The Cochlear Kids: Liam the Superhero is a new children’s picture book from author (and mum to Cochlear recipient) Heidi Dredge. It is a fun, informative and inspirational story about a boy with Cochlear™ implants. Here, Heidi shares why she wrote the book and what she hopes it can achieve.
Creating The Cochlear Kids series of books has been a labour of love, a work of joy, and a celebration of my own daughter, Zia, who received a Cochlear™ implant when she was just a baby. When I went searching for children’s books to teach Zia about her hearing loss, I found very few available. I felt there was so much that could be told about the incredible journey that children with hearing loss and their families travel from diagnosis, surgery, and switch-on (activation), to the importance and fun of speech therapy, to making hearing devices part of normal life, through to learning to advocate for oneself in the schoolyard. And so I set out to create a series of books featuring a range of different children (each one a “Cochlear Kid”) to tell these stories in an entertaining, uplifting and informative way.
As the first book in the series, Liam the Superhero explains to readers what a cochlear implant is and how it works. The story is set against the backdrop of four-year-old Liam’s favourite pastime – pretending he’s a superhero.
Liam’s story is written in fun, rhyming prose to appeal to children and adults.
The implant goes inside the ear
in a special operation.
It is put there by a doctor
after much investigation.
It is intended to be a way for young children with hearing loss to learn about their own special ears, and a clear and simple way for family and friends to learn about them too!
The processor has a battery
that needs charging every day.
It powers the cochlear implant
during work, rest and play.
It has proven to be a great resource for classrooms, with families and teachers giving feedback about how Liam the Superhero has raised awareness and understanding of hearing loss, while also providing the children in the class with the right vocabulary to discuss hearing devices.
What you see on the outside
is like a mini computer.
It is called a sound processor
and is pretty super-duper.
Liam’s story is underpinned by an uplifting message that we are all superheroes when we follow our hearts. Each book in the series will offer children and families a moment of inspiration, euphoria and pride that they can recognise in their own hearing loss journey.
(Liam’s Mum speaking to Liam)
“Every day you are my hero.
You let your heart be your guide.
You let nothing hold you back
and you wear your ears with pride!”
Most importantly though, my aim for the books is to contribute in a positive way to a sense of identity and belonging for children with cochlear implants.
Liam is a Cochlear Kid.
He loves his super ears.
He is so happy and so thankful
for all the sounds he hears.
Zia has connected beautifully with this element of the story. Late last year we were leaving her kinder-ballet class and I told her how much I love to watch her dance, and that I could tell she was doing some really good listening to the teacher’s instructions. To this she replied, “But that wasn’t just me Mum. My Cochlear ear helped me … because I’m a Cochlear Kid, like Liam!”
My hope is for Liam the Superhero, and future books in The Cochlear Kids series, to reach far and wide to raise awareness and understanding of children with hearing loss and cochlear implants, and to have a positive influence on the lives of these amazing children!
The Cochlear Kids: Liam the Superhero is available for sale only from www.vividpublishing.com.au/liam
The second book in the series Zara at the Zoo is due for release later this year.
Stay up to date with The Cochlear Kids at www.facebook.com/thecochlearkids
Heidi Dredge can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org