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The Words in My Hands

The Words in My Hands

Interest Age: 13–16
Grade: 7–11
Reading Age: 13–16
Hardcover : 9781773215280, 388 pages, November 2021 , 9.00" x 6.00"


Part coming of age, part call to action, this fast-paced #ownvoices novel about a Deaf teenager is a unique and inspiring exploration of what it means to belong.

Smart, artistic, and independent, sixteen year old Piper is tired of trying to conform. Her mom wants her to be “normal,” to pass as hearing, to get a good job. But in a time of food scarcity, environmental collapse, and political corruption, Piper has other things on her mind—like survival.

Piper has always been told that she needs to compensate for her Deafness in a world made for those who can hear. But when she meets Marley, a new world opens up—one where Deafness is something to celebrate, and where resilience means taking action, building a com-munity, and believing in something better.

Published to rave reviews as Future Girl in Australia (Allen & Unwin, Sept. 2020), this empowering, unforgettable story is told through a visual extravaganza of text, paint, collage, and drawings. Set in an ominously prescient near future, The Words in My Hands is very much a novel for our turbulent times.


“Asphyxia's work is brilliant: a deep original insight, and a book that everyone should read. ” 

- Jackie French

“I really enjoyed this gorgeous book and related to so many things. That is rare. It has inspired me to write down my experiences and to do more visual art. The story’s really strong, with such a nice-feeling ending, and I loved the note to readers at the end—it gave me goosebumps. I can't wait for the world to read [The Words in My Hands]. ” 

- Anna Seymour, Deaf dancer, actress, and teacher

“A life-changing book for young Deaf and disabled people . . . of personal growth and pride— demonstrating the importance of the #OwnVoices movement. ” 

- Carly Findlay, OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia)

“Brilliantly imaginative, totally immersive—Asphyxia tilts the world sideways and invites you to see what was always there. Don’t miss this book. ” 

- Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae

“[C]onfronts the challenges ahead of us and will open minds and hearts to the possibility of other worlds. ” 

- Sean Williams