This book is an invaluable resource for Deaf and hearing children alike. It strikes the perfect balance of being witty but not overly so; the serious undertones of the fairy tales will ensure that readers become more knowledgeable, socially conscious citizens. Finally, these stories will surely bring pride to Deaf children and children of deaf adults who will identify with the Deaf characters.

More Information

  • Publisher/Producer: Savory Words
  • Author or Lead Developer: Roz Rosen
  • Illustrator/Animator: Yiqiao Wang
  • Year: 2017
  • Available in full color, black-and-white, and e-book formats
  • Paperback: $15.99
  • Coloring Book: $9.99
  • Can read this book for free with Kindle Unlimited