Monday, December 28, 2009

Echo- Deaf, Biracial & Multilingual

Straight from David Mack's page....

March 2010 Marvel Solicitations
Below are solicitations for two David Mack-related Marvel projects that will debut in March 2010:
Daredevil/Echo: Parts of a Hole Premiere HC
Written by DAVID MACK, penciled by JOE QUESADA, cover by JOE QUESADA
She is Echo. Though seemingly kindred souls, their secret identities are very much at odds. Maya seeks out her father's killer, a man that Kingpin fingers as Daredevil. Can Matt Murdock clear his name before his new love becomes his executioner? Acclaimed writer/painter David Mack and artist Joe Quesada weave a tale of dangerous liaisons and forbidden romance that will change the Man Without Fear forever! CollectingDAREDEVIL #9-12.
184 pages, $24.99.
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Previews Product Code: JAN100661
New Avengers Vol. 5 Hardcover
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by MICHAEL GAYDOS, DAVID MACK, JIM CHEUNG & BILLY TAN, cover by ALEKSI BRICLOT
Who can you trust? Now that the shape-shