Saturday, August 25, 2007

Interview with's Jamie Berke is a web portal that relies on expert “guides” to cover a specific topic by writing articles and creating a web directory. There are currently 570 expert guides and Jamie Berke is one of them. She is the guide to Deafness where she covers topics such as Sign Language, Deaf Culture, Accessibility, and interpreting… just to name a few.
Jamie was born deaf and grew up oral. She learned sign language later. She attended college at NTID, transferred to Gallaudet University and then graduated from Gallaudet in 1987. In 1990, she earned a Master's Degree from American University. In 1996, she earned a second degree from Gallaudet. Clearly, she loves education and her job researching new topics for the website keeps her inspired. also offers free weekly email newsletters about Deafness including:

  • Your Deaf Child - Information on parenting deaf and hard of hearing children
  • Learn Sign Language - e-course for new signers
  • About Hearing Aids
  • Deaf People in History
  • Deafness in Our World - e-mail course on deaf culture
  • Famous Deaf People -
  • Deaf Trivia Challenge
  • Hearing Loss Causes
  • Deaf Around the Globe
  • Cochlear Implant Info - facts and other aspects
  • Accessibility Info
  • Employment Info for Deaf and Hearing

*****Read my interview with Jamie Berke below**********

SPW: Probably the first question that my students always want to know is how someone gets involved with the Deaf Community and Sign Language? As a Deaf person growing up oral, how did you "find" other Deaf people?

JB: I didn't. There were other oral deaf kids in my area. Later, I met many more in college.

SPW: Can you tell me a bit about yourself-- what do you do for a living, for fun?

JB: I work both a regular job and as a part time job. For fun - good question. I like comic books, swimming, going for walks. Also enjoy watching old TV shows on DVD now that they are captioned.

SPW: How did you become interested in being an guide?

JB: Long ago, I was actually invited to become one. At the time I had a couple of personal websites of my own, and the people who set up back when it was called the Mining Company, searched the young internet and found me. The rest is history.

SPW: How do you come up with the ideas for the pages?

JB: It is challenging. After ten years, it is getting hard as the idea bank begins to run dry once you have covered almost everything. Ideas come from things I read, from talking to people, posts on the forum, e-mails from visitors, and my own thoughts.

SPW: Can you mention of a few of your "favorite" pages on Deafness?

JB: My personal favorites are the more unusual ones - like the FAQ page on commercials with sign language:
and the article on the deafblind triplets (that one got a lot of attention when first published):

SPW: Are there any topics that you do not like to write about?

JB: Medical stuff. I do it because I know my visitors need information on causes of deafness. I'm not a medical expert, and when I write about causes of deafness, I have to keep it in layman's English.

SPW: What kind of advice would you give to young people?

JB: If this question pertains to reading and improving English skills - I would say read anything you like. The important thing is to like what you read. When I was younger, it was comic books.
Finally, I liked your blog so much I am blogging your blog.
Thanks Jamie for the interview and the compliment... which is certainly a compliment coming from an Guide who views numerous websites. She also noted to "like what you read". Check out my '100+ and Counting' list which includes many excellent books where you'll find at least a few that you'd like to read. I'll keep you posted on upcoming publications and author interviews (including an interview with comic book author/illustrator David Mack that I am terribly excited about!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Interview with Delia Ray, author of Singing Hands

Singing Hands
by Delia Ray
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Clarion Books (2006)
ISBN-10: 0618657622

Twelve-year-old Gussie Davis is a CODA, a the hearing child of deaf parents, in 1948 Birmingham, AL. Gussie is mischievous and rebellious. One day during church service at St. Jude's Church for the Deaf, where her father is the minister of a Deaf congregation, she begins humming loudly and assumes only her sisters know her misdeed. However, on this day, a hearing visitor (another CODA) has come to visit her parents.

Gussie's parents decide to send her to a "hearing" church but she continues to misbehave when she skips out of Sunday school and uses her collection money to buy snacks. Her behavior even gets out of control at home. What begins as an innocent prank leads Gussie into stealing an old love letter from Miss Grace, one of her parents' boarders. Finally, when it is time to take a trip to visit her aunt in Texas, her father decides that her punishment for her misbehavior is to forgo the trip and involve her in his missionary efforts. Although she is disappointed that she can't visit her aunt, she is pleased that she will get to spend some much-needed "alone" time with her father. Yet, Gussie becomes even more irritated when her father includes Abe, a young boy from the black deaf church, who will be attending the school for the Deaf.

