Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Picture Book Centers On Girl With Hearing Loss, One Of America’s Most Common Birth Defects

May 8, 2012

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y., May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — According to the March of Dimes, about 12,000 babies with hearing loss are born in the U.S. each year, making it one of the most common birth defects. Kids can also lose their hearing due to illness. Wendy Kupfer‘s new picture book, Let’s Hear It For Almigal, is the story of a happy little girl who feels unlucky because she can’t hear everything she wants to hear. Endearing, lighthearted and informative, the book can be enjoyed by children with and without hearing loss. It comes just in time for Better Hearing and Speech Month in May.

As the mother of a child born with “severe to profound” hearing loss, Kupfer was inspired to write Let’s Hear It for Almigal when she became frustrated with the lack of characters wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants in children’s books. “I was working with the University of Miami Cochlear Implant Center,” she says. “I felt strongly about the need for these children to see hearing aids and implants in the media, both to boost their self-esteem and to educate their friends.”

In the book, Almigal feels lucky most of the time. She has lots of friends, and each one is different. But she’s unhappy when she can’t hear a baby’s giggle, or the music in ballet class, or her parents saying “I love you.” Young readers will identify with Almigal and her friends, portrayed in colorful art by award-winning illustrator Tammie Lyon. They’ll rejoice with Almigal when a solution is found for her problem.

By showing Almigal’s life as a confident little girl, the book provides a terrific resource for teachers, parents and caregivers, and an entertaining, fun starting point for conversations about people with disabilities.

Children’s book author and mother Wendy Kupfer, a former financial services executive, has worked closely with Thomas Balkany, MD, Chair of the University of Miami (FL) Department of Otolaryngology, and one of the leading cochlear implant surgeons in the country. She lives in South Florida.

Tammie Lyon has illustrated children’s books, posters, magazines, CD’s, games and greeting cards. Her books have won the Retailers Choice Award and been chosen as Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

SOURCE Wendy Kupfer

Source: PR Newswire