Let’s Hear It for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer, illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Almigal is “absolutely, positively the luckiest girl in the world.” But sometimes, even the luckiest girl wishes all her friends wore hearing aids … or wishes she didn’t feel left out when she can’t hear “every single sound in the whole entire universe!” And who wouldn’t feel “positively unlucky” if they couldn’t hear Mommy and Daddy’s “We love you”s?
But then Almigal gets some good news: she’s about to get cochlear implants, which will require a hospital stay “to get the inside part of the implant put inside [her] ear.” Almigal is not only pretty in pink implants, but now she can hear Isabella’s baby brother’s giggle, the robin’s chirp outside her window, and even Chloe’s tiny voice. Most excellent of all, she can finally, always hear Mommy and Daddy’s “We love you”s.
Award-winning illustrator Tammie Lyon infuses each page with vibrant colors and energetic motion; Almigal and her many friends, too, benefit from Lyon’s diverse palette – you’ll find no overwhelming paleness here, ahem! But what makes Let’s Hear It for Almigal something more than just another fun book is that writer Wendy Kupfer’s own personal experiences are woven into the lively story. Kupfer refused to believe the doctors’ diagnosis that her daughter’s “profound hearing loss” would mean she would never speak. The mother/daughter team proved all the experts wrong, and with determined hard work, the real-life Ali is just as lively a “chatterbox” as her literary counterpart.
According to the March of Dimes, about 12,000 babies are born with some level of hearing impairment, making it one of the most common birth defects (horrible word, but that’s the vocabulary used by ‘experts.’). Kupfer’s frustration at the lack of children’s books that, at the very least, include children who wear aids or have implants, led her to create her own. [She might want to check out R.J. Palacio‘s phenomenal, inspiring Wonder – the protagonist Augie’s cochlear implants are very much a part of his story.] Kupfer’s determination pays off: While Almigal’s friends cheer her on, parents will surely be thinking some version of ‘let’s hear it for Mommy Kupfer!’ too.