There are several sub-plots in this book that will make it enjoyable for many readers, such as Gussie's sudden concern with popularity, her relationship with both the deaf and hearing boarders who live at her house, the lost-love story of Miss Grace, and her connection with Abe and the racial pressures during that time.

All in all, Gussie discovers that she is a good person who sometimes does mischievous things. And, she realizes the importance of her father's service to the community. I could hardly finish the pages through my tears (not of sadness but of joy). The ending is powerful and brings the entire story of subplots together emphasizing the lessons that she has learned from her parents and the joys of sign language.

The amazing part of this book is that it is based on Delia Ray's family... her mother (who inspired the character Gussie) and her grandfather was a Deaf preacher and a leading pioneer in the Deaf community. To learn more about the book's origin, visit:

********Also, check out my interview with Delia Ray below. *******

SPW: When researching for this book, you mentioned (in your author's note and on your website) that you visited the Birmingham St. John's Church for the Deaf and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. You mentioned that you were just realizing that your grandfather was a pioneer in the Deaf Community. Can you talk about how the Deaf Community helped you when they learned of your book?

DR: It's true that only as an adult did I begin to realize what an indelible mark my grandfather had made on the Deaf Community. My first inkling came in 1986, when he became the first non-athletic alumnus ever inducted into the Alabama School for the Deaf Hall of Fame. When I later read the publication printed for the ceremony, I learned that in 1952, Pop became the first deaf minister to lead an opening prayer before the US Senate and that he had been awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Gallaudet, for his many years of "eminent leadership and stewardship among the deaf."

Of course, once I became aware of the scope of my grandfather's work, the Deaf Community became a crucial part of my research. In the initial stages of research, I made a trip to Birmingham to visit my grandparents' old neighborhood and the church that my grandfather had established--Saint John's Church for the Deaf. Seeing the neighborhood was heartbreaking because the Fletchers' beautiful, rambling old house with beveled-glass windows that I used to visit as a little girl had been torn down to make room for a hospital parking lot. But it was a wonderful experience to attend Sunday service performed in sign language at Saint John's and see many of my grandparents' old friends and parishioners. I also was able to interview several elderly members of the congregation who had been students or teachers at the Alabama School for the Deaf.

They became valuable resources about what life used to be like at ASD as they described everything from their first bouts of homesickness the lifelong companions they made to details about the dormitories and dining hall. It was one of my grandparents' old friends who first told me about how she and her buddies at school used to have to sneak and sign to each other in secret because the supervisors would punish them for using sign language instead of speaking and lip- reading "like hearing folks" in the classrooms and hallways. She also described the performances the school used to put on for the community and visiting family members, when deaf students were often required to sing out loud. She laughed as she recalled how her thoughtless hearing brother used to make fun of their singing voices after each performance, but that disturbing detail stuck with me and became an important inspiration as I developed the climax of my story. It wasn't until these interviews that I learned about the misguided teaching beliefs that were practiced in the early years of deaf education.

Another key to my research was spending time at what is now called the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, Alabama, where my grandfather had been a student and later served as the visiting minister. The staff there was very generous in allowing me to wander through their lovely campus, founded in 1858, and spend hours combing through early records and photographs. I not only found many old yearbook and school newspaper photos of my grandfather, but countless other artifacts that helped me to recreate what daily life was like for a child at ASD during the 1940s. Some of the most helpful resources were back issues of "the Alabama Messenger," the school's monthly publication that included content ranging from commentary on deaf issues to reports on various clubs, sports teams, and holiday parties.

SPW: Do you still use sign language? (Have you taught it to your daughters?)

DR: I used sign language quite a bit when I was visiting with the Deaf Community in Birmingham and promoting Singing Hands. However, this experience reminded me how rusty my signing skills have become and how much I would love to improve. My three daughters, my youngest in particular, have always been interested in learning to sign and I've taught them the little I know. But writing this book made me want to go back and take classes and practice so that I can teach them more! This won't be difficult since I recently learned that the ASL program at the University of Iowa, just four miles from my home, currently enrolls more students than any other language program (including French or Spanish!).

