ToM Part 2: Best Books for Theory of Mind

In Part One of this series, I introduced the concept of Theory of Mind (ToM) and why children with hearing loss are at risk to struggle with this particular aspect of cognitive development. Now, let’s dive in to what we can do to help build ToM abilities in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’ll start with my favorite thing to do in Auditory Verbal Therapy — read a book!

Comprehension of any story depends on Theory of Mind (to understand the story, you need to keep track of the characters’ feelings, motivations, etc.), but these books have elements that make them particularly ripe for “mind-minded” discussions.

Books with an *asterisk* after the title can also be accessed with an Epic account for use in teletherapy.

Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Asch

A little bear thinks he’s talking to the moon about their shared birthday, but he’s only hearing his own echo.







The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson

A marauding rat terrorizes other animals, until he thinks he meets his match, an echo coming from a cave.






The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

A mouse avoids being eaten by other forest animals by convincing them an even worse creature — a gruffalo! — is waiting in the woods.

There is also a sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child, which also has some ToM elements, but I don’t think it’s quite as clever.







King & Kayla mystery series by Dori Hillestad Butler (5 books) *

Kayla likes to solve mysteries and makes lists of “Things We Know” and “Things We Don’t Know.”  Her dog, King, often solves the mystery first thanks to his sense of smell, but because he doesn’t speak English, he has to  try lots of tricks to get Kayla to follow the clues.




Pizza-Pie Snowman by Valeri Gorbachev*

A little pig runs an errand for his mother while everyone else in town is buzzing about a walking, talking snowman roaming the streets!









Happy Birthday, Big Bad Wolf by Frank Asch*

The big bad wolf thinks he’s coming to eat the pig family.  The pig family is waiting to throw a surprise birthday party.  What will happen?




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