Bilingual children’s book published in Flemish Sign Language and Dutch

The new children’s book, Sign language saves lives by Hilde and Filip Verhelst, is about Noah–a young, deaf boy–and his experience taking his first diving lesson with some of his friends.  This is the first book of its kind to be published in both Flemish Sign Language  (VGT) and Dutch.  

The authors outline the aims of the project and provide a description of the book in the following letter:

Please allow us to introduce ourselves: Hilde and Filip, two deaf authors. In June 2013 we published the first bilingual (Flemish Sign Language and Dutch) children’s book in Flanders (Belgium).

I, Filip, read stories to my two children (hearing and deaf) every day. It became clear to me that there are no books for children about sign language and deaf culture. This annoyed Hilde and me and we wrote a children’s book ourselves. Hilde is a kindergarten teacher and has a lot of experience in signing to children during story hour. We think it is important that children learn positive aspects concerning the world of the deaf from a young age onwards. We wanted to make a book about these aspects similar to children’s books informing children about pregnancy, about the death of grandparents or about sorrow.

Our first children’s book is entitled “Sign language saves”. It is beautiful and the first bilingual book (Flemish Sign Language and Dutch). The book is about Noah, who is deaf, and narrates his first, exciting diving lesson he will take together with his friends. Adam, one of his friends, has never seen sign language before and is very interested to learn this new language. And a good thing he does. Sign language will save him during the diving session.

In the book you will find some advantages of Flemish Sign Language; how it is perfectly possible to communicate with somebody through a glass window or under water. We also show you some typical aspects of deaf culture such as a vibrating alarm clock, interpreters,… Additionally you will also learn some signs such as “what”, “interpreter”, “learn”, “downstairs”, “problem”,… through a list of signs in the book and by looking at the signs made by Noah.

The book comes with a DVD, the translation into Flemish Sign Language. A deaf illustrator, Filip Heyninck, who worked for Studio 100 (a company which produces very famous children’s programs for television), has illustrated the book.

Within 3 months our book was sold out–something to be very proud of. We are already contemplating the next step: a translation of the book into other written and signed languages. At this moment we are in contact with Denmark to publish the book in Danish and Danish Sign Language. The story and the illustrations are universal and timeless and can be used in any country.

Maybe you are interested to have the book translated into your language and publish it in your country? Please do not hesitate to contact us so we can start working together.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Hilde en Filip Verhelst

Deaf authors of “Sign language saves”

You can order the book (second print) here:

You can also have a look at the press conference where we presented the book and the trailer in signed language: (press conference) (trailer)

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