SPW: Was there one favorite event or situation that you either learned about your mother or grandfather that stands out to you?

DR: Just like Gussie, my mother actually did sneak out of the Cathedral Church of the Advent on several occasions, and walk two blocks to the Tutwiler Hotel to buy a Coke and Nabs with her stolen offering money. My mother accompanied me on a school visit in Washington, D.C. recently. I had introduced her to my audience of fourth and fifth graders earlier during my talk and when I revealed that yes, my own mother had actually pocketed her offering money from church a few times when she was young, the entire audience of kids turned around at once with shocked faces and stared at my mother who smiled back sheepishly from her place in the back row. I think children feel comforted when they read about good kids who make mistakes and still pull through to triumph in the end.

Another favorite story from the book actually came from my grandmother. When my grandmother was a young girl, her father read a newspaper story about a deaf boy who had his hearing miraculously restored when he was riding an airplane and the plane suddenly dropped in altitude. Unbelievably, my great-grandfather decided to give this a try and hired a pilot to carry his daughter up in an airplane and steer through drastic changes in altitude. Of course, when the plane landed, my grandmother still couldn't hear, but she claimed that this was a defining moment for her and her father because he finally accepted her deafness once and for all. In Singing Hands, Gussie's mother Olivia Davis tells this story and it has become one of my favorite moments in the book.

SPW: When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

DR: Even as a young girl, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My best friend and I used to entertain ourselves by writing books of poetry and creating our own version of Greek myths, which we then tried to sell to friends and family members, without much success! Still I continued to love the process of inventing and fine-tuning stories and after college, when my father worried that I would never be able to make my living as a writer, I decided to become an editor instead, which seemed a much safer choice at the time. Fortunately, through my work as an editor, I stumbled into an opportunity to write non-fiction books about history for children, and eventually found my way to writing historical novels for kids. If you'd like to read more about this, there's a bit more information about my early writing projects on my website:

SPW: What advice would you give to young people who are reading your books for the first time?

DR: Mainly, I'd like my readers to turn the last pages of my books, feeling like they've just finished a good story. And hopefully, along the way, they've also gained a new awareness about people who lead different lives than their own. I also hope that, like Gussie, readers will find some small opportunity in their own lives to reach out to someone interesting like Abe or Belinda or even Mrs. Fernley, and try seeing the world through very different eyes.
Delia Ray's next book Here Lies Linc is about a character named Linc who lives next to a cemetery, has made friends with the cemetery groundskeeper, and spends his vacations searching through grave stones. To read more about her upcoming novel, visit

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't miss the Comments from Readers!

From time to time, you may want to revisit my posts to see comments that readers add. Here are two referencing Deaf Characters in Comics... or actually a character who was supposed to be deaf. Pretty interesting stuff! Thanks Bucky and Franny!

(Read their comments below)

Bucky wrote "Here's a tidit about a character that was supposed to be written as deaf -- was supposed to be Marvel's first deaf mutant character, apparently -- but had her origins changed. Just look for the last "urban legend" entry. " (comment posted today under Deaf Characters in Comics and Graphic Novels)

Franny wrote "One of my research interests is superheroes and disability--in the research I've done to date it's seemed like there are some disabilities that are frequently represented and others that rarely are. Deaf characters are few and far between, which is suprising to me in such a visually oriented medium. (Comparatively, there are very many characters who have visual impairments including quite a few blind characters whose superpower be able to see. Seriously.) Anyway I see you have Echo on your list but you might be interested to know that the character Penance from the Generation X comics in the early 90's was originally supposed to be deaf but the series changed writers and things got really wacky after that. " (comment posted July 30th)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

YADC Newsletter

FREE Newsletter
Here on my Blog, I have 140 contemporary books listed including some upcoming publications. In the latest issue of my newsletter (coming in September), you’ll find the section ‘My Bookshelf’ which includes six new titles (including two series of comic books) with Deaf Characters. There are also six additional books in the ‘New in the Bookstore for 2007’ section.

