Monday, July 08, 2013

The Forest of Aisling (The Willow Series) by D.S. Elstad

The Forest of Aisling (The Willow Series) by D.S. Elstad
April 22, 2013

Per the author, one of the main characters named Bram is a Deaf, Irish boy. Look for a review of this book in the following months. 

Book Description
Celtic Mythology, Gods of the Tuatha De Danaan, Balor of the Evil Eye, a Druid Mist...and shapeshifting?
Recurring dreams of a mysterious forest and a pack of wolves haunt Willow Whelan. Her mom explains that it might be her Native American vision quest...meaning the supernatural world is trying to tell her something. But what?  When her father receives word that his mother in Ireland has died, Willow is expected to accompany him to Killarney for the funeral of a grandmother she never met. There, she's introduced to second-cousins who confide in her that her grandmother may have died under suspicious circumstances.  Along with the question surrounding her grandmother's death, Willow wrestles with her own physical changes that manifest themselves the minute she sets foot on the Emerald Isle.  But the thing that confuses Willow the most is the emotional connection she develops, almost immediately, to the Deaf, Irish boy, Bram, who gives her a crash course in Celtic Mythology and a past that will unite them forever.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tone Deaf (2013) by Olivia Rivers

Thanks to my former student Lisa for tipping me off about Tone Deaf, a (forthcoming ?) publication by Olivia Rivers, who, from her blog reveals, is "a high school student, a literary agent intern, and an obsessive-compulsive reader. She has a slight obsession with Kootenai County in Idaho, and she’s pretty sure life will always be awesome as long as Irish accents exist. She lives with dysautonomia, a chronic medical condition affecting her nervous system. Portions of proceeds from her “Tortured Elements” series go toward supporting youth with dysautonomia." ( I write "forthcoming" publication hesitantly because the text is already available to readers on the internet on If you're interested in checking it out, you can find Tone Deaf here.
Rivers' last book was published by Red Sparrow Press and available through Amazon as an eBook.

One Goodreads, she explained, "I have to be honest: "Tone Deaf" was never intended to be read by others. I wrote the story out of frustration, when I was unable to find a book that featured a realistic main character with disabilities.

One day, on a whim, I posted the first ch
apter of “Tone Deaf” on The response I received was absolutely amazing and humbling. Apparently, I wasn’t the only reader frustrated by the lack of disabled main characters. “Tone Deaf” received over 1,000 hits within a week of being posted, and to this date, has over 750,000 hits.

Some readers have ventured to call “Tone Deaf” a “diverse” book, but I have another word for it: Realistic. In reality, not every person is perfectly healthy or functional. And not every person is white, straight, and good-looking. And, honestly, who would want that? The world would so boring without the diversity it presents us.

I truly hope "Tone Deaf" presents this diversity and reality in a way that readers can relate to. And, most importantly, I hope readers enjoy the characters and love-story within the book!"

For more information about the book, you can follow posts on the Tone Deaf Facebook page:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Strong Deaf selected as a White Raven Outstanding International Book for Children and Young Adults

Congratulations Lynn McElfreshStrong Deaf has been selected as a White Raven Outstanding International Book for Children and Young Adults. The White Raven label is given to books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design. Look for my upcoming interview with the author!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Publication: Strong Deaf by Lynn McElfresh

Albeit a month behind, I have had contact with Lynn McElfresh, author of Can You Feel the Thunder?(1999), about her publication Strong Deaf for a little over two years now. I'm am very excited to see it published!

Strong Deaf, Lynn McElfresh  
Hardcover: 130 pages
Publisher: namelos (December 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608981266
ISBN-13: 978-1608981267

Book Description
Jade is the only hearing member in her family. Her older sister gets to go to the school for the deaf headed by her grandfather Gilbert, but Jade feels left out. Marla thinks her little sister is a pest and a brat. When they end up on the same softball team for the summer, neither is happy about it. Jade, the smallest player on the team, is assigned to be the catcher. It looks like it’s going to be a long season. As sisters, they are often at loggerheads, but as team mates Jade and Marla have to find ways to get along. In spite of their differences, they soon discover that each has a lot to offer the other.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Deaf American Prose 1980–2010

