Laurie by Elfi Nijssen & Eline van Lindenhuizen
Originally published in Belgium and Holland, this tremendously sweet book takes a straight-forward approach to the story of Laurie, a girl with hearing loss. Laurie has trouble hearing other children, so she usually plays alone. The others tease her about being deaf and refuse to play with a girl who can’t understand them. Laurie’s dog doesn’t mind that she’s different from the others. Finally one day, Laurie and her mother go to the ear doctor. He discovers she needs hearing aids, or “hearing computers” as Laurie calls them. Now Laurie can hear cars coming, plays happily with others, and pays better attention in class. Sometimes though, she still likes the quiet and turns her hearing aids off just to return to the silence.
Nijssen’s writes as an author who has experienced hearing loss herself. This makes the emotions and struggle of Laurie very real. The book doesn’t shy away from conflicted feelings and one of the nicest parts is when Laurie decides to turn her hearing aids off or down once in a while. It makes for a lovely moment that shows that being different was not the problem, being misunderstood was.
Lindenhuizen’s art is simple and friendly, depicting Laurie separated from the other children at first and later connected with others. She uses space on the pages very successfully, emphasizing the spirit of the text visually.
A great pick for units on differences and diversity, this book is friendly and straight forward. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.