You'll also be able to read my story ‘Hearing authors who are including Deaf Characters’. Wow, are they doing their research! These authors have been inspired by actual deaf people. They are collaborating with members of the Deaf community; some hold degrees in fields connected with deafness; and, one even has a deaf son who was the inspiration for her book.

If you would like to receive my free newsletter by email, please contact YADC (Young Adult Deaf Characters) at:

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Interview with Jodi Cutler Del Dottore, author of RALLY CAPS (2007)

RALLY CAPS by Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi Cutler Del Dottore
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: PublishAmerica (April 16, 2007)

I have often been told that I need to include more "boy" books and "sports-related" books in my reading repertoire. Guilty as charged! When the author of Rally Caps contacted me to review her book, I thought, "Perfect... a book with boy main characters, centered around baseball, and that includes a deaf character!" What I didn't realize is how much I didn't know about baseball.... and boys. Thankfully I'm married to a man who is a boy at heart and who is able to give me basic baseball terminology definitions and other "boy" vocabulary such as bugjuice. Nevertheless, I made it through the book in one sitting.

RALLY CAPS is the story of Jordan, a ten-year-old who gets injured while trying out for Little League. When the doctor places him on the “disabled list” (i.e. no physical activity for six to eight weeks), Jordan mopes around spending much of his time playing PlayStation and watching the Cartoon Network. When he finally goes off to baseball summer camp he has to overcome his anxiety of another baseball injury and swimming with the possibility of meeting the lake monster who steals swimming trunks.

Jordan shows off his extensive vocabulary (using words such as 'formidable' to describe a pitcher) when be meets and befriends Luca, a deaf character who wears a cochlear implant and Luca’s sister Niki (who is known at camp as Nick but no spoilers here!!!). Jordan learns a great deal from Luca’s ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude, and his hero Cal Ripken Jr. Luca also teaches readers a bit about his home in Italy including such delicacies as Nutella, a hazelnut chocolate spread.

RALLY CAPS was released just in time for Cal Ripken Jr.'s historical induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Co-author Stephen Cutler traveled to Cooperstown for a book signing at Augurs Bookstore, next door to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. The author was able to watch his hero, Cal Ripken Jr. being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Read my interview below with co-author Jodi Cutler Del Dottore (daughter of co-author Stephen Cutler) to learn about how they collaborated writing the book from the United States and Italy.

(Pictured Right: co-authors Jodi Cutler Del Dottore and Stephen Cutler. Jodi's son and RALLY CAPS inspiration, JORDAN in the middle at a book signing)

*****Interview with author Jodi Cutler Del Dottore-- Read below*******

SPW: From the back of the book and from your website, much of the book appears to be based on real events, not just fiction. I'm so curious if your father was actually like the character Jordan (a prankster at camp). AND while your son Jordan was your inspiration for the book, is he more like the character Jordan or the deaf character Luca?
JCDD: The book is a combination of real-life events and fiction. Yes, the character of Jordan is a mixture of what happened to my father (when he was 10) following a flying bat incident and the anxiety he experienced at camp that summer – and his idol Cal Ripken Jr. It also represents anxiety I went through after my son's cochlear implant surgery. Anxiety and panic attacks are becoming too common in children today, and I wanted these individuals to find support in a character able to overcome anxiety. The pranks were various jokes from my Dad’s camp experience and my own experience in day camp, living in a sorority house during college and April fool’s jokes my sister and I played on my mom and dad during our childhood. My dad added the camp setting (the actual camp he attended as a child for 12 summers) and traditional camp cheers. His baseball camp experience was an integral part in forming the person he is today, and believe it or not, he broke his nose and had surgery again during an Oriole game while diving for a foul ball hit by Eddie Murray! Niki and I were with him that time at Memorial Stadium. Quite a night that was!

My son JORDAN is more like the deaf character Luca but with some of the insecurities of Jordan. JORDAN is fearless, always has been, however has some of the insecurities that living with a disability brings, despite his significant progress made in overcoming language and social difficulties.

SPW: You've included several names of your family members in the book as characters. On your website I saw the picture of you with Niki. Is she a family member too?

JCDD: Niki is my sister and the character Nick represents not only the opportunity to depict a strong female character, but a window for the reader providing insight as to Luca's history and challenges he's faced in his oral approach to deafness. Like me, Niki is an athlete. There is no doubt she would have made that catch described in the book – she was that good!

