Creation of sign language storybooks expands world of reading and storytime to deaf children and their families

This blog was originally posted by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) on September 20th, 2021.

In the opening pages of the storybook Talking with My Mum, two children are welcomed into a friend’s home by the mom who, using sign language, greets her son’s friends and asks them to wash their hands before serving them food.

When the son’s friends ask him, “Why do you make signs with your hands?” he replied that his mother is deaf and that their family communicates using sign language. After talking and enjoying the meal, the friend asks how to sign “thank you,” to show appreciation for the mother’s cooking in the language she uses. It’s a timely tale for International Day of Sign Languages on September 23, which falls during International Week of the Deaf.

Cover of book called "Talking with My Mum"Talking with My Mum was purposely and collaboratively created by Malawi National Association of the Deaf (MANAD), the Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) partner of eKitabu, a winner of ACR GCD’s Begin With Books prize. By featuring a family with hearing and deaf members who use sign language to communicate, the story seeks to open the minds of young readers to the world of children of deaf adults.

The Sign Language Storybook Cohort (SLSC) is “a vital resource not only in developing guidelines for creating books that are accessible in local sign language, but also in developing and promoting standards for high-quality sign language video production,” said Georgine Auma, who directs eKitabu’s Studio KSL (Kenyan Sign Language) project to create sign language storybooks.

ekitabu and MANAD’s collaboration in MSL storybooks also includes Kambuzi Kanga, a video storybook in MSL with Chichewa text. A sign language adapted version of Talking with My Mum is under production along with 50 Malawian sign language storybooks that will be available later this year.

Read the full article on the All Children Reading website Here