Let’s Hear it for Almigal

Let’s Hear it for Almigal

Wendy Kupfer, author

Tammie Lyon, illustrator

Handfinger Press, Fiction, May 2012

Suitable for: 4 and up

Award:  Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence.

Themes:  Hearing Impairment, Cochlear implants, Differences, Self-confidence, Friendship, Responsibility

Opening“Hi, my name is Almigal.  (Actually, my real name is Ali, but I prefer Almigal because I don’t know anyone else with that name.)  And, I am absolutely, positively the luckiest girl in the world!   Do you know why?  Because I have so many friends and each one is different.”

Synopsis:  Ali is a little girl who is hearing impaired and wears pink hearing aids.  So is her best friend, Penelope, who wears purple hearing aids.  Ali wants to hear every single sound she can: a robin chirping, the Swan song Madam plays during ballet class, and a baby giggling.  But, most of all she wants to hear her parents say “We love you, Almigal.”  Her doctor suggests she may hear better if she has an operation so she can wear cochlear implants.   Almigal’s world changes overnight and she realizes how much more she can hear.  And that change comes with some big responsibilities for a little girl wearing cotton-candy pink cochlear implants.

Why I like this book:   Let’s Hear It For Almigal is based on a true story that celebrates diversity.  Author Wendy Kupfer’s daughter was diagnosed at age 10 months with a “profound hearing loss” and told that she would never speak.  But Wendy and her daughter never gave up.  Their story is a positive and inspirational one for parents who have children with hearing impairments.   Wendy beautifully shows how our differences can become our strengths.  Ali is feisty, strong and confident, and has a group of friends who support her.   As a parent of a hearing impaired daughter, I wished I had this book 20 yeas ago.  I had my daughter read the book and she said it would have helped her feel less isolated from her classmates.  This is an uplifting book for kids who wear hearing aids or have cochlear implants.  The book should be in every school library and available for teachers to use in the classroom at the beginning of the school year if they have a student with hearing aids or cochlear implants.  Tammie Lyon has illustrated a very colorful, lively and vibrant book.  Her illustrations capture this spunky little girl and her BIG personality.  Tammie is also known for her work on the Eloise series as well as her new series, Katie Woo.

Resources:  The book is an excellent resource because it will evoke a lot of discussion among students.   You can visit Wendy Kupfer and Ali at her website and find other resources, activities and coloring pages.  Wendy and Ali have become passionate advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing.   They recommend the following resources for parents:  Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Hands and Voices Cochlear Implants Center,  and the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

This book has been provided to me free of charge by the author in exchange for an honest review of the work. 

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

42 thoughts on “Let’s Hear it for Almigal

  1. This sounds amazing, Pat. I love books that are based on true stories, and this one has an important message both for kids who deal with this and for their friends and loved ones. I don’t think we have a lot of books on hearing impairment on the list yet, either, so this is doubly great. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

    • Susanna, glad you liked the selection today. This book is very special and I was happy to share it. Thought it went well with my review of Helen last week. I’ve reviewed middle grade books on hearing impairment, but this is the first picture book.

  2. Sounds wonderful. I love a book with a strong little girl character. It would be a great read aloud even in a classroom without a hearing impaired child. That universal acceptance needs to be stored away in the minds/emotions of every child to be applied when necessary.

    • Ali’s strong character really adds to this story. I was curious what you’d think about the story. You are right, it would be a great read aloud in the classroom without a hearing impaired child. My daughter, who is hearing impaired, wished she had a book like this. Every new school year, her audiologist would visit her classroom and talk with the class. In fact, I should give a copies of the book to her audiologist and ENT doctor as well. This is a great companion book to the Helen Keller book I reviewed last week, and to your book “Keep Your Ear on the Ball.”

    • Barbara, I’m so glad you enjoyed it — it will be a nice addition to your school collection. You do such wonderful things in your classroom. I’m sure the author will be happy to read your comment.

  3. Another beautiful book with an amazing message. You sure know how to “pick-em” Pat. I wish this book had been around when I was younger. Being around deaf impared kids this would have been of help even for those of us who can hear. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Diane. Sometimes they pick me. Agree with you. We grew up being afraid of what we didn’t know. And, hearing and visually impaired kids weren’t in our classrooms. Times have changed. This is a great book.