SPW: Your family clearly has a passion for baseball. Can you explain what it was like to see your father after he met his hero for the first time?

JCDD: I'll let my dad answer this one! I will say that he has been my coach my entire life and has taught me everything I know about baseball. The history and drills and chats on the “CB Rock” were from my father’s vast knowledge of the game he loves. He attended 5 Fantasy Baseball Camps including two of Cal Ripken’s. He tells me that they all were unbelievable but the best memory is the 7 inning game he pitched and warming up with Cal on the sidelines. He met his other hero, Brooks Robinson, at the Oriole Fantasy Camp in 1996. Brooks labeled him “Mr. Scoop” because my father played first base and always scooped up the short throws from the infielders. My father will always have that “little boy” in him from his love of sports. Now he umpires softball down in Florida 4 nights a week. But what I got most out of my father’s love of the game was his role model, Cal Ripken and what he represented – playing through injury, criticism/media, and persevering through it all – and the importance Cal placed on family. Cal was the perfect inspiration for our book (along with the positive confident deaf child) of persevering through difficult times – the two represented a perfect compliment for our story.

SPW: Will you describe how your father and you collaborated on the book from two different countries?

JCDD: We began working on "the book" when he told me he was thinking of writing a short story for a baseball magazine based on his Travel Team Tryout accident and he wanted to incorporate Cal Ripken Jr. I told him that it could be the basis for a book if we incorporated his camp experience following his frightening flying bat incident and make it into a baseball camp story. He said go with that, so we began corresponding back and forth over a six year period. I added the character of Luca (based on my son). During this period, Jordan went from using hearing aids to our ultimate decision of cochlear implant surgery. The book took off after the results Jordan obtained from his cochlear implant. Whenever I lulled in writing, my father would add a piece and I would take it from there. It was a team effort! All correspondence was done by sending Word attachments to emails from Italy to Baltimore and then West Palm Beach where my father currently resides.

SPW: You've worked as an English teacher and a translator. Had you met any deaf children or adults prior to having a son who is deaf?

JCDD: I was 24 years old when Jordan was born. I had had no prior experience with working with deaf children nor had I ever even held a baby before him. I remember working at a fast food place in the mall when I was sixteen years old and a really good-looking guy my age walked up to the counter to order. He was wearing hearing aids. He said, "Hello" and placed his order. As soon as he left, my eyes started tearing up and I asked to take my break. I cried, sobbed for the entire thirty minute break, seeing that guy wearing hearing aids and talking majorly affected me and I could not understand why. I tried to take a sign language course each one of my four years of college and there was always a schedule conflict that prohibited me from taking the course.

SPW: Can you explain a bit about your family's decision for Jordan to get a cochlear implant?

JCDD: When my son was six months old, I showed his picture to a psychic and the first thing she said was, "Your son has music in his ears." This was the phrase I remembered most when I was given the news that my son was deaf and it helped me to perceive deafness in a different way. Jordan wore hearing aids for eight years and had speech therapy three times a week for every one of those years. When he was eight years old, he was doing well in school but he was suffering with his peers. In Tuscany we are famous for using bad words and while his peers were moving along in language even this type of language, he was falling further and further behind socially. I saw him suffering. I decided that if we had chosen the oral approach and the cochlear implant was an option- years earlier it hadn't been because he had quality gain from his hearing aids despite his profound deafness - then we should go ahead with the surgery to offer him every possibility to hear as well as possible. The cochlear implant would provide sound more similar to the way we hear as opposed to the hearing aids that were like "two bombs in his ears" as described by my audiologist. My husband and I made the decision together and three months after this decision, Jordan had his surgery in Pisa. The cochlear implant has changed our lives. My son's world literally opened before him, his emotions, his perspective on relationships, his schoolwork, and his self-esteem. He is proud of himself and is the first to describe the changes in him before and after the implant. A few months after the implant surgery, my father asked Jordan how much was his hearing had improved. Jordan responded “One-thousand percent.”

