Can Bears Ski?

By Raymond Antrobus
Illustrated by Polly Dunbar

The debut children's book from Ted Hughes award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus that tracks a father-and-son journey into the discovery and management of deafness.

Boy Bear cannot hear Dad Bear coming to wake him up in the morning but he can feel the floor vibrate with his heavy footsteps. He can only grasp little bits of what his teacher says to him at school. He cannot catch what his friends are laughing at. And, all the time, Boy Bear keeps hearing the question, “Can Bears ski?” What does it mean? With the support of Dad Bear, Boy Bear visits an audiologist and, eventually, he gets hearing aids. Suddenly, he understands the question everyone has been asking him: "CAN YOU HEAR ME?" Raymond draws on his own experience to show how isolating it can be for a deaf child in a hearing world. But through his lyrical and moving words, matched with Polly's stunning imagery, he also shows how many ways there are to communicate love. With a solid network, Boy Bear will find his place in the world.

  • Through Boy Bear, deaf children will find the words to voice their experience. This book will also help children, parents, teachers and carers better understand the challenges of deafness, offering a unique insight into a world where sound is different.
  • About Can Bears Ski?, Raymond says: "It's the book I could see myself reaching for as a child and I can't wait to have it exist in the world.” Polly herself has hearing aids and her mother, Joyce Dunbar, is profoundly deaf.
  • Amnesty International has endorsed this book because every child has the right to learn and play.

About the author

Raymond Antrobus became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre, and in January 2021 he was awarded an MBE for his services to literature. He has also won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Ted Hughes Award, PBS Winter Choice, and a Sunday Times & The Guardian Poetry Book of the Year Awards. Can Bears Ski? is his first picture book. Find him online at, on Instagram as @raymond_antrobus and Twitter as @RaymondAntrobus

About the illustrator

Polly Dunbar is the author-illustrator of Red, Red, Red, A Lion Is a Lion and the bestselling, award-winning picture book Penguin. She is also the illustrator of My Dad’s a Birdman, written by David Almond, and Shoe Baby and Pat-a-Cake Baby, written by her mother, Joyce Dunbar. Find her online at and on Twitter as @PollyDunbar.

ISBN: 9781406394627
Imprint: Walker
Distributor: Walker Australia-HEDS
Binding: Paperback
Release Date: February 2, 2022
Dimensions: 270 x 240mm, 40pp
Stock Status: Confirmed
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99
Stock Level: Not Yet Published

Last updated on 03/08/21 at 01:23:45
Copyright © 2007 Walker Books Australia. All rights reserved.