Moses Goes to a Circus

The Review

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This charming, easy-to-read book recounts the story of a young deaf boy, Moses, as he encounters a special circus designed for deaf, hard-of-hearing and blind children. Moses is the only deaf child in a hearing family. However, his parents and siblings make an effort to learn sign language. Throughout the story, there are sweet moments where Moses corrects his little sister’s signs. The book incorporates aspects of Deaf culture and focuses heavily on sign language. For example, the use of “signs,” rather than “says” in the dialogue keeps the reader in “signing mode.” Moses is a well-rounded child who is not excluded or portrayed as inferior at any point in the story.

This book is an excellent introduction to Deaf culture and American Sign Language. In particular, it  educates the reader about the positive normalcy of being a deaf child. The story also features illustrations of Moses signing. One part that stands out is the inclusion of a sign language interpreter at the circus. Most of the signs are correct due to clear motion diagrams, but facial expressions and grammar could be improved.

This is a book every child and adult would enjoy. It would instill self-awareness and pride among deaf readers who might be able to “read” the illustrated signs independently. Hearing readers, on the other hand, would gain insight into Deaf culture and see that deafness does not have to be a barrier as long as sign language is involved. This is a great resource to have on hand.

In a Nutshell:

  • Ideal for individuals new to Deaf culture and sign language
  • Primarily English-based
  • Illustrated ASL signs with English captions included
  • Symbols break down motions of signs
  • Kid-friendly illustrations

Part of a four-book series:

  • Moses Goes to a Concert
  • Moses Goes to School
  • Moses Sees a Play