SPW: What advice would you give to young people who are reading your books for the first time?
JCDD: I would like every child reading this book to see themselves as I see my own son, as a strong, sensitive, extraordinary individual. We each have a quality or ability that makes us unique, whether it's in sports, art, music, dance, etc. Focus on what makes you special and you will find the strength with the support of the unconditional love family (Mom and Dad - as annoying as we may be) and your siblings (a sister in this case) - to persevere and overcome all difficulties and obstacles – and realize that nothing is impossible.

Baseball imitates life and life imitates baseball. In either case you go through a roll-a coaster of highs and lows, trials and tribulations, celebrations and setbacks, but with patience we get another chance to show our true colors – to overcome obstacles or difficult times. Hopefully, RALLY CAPS sends that message. And what better than a “Rally Cap” to be waved and to represent that little extra mojo late in the game to help spur your team to a come-from-behind victory.

SPW: Do you have plans for writing another book with these characters?

JCDD: The RALLY CAPS sequel is in the works, what my son doesn't know is that he will be writing a Note to the Reader! Hopefully, this one won't take another six years to write!

For more information about the book and to read an article written about Jordan in Volta Voices, visit

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Authors Update

New to the blog? Be sure to read my INTERVIEWS with:

*PENNY WARNER (posted July 27th);

*T.C. BOYLE (posted July 23rd);

* JEAN FERRIS (posted June 30th);

* GINNY RORBY (posted June 23rd);

*JEAN ANDREWS(posted June 20th);

*DOUG COONEY (posted June 18th);

* LOIS HODGE (posted May 5th)

Check back for future interviews including David Mack, Dela Ray Howard and Jodi Cutler Del Dottore.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Nobody's Perfect adapted into a bilingual musical--Tickets go on sale August 10, 2007

Nobody's Perfect Oct 19 - Nov 3, 2007
Running Time: 1 hour
Tickets: $18.00

A joint world premiere by the Kennedy Center and VSA arts Based on the book by MARLEE MATLIN and DOUG COONEY Script and lyrics by DOUG COONEY Music by DEBORAH WICKS LA PUMA Directed by COY MIDDLEBROOK

Fourth grade is not easy and after spending a year planning her "positively purple" birthday party, Megan finds herself at odds with new student Alexis. To Megan, Alexis has it all: beauty, brains, and athletics--she's practically perfect in every way. Though Megan tries to be nice to her, Alexis is anything but friendly, making Megan wonder, "Does she not like me because I'm deaf?" When they're forced to collaborate on a science project, Megan discovers Alexis's secret. Based on the children's book by Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin (Best Actress, Children of a Lesser God) and Doug Cooney, this touching new musical--simultaneously performed in spoken English and American Sign Language--is a poignant reminder that despite first impressions, nobody's perfect. For ages 9 and up.

Follow these links for Directions or a calendar of other performances.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Shameless Self Promotion

Check out my article:
Perceptions of Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature
ALAN Review, Summer 2007; 34, 3 pages 39-45

The ALAN Review is published by The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, an independent assembly of NCTE.

Upcoming Book about Robert Panara

Teaching from the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story
(Published September 2007)
by Harry G. Lang
ISBN: 156368358X

Series: Gallaudet New Deaf Lives Series (The Sixth Volume)
Book Description
Robert F. Panara lost his hearing from spinal meningitis in 1931 at the age of ten. However, he could read and write, and with his friends’ help, Bob (as he was known), made it through high school. His new solitude created a new passion – reading, reading, and reading. The stage was set for the emergence of one of the great deaf educators in modern time, a life fully captured in Harry G. Lang’s Teaching from the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story.
Bob Panara’s many achievements began after his discovery of Gallaudet College in the 1940s. There, he wrote “The Significance of the Reading Problem,” which first expressed his belief that teaching “comes from the heart and soul.” The article secured him his first job at the New York School for the Deaf in White Plains. Bob returned to teach at Gallaudet College from 1948 until 1965, when he left to help found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) — all in the same year. He continued to expand arts and literature at NTID until his retirement in 1987.

Bob Panara’s genius resides in the people he inspired with his vivacious teaching style. He believed ardently in involving students, that they should “be the book.” Former students tell story after story about his fabulous interpretations of drama and poetry, a legacy confirmed by his own story in Teaching from the Heart and Soul.