New author Mike Steele

Book Deal Signed for Middle Grade Novel with Deaf Representation


April 22, 2022

Book Deal Signed for Middle Grade Novel with Deaf Representation

Eugene, OR — INCLUDAS Publishing’s newest author is eight-time published playwright Mike Steele, who has written his first novel inspired by the history of his hometown’s deaf school and community. 

Steele’s debut novel follows Lucy, an outspoken 10-year-old growing up amid the 1930s Great Depression. After her teacher gives her detention for writing with her immoral left hand, Lucy devises a plan to save time on the walk home by cutting across the campus of the city’s school for the deaf. Lucy doesn’t expect to befriend a profoundly deaf girl who’s also in trouble for how she communicates with her hands. She promises to help Lucy become right-handed if she’ll continue to visit. As the weeks go by, Lucy grows desperate to learn the various hand gestures that make up her secret friend’s language without letting her family know. 

Steele shares that the key theme he hopes readers take away is the importance of validating every kind of communication. 

“I hope that readers will not jump to conclusions when dealing with new people in their lives who maybe communicate differently or don’t express themselves in the way that they’re used to,” Steele said. “Maybe give people a little bit more of a chance to get to know them better before deciding whether or not they like somebody or dislike somebody or want somebody to be a part of their lives.” 

Steele grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, where the novel takes place and where a park referred to as “the Deafies” really exists. After researching, Steele discovered that the park used to be the grounds of a school for the deaf, which relocated to a bigger space in the suburbs. 

Steele has always had a passion for children’s literature, falling in love with The Baby-Sitters Club books in the third grade. His interest in storytelling carried over into theater, which he dedicated lots of his time to in high school and college. After becoming involved in high school education, he started writing plays for his students and opened up a love for writing. 

Steele currently lives at the Jersey Shore with his two rescue tabby cats, Karen and Sox. You can often find him on the boardwalk playing claw machines and drinking far too much bubble tea.

You can find Mike Steele on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

About INCLUDAS Publishing INCLUDAS Publishing aims to bring disability inclusiveness and diversity into the book world by creating fictional characters with disabilities—from children’s books to mystery novels.


Press Contact: Charlotte Drummond,

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