Monday, August 18, 2014

Sabbatical Officially Begins

This semester I am not going back to school. Rather, I am on sabbatical… my very first sabbatical.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, a sabbatical is a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year. 

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this semester to no avail. This is my sabbatical year. People traditionally take a sabbaticals to fulfill a goal or do research. Part of the sabbatical is designed to reinvigorate and restore one's academic energies, and to provide a base for future intellectual development and achievement.

My doctoral research directly addressed the perceptions of the portrayals of deaf characters in adolescent literature.  Since 2006, I started developing this blog and have continued doing research on the topic.  I have enjoyed many accomplishments with my scholarship and am proud that it is still seen as relevant. 
One of the main things I intend to do during this sabbatical is to continue where I left off with my dissertation in 2006.  To start, I plan to address the ‘further recommendations’ section I addressed in my dissertation since it explicitly noted the benefits of asking authors who include Deaf Characters why they do so. Just a few months after my dissertation defense, I began this blog. Since February 2007, I have interviewed forty-eight authors inquiring about their inclusion of their characters. To me, this WHY is just as interesting as HOW the characters are portrayed. 
While I have a fairly substantial manuscript in place, it has been awhile since I’ve touched the manuscript. I would like to go through and polish the work that I already have produced as well as evaluate interviews and book reviews that I have completed since 2008 when I originally planned to complete and submit the manuscript for review. 
My intended time-frame includes:
First in August, I need to make sure that all of the unread books have been read, reviewed and posted on my blog. This includes interviews with the authors of these books. By the end of the month, I should have one more review to post (and hopefully an interview). After that, I plan to review all of my pertinent blog posts including the book reviews and the author interviews. I’ll look for trends in the publications (are there similar story lines; is the Deaf Character still the secondary character whose story is told from the hearing friend, etc.) and determine what correlations there are between the authors, both Deaf and Hearing, for their interest in including such characters.

By September, I plan to rework and polish my introduction chapter incorporating blog posts and interviews along with any findings from my review.
In October, I plan to focus on Book Categories & Summaries. In many ways this will be another attempt at reviewing the data (books, interviews, etc). Creating 200+ book summaries will be a huge endeavor; however, I have 276 blog posts that I will actually be able to use. As one can imagine, over the years I have not been consistent in my format for summarizing books. I plan to revise the blog posts that I have made and create standardized summaries of Deaf Character books. 
By November, I plan to review the chapters that I had written and begin revising and reworking the chapters. I honestly won’t know if my previous chapter titles will be what I follow until reviewing all of the data. 
By the end of December, I hope to submit at least several chapters of my manuscript to a publisher.

I’m hoping to document much of my journey here as well.  I’m nervous and excited. And even more than that, I think this topic is such an important contribution to the portrayals of diverse characters.  I have many ideas swirling around in my head. For now, I better jot down some notes and go read.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Maybe Someday (2014) by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
March 2014
Publisher: Atria Books (March 18, 2014)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1476753164
ISBN-13: 978-1476753164

Apparently one of the main characters is Deaf and this is a spoiler which I found easily online. I've just added this to my reading list for August.

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She's in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her--and she's forced to decide what her next move should be.
Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there's something about Sydney that Ridge can't ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney's tumultuous world from the very first page.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Re-Focus on this research and Silent Starsong, a new adolescent publication

I've been a little bit nervous because I've never had a sabbatical before so I don't know what to expect. It *officially* begins tomorrow (since August work was included in my proposal). Yesterday evening my mom gave me a new Kindle (a Paperwhite which is crazy wee compared to my first generation device which I might add still works just fine!) AND last night an author emailed me and sent me a Kindle formatted version of her forthcoming new book. The book launch is on August 30 and she'd like a review out just prior if possible so I have another deadline... but it feels focused and SCARY but EXCITING! And I feel weird butterflies of happiness that I get to return to this research that I love. Thanks Universe for working in cahoots.

While I catch up on my Deaf Character reading, here's a book that I just stumbled upon and it looks pretty interesting. 

Silent Starsong by  T.J. Wooldridge 
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (July 15, 2014)

I haven't yet read this book but apparently the protagonist is deaf.
Book Description
Eleven-year-old Kyra is meant to continue the Starbard's proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars' songs. Her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother's heart and pushes her father to explore anything to help his little girl--including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to unfixable genetic defects. Marne's telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of human owners--until he meets a human child who begs her father to ""save"" him. Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world--one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people's abuse and the stars' songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.When an intergalactic terrorist organization kills Kyra's father, driving her mother to madness, Kyra and Marne only have each others' friendship--until even that is threatened by the danger surrounding the Starbard heritage. But can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?

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.