  4. A wonderful book with a great message. Every time I hear someone say a “book” can’t get published, I always send them to your blog because you shares books with an important message. And, they do get published.

    • Thanks Stacy. Even I get discouraged at times, but the books are out there and I only need to look at my blog to find what is needed. This book has a very strong protagonist, is written well and is just so authentic. It had to be published.

  5. Thank you Patricia! What a great find. One of the interesting challenges that a friend we know had when he got Cochlear implants and could suddenly hear (after 40 years of being nearly deaf) was dealing with his long-time social network of hearing-impaired friends. Being able to hear was quite a big change not just for him, but for his community, and it took some careful navigation to maintain those friendships.

    This also sounds like a great resource for every classroom. Too often children interpret seeing another child wearing hearing aides/implants as a sign of something more than just hearing disabilities. Like everything that is only surface-level, we all have to truly get to know each other beyond appearances so that we can all truly enjoy the wild diversity of people around us. Another book that touches on this theme is from the team at Tilbury House, illustrated by our friend Lea Lyon, Keep Your Ear on the Ball.

    Thanks again for making Friday a day to which we look forward!!!! We’ve linked to your review from our Books That Transform the World page.

    http://www.reachandteach.com/content/article.php?story=reviews

    • Thank you for the compliment. Sometimes the books find me. What an interesting challenge for your friend. After 40 years of not hearing, must his world must have changed, including friends. That would be a balancing act. Thanks for sharing this. I know when my daughter first got her hearing aids, she could hear the leaves blow in the wind, hear the ice drop in the icemaker, the clock tick — and she had a hard time with her own loud voice. But, she was a child. But, 20+ years ago she was teased and bullied and we went through a period of time in high school where she refused to wear them anymore. It was a challenging time. She read this book a few days ago and said this book would have made a difference. She was so into hiding her hearing aids, that she was shocked to discover they come in bright colors now. Times have changed for the better. I hope this book reaches many. And, yes it is a nice companion bool to “Keep Your Ear on the Ball,” I mentioned that to Genevieve. Amd, to the new “Helen’s Big World” book I reviewed last week.

  6. What a great book to add to the list, Pat. Any books that can help others understand differences is so important. Like others have said, there aren’t a lot of books out there for hearing impairment, but you do have a way of finding them!

  7. Pat, I looked up Handfinger Press – such a great name – and found out they are dedicated to publishing first-class picture books featuring children wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants. Looking forward to many more great things from them!

  8. So agree that this book should be in every school and town library. Ali sounds quite the character, and I can tell from your review that this is a very well written story!

  9. What a wonderful sounding book — I wish there’d been a book like this when I was a kid, too, although I didn’t have a hearing aid, I did deal a lot with people thinking I was being stuck up or rude because I didn’t answer them, when I didn’t even know they had spoken to me.

    I am so glad you find these books and bring them to our attention, Pat.

  10. This sounds so great. Working at the school that I’m in, I can appreciate this even more. Just being around kids and seeing their differences and the things they like and desire in life is amazing. Sounds like a wonderful book. 🙂

  11. I spend a lot of time in classrooms with special needs kids and many of them have hearing aids and other types of attached equipment. I so admire these kids and their families! In their hearts they’re just like any other kid I play with. And they seem to me to ALL have strong characters! I love these kids more than any that I visit. I will be recommending this book and look forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing!

    • It’t nice to know you work with kids with special needs. When my daughter was in school, she wore an FM sytem on her and so that the teachers voice went into her hearing aids. It made her stand out — even though her audiologist came and talked to her class every year. Hope they have more high tech equipment than they did when she was growing up. She loved this book and wished she had it as a kid.

  12. That’s a very interesting book choice, Patricia. I’m going to pin it. I find it fascinating that some people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community are against hearing aids and implants.
    Thanks for sharing!

  13. This looks like a great story and I will recommend it to families of children with hearing impairment at pediatric clinic.

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