Written By: Valli Gideons
My 13-year-old daughter, Harper, is a tenacious and determined teen. She has possessed gusto since the moment she entered the world, which is what led her to publish a children’s book about hearing loss.
When Harper was diagnosed with hearing loss as a newborn, our family already had a road map. Her older brother, Battle, was also born hard of hearing, which helped create a path for our family’s journey. He was already 21 months old when she came along. Today, she is in the eighth grade and wears one hearing aid and one cochlear implant.
Harper has always been a voracious reader and has taken to writing for years. In the fourth grade, she had written a journal entry entitled “What makes you unique?” This was the inspiration behind her book.
She didn’t believe it would actually come to fruition. We kept crafting it and signed on with a hybrid publishing company. Our illustrator, Priscila Soares, also has hearing loss and a son who has cochlear implants. It was then that Harper realized that this was actually going to happen.
Harper’s book, Now Hear This: Harper Soars with her Magic Ears!, became an Amazon #1 New Release children’s book.
Harper’s story allows readers to follow her journey, providing both parents and children who are facing any kind of diagnosis a much-needed dose of encouragement. Through Harper’s hearing loss story, kids can imagine what is possible. This story shares ways people in the life of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing can better support them. Harper’s witty approach to storytelling resonates with young readers and will surely inspire the people who love and support them. Her story shows how understanding and awareness are essential to feeling included, and the importance of having a community around a child with hearing loss.
Harper has always been super creative. She started making how-to videos when she was 5 years old, such as how to roller blade and how to ride a Ripstik. She acquired power tools and has built skate ramps, box forts, you name it. She now has a YouTube channel where she shares a lot of her projects. She was also in the school play and loved that.
Prior to COVID-19, Harper was reading her book aloud to classrooms. Even after everything shut down, she adapted by reading her book through Zoom and serving as a guest on several podcasts.
Teachers describe Harper as having an insatiable curiosity and coaches marvel at her grit and effort. She aims to be a role model to others. She doesn’t let her hearing loss stand in her way or define her.