Deaf American Prose 1980–2010, Kristen Harmon and Jennifer Nelson, Editors

From the publisher:
The First Volume in the Gallaudet Deaf Literature Series
In Deaf life, the personal narrative holds sway because most Deaf individuals recall their formative years as solitary struggles to understand and to be understood. Few deaf people in the past related their stories in written form, relying instead on a different kind of “oral” tradition, that of American Sign Language. During the last several decades, however, a burgeoning bilingual deaf experience has ignited an explosion of Deaf writing that has pushed the potential of ASL-influenced English to extraordinary creative heights. Deaf American Prose: 1980–2010 presents a diverse cross-section of stories, essays, memoirs, and novel excerpts by a remarkable cadre of Deaf writers that mines this rich, bilingual environment.
The works in Deaf American Prose frame the Deaf narrative in myriad forms: Tom Willard sends up hearing patronization in his wicked satire “How to Write Like a Hearing Reporter” Terry Galloway injects humor in “Words,” her take on the identity issues of being hard of hearing rather than deaf or hearing. Other contributors relate familiar stories about familiar trials, such as Tonya Stremlau’s account of raising twins, and Joseph Santini’s short story of the impact on Deaf and hearing in-laws of the death of a son. The conflicts are well-known and heartfelt, but with wrinkles directly derived from the Deaf perspective.
Several of the contributors expand the Deaf affect through ASL glosses and visual/spatial elements. Sara Stallard emulates ASL on paper through its syntax and glosses, and by eliminating English elements, a technique used in dialogue by Kristen Ringman and others. Deaf American Prose features the work of other well-known contemporary Deaf writers, including co-editor Kristen Harmon, Christopher Jon Heuer, Raymond Luczak, and Willy Conley. The rising Deaf writers presented here further distinguish the first volume in this new series by thinking in terms of what they can bring to English, not what English can bring to them.
Kristen Harmon is Professor of English, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
Jennifer Nelson is Professor of English, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

Print Edition
ISBN 978-1-56368-523-1, 1-56368-523-X, 7 x 10 paperback, 320 pages
ISBN 978-1-56368-524-8, 1-56368-524-8

Outcasts and Angels The New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature, (September 2012)

Outcasts and Angels The New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature, Edna Edith Sayers, Editor
(September 2012)

From the publisher:

In 1976, Trent Batson and Eugene Bergman released their classic Angels and Outcasts: An Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature. In it, they featured works from the 19th and 20th centuries by well-known authors such as Charles Dickens and Eudora Welty. They also presented less-well-known deaf authors, and they prefaced each excerpt with remarks on context, societal perceptions, and the dignity due to deaf people. Since then, much has transpired, turning around the literary criticism regarding portrayals of deaf people in print. Edna Edith Sayers reflects these changes in her new collection Outcasts and Angels: The New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature.
Sayers mines the same literary vein as the first volume with rich new results. Her anthology also introduces rare works by early masters such as Daniel Defoe. She includes three new deaf authors, Charlotte Elizabeth, Howard T. Hofsteater, and Douglas Bullard, who offer compelling evidence of the attitudes toward deaf people current in their eras. In search of commonalities and comparisons, Sayers reveals that the defining elements of deaf literary characters are fluid and subtly different beyond the predominant dueling stereotypes of preternaturally spiritual beings and thuggish troglodytes.
Outcasts and Angels demonstrates these subtle variations in writings by Ambrose Bierce, Isak Dinesen, Nadine Gordimer, and Flannery O’Connor. Stories by Juozas GruĊĦas, Julian Barnes, and many other international authors broaden the scope of this updated inquiry into the deaf literary character. Sayers’ preface and closing essay bring any disparate parts together, completing Outcasts and Angels as a fitting, contemporary companion to the original classic collection.
Edna Edith Sayers is former Professor of English at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
Print Edition
ISBN 978-1-56368-539-2, 1-56368-539-6, 7 x 10 paperback, 368 pages, references
ISBN 978-1-56368-540-8, 1-56368-540-X

Lynn McElfresh's, author of Can You Feel the Thunder?(1999), forthcoming publication Strong Deaf

I am really excited about Lynn McElfresh's, author of Can You Feel the Thunder?(1999), forthcoming publication Strong Deaf. Two years ago, almost on the exact date, the author contacted me to review her manuscript. Because I read the manuscript, I don't want to make any further comments until I see the actual book but be sure you'll read more posts from me about this book.

Strong Deaf (November 2012) by Lynn McElfresh
Publisher:  Namelos

Ages: 14 and up
Grades: 7–12
Pages: 172
Hardcover: $18.95
Softcover: $9.95
E-book: $8.95
PDF: $5.00

From the publisher:
Every Friday, we drive two and a half hours to Bradington to where my sister Marla goes to residential school for the deaf. I told Mom that when I go to Bradington, I hoped I would get to stay on the fourth floor just like Marla.

Mom looked at me like I was crazy.

