Can Bears Ski? is a charming and powerful picture book that follows Boy Bear on a journey of discovery. Growing up always bring challenges and changes. For Boy Bear, this means learning about being hard of hearing and how to cope with all of the things that will help him to better understand the world around him.
Boy Bear is full of life. He greets each day with enthusiasm and loves his brightly-coloured, loud clothing. On snowy days, he finds comfort in the stillness and peace all around him. Life is fun – he just can’t work out why everyone keeps asking him, “Can Bears Ski?”
Boy Bear can’t always hear and relies on other strategies to work out what is being said – vibrations, watching other’s faces and observing everything around him. He begins to realise that sometimes he’s misunderstanding and missing out.
Then Dad takes him to see an audiologist. She arranges for him to go to hearing therapy and lip-reading classes, and gives him new, plastic ears – hearing aids. Suddenly, the world is LOUD! The hearing aids take getting used to but Boy Bear’s world becomes much bigger.
This is a story full of insight and empathy. It is valuable for so many different readers. It will be a source of comfort and reassurance to families in a similar situation. Children who are deaf or partially-deaf will see that they are not alone in their experiences. It is full of important strategies for how adults can help: getting down to the child’s level, making sure the child can see their whole face, speaking clearly and slowly, and being very patient. Other children will be able to understand the benefits and challenges of deafness and develop empathy for others.
This picture book will sit perfectly alongside the graphic novel El Deafo by Cece Bell – a story about a young girl who becomes deaf after being poorly with Meningitis. She has to wear hearing aids and get used to a new way of hearing and understanding the world.
Raymond Antrobus & Polly Dunbar:
Can Bears Ski? is an Amnesty International endorsed debut children’s book from Ted Hughes award-winning poet and teacher Raymond Antrobus. Raymond was born deaf, and his poetry explores this experience, as well as race, loss and family relationships. In his first picture book, Raymond draws on his own childhood to show how isolating it can be for a deaf child in a hearing world.
Raymond’s deafness was first discovered at the age of six and illustrator Polly Dunbar is partially deaf and wears hearing aids. This is a deeply personal and special book to both creators. This book was inspired by Raymond’s poem “Happy Birthday Moon” which focuses on his earliest memory of being read to. The book he remembered most was Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch and Can Bears Ski? is the book Raymond wishes he could have reached for as a child.
Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.
Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Waterstones.
Thank you to Walker Books for this important book! It is sure to be read widely in its new home at Farsley Farfield Primary School.