Just published Strong Deaf

Lynn McElfresh


Every Friday, we drive two and a half hours to Bradington to where my sister Marla goes to residential school for the deaf. I told Mom that when I go to Bradington, I hoped I would get to stay on the fourth floor just like Marla.

Mom looked at me like I was crazy.

”Silly,” she signed. “You no go Bradington. You not deaf.” Of course I knew I could hear, but what did that have to do with anything?

Jade is the only hearing member in her family. Her older sister gets to go to the school for the deaf headed by her grandfather Gilbert, but Jade feels left out. Marla thinks her little sister is a pest and a brat. When they end up on the same softball team for the summer, neither is happy about it. Jade, the smallest player on the team, is assigned to be the catcher. It looks like it’s going to be a long season. As sisters, they are often at loggerheads, but as team mates Jade and Marla have to find ways to get along. In spite of their differences, they soon discover that each has a lot to offer the other.

  • Ages: 10-14
  • Grades: 4-9
  • Pages: 172
  • Hardcover: $18.95
  • Softcover: $9.95
  • E-book: $8.95
  • PDF: $5.00

Recent Reviews

Told from the perspectives of both Jade in standard prose and Marla in translated American Sign Language, which uses many language shortcuts (“Weekend fun. Play many game.”), this realistic story explores the dynamics of a family with both hearing and deaf members. McElfresh also tackles controversial issues in the Deaf community: Jade, the only hearing member of the family, wonders how Marla’s life would have been different with a cochlear implant, and their parents attend a protest at Gallaudet University, which is based on an actual event. ...An enlightening book, no matter one’s abilities.


An authentic glimpse of deaf culture.... Brilliantly, Marla’s sections are written as if they are transcriptions of American Sign Language....[T]his stands as a valuable inside peek into a marginalized culture. 

—Kirkus Reviews

Often times, deaf characters hold only minor roles and readers do not experience the story from a deaf person’s perspective. This is not the case for Lynn E. McElfresh’s new novel, Strong Deaf...which is ultimately about two sisters...who struggle to find a place in each others' lives.


—Sharon Pajka, Ph.D., Gallaudet University