”Silly,” she signed. “You no go Bradington. You not deaf.” Of course I knew I could hear, but what did that have to do with anything?

Jade is the only hearing member in her family. Her older sister gets to go to the school for the deaf headed by her grandfather Gilbert, but Jade feels left out. Marla thinks her little sister is a pest and a brat. When they end up on the same softball team for the summer, neither is happy about it. Jade, the smallest player on the team, is assigned to be the catcher. It looks like it’s going to be a long season. As sisters, they are often at loggerheads, but as team mates Jade and Marla have to find ways to get along. In spite of their differences, they soon discover that each has a lot to offer the other.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

My professional crush on author Brian Selznick especially now that he is taking an intensive ASL class at Gallaudet University

Author Brian Selznick likes R-hand shaped signs such as RULES, an R-lettered word I can't recall, and SARCASTIC (huh? Yep, I think he was just on a roll naming his favorite signs by that point). He does not care for signs on or around the nose liked BORED or FLOWER. How do I know this, you ask? Brian Selznick is at Gallaudet University taking an ASL course. *Insert professional Squeal here*

When I interviewed him in January, I did so via email since he was traveling for the premiere of the movie Hugo. Yesterday was the first time I actually *met* him in person. After arranging to meet for lunch, I bumped into him that morning in the student center while he was studying with a group of ASL students. Instantly it felt like we were old friends hugging for a greeting and laughing from the start. Our lunch date, which I call it that because he IS my current professional crush, would include a juicy insider tip which he quickly noted that I could not blog about... But he didn't say I couldn't blog about not blogging about it so HA Brian Selznick! There! I am NOT telling your secret! To be fair, I told him a little something I wouldn't want him to share either plus I asked for the biggest favor ever and he said no! *gasp* Even after I told him who the girl is in the statue in front of campus **Spoiler Alert for new ASL students doing their homework... Her name is Alice ;p**

Even without promising to take me to any future Oscar red carpet events, I still like this guy! I showed him Gallaudet's infamous "coffin door" after making him climb over a small wall in 90 degree weather. I was in a dress and completely forgot I was a tenured professor and should be acting professional. Selznick looked like any other student-- Gallaudet jacket and Gallaudet hat. He only wore the hat outdoors for the picture. I would like to say that I talked him into posing Nosferatu-style in front of the coffin door because I teach a vampire course but really I just like people to pose silly for pictures. After several *cool* pictures, he fell for my charm (read that as I badgered him into it) and posed.

When I asked him why he was taking ASL classes I wondered if it had something to do with his book Wonderstruck. In fact, it did! After doing research, he has made some close friends who are Deaf and he said he really just wants to communicate with his friends (and potential new friends) using ASL. He talked about the importance of the Deaf Community and Deaf Culture... And again I would like to emphasize my professional crush. *Insert professional Squeal here* For most of our conversation, Selznick used ASL. For a writer of English and a new signer, he seems oddly comfortable using his non-native language.

Selznick is already working on another book but it is probably too soon to tell if a Deaf Character will sneak his or her way into his writing. *crosses fingers* After the success of Wonderstruck and a literal world wind adventure of Hugo the movie, he doesn't have much *time off* so for him to decide to learn ASL on his free time says something about his character; for him to come to Gallaudet for a two week intensive ASL course... Well, that reveals just a little bit more I would think.

He's fun; his books are fun; he's extremely down to earth and humble (He didn't even tell his ASL class peers he was THE Brian Selznick!). And I hope, hope, hope we'll cross paths in the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nice Surprise on my First Day Back to Work!

I'm back on campus to meet the newest group of first year students for a pre-fall program and what a nice surprise to find a copy of SilentStar: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise (Author) and Adam Gustavson (Illustrator) in my faculty box! I am looking forward to reading this book and interviewing the author.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy [Hardcover]
Bill Wise (Author), Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (April 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600604110

Book Description
William Hoy loved baseball. Growing up in the 1860s and ’70s, he dreamed of one day playing in the major leagues. A far-off fantasy for many boys, fulfilling this dream was even more of a long shot for William, who was deaf.
Striving to find his place in a hearing world, Hoy became a shoemaker. He took pride in his work, but baseball was still his real love. When an amateur team coach saw him playing behind the shoemaker’s shop, Hoy dazzled the coach with his hard-hitting skills. Moving from amateur clubs to the minor leagues and eventually to the majors, Hoy proved himself again and again—overcoming obstacles and becoming a star both on and off the baseball diamond.
Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy is a tribute to one of the most inspirational figures in baseball history. A talented player with a standout record, Hoy is a shining example that success in life should not be measured by differences but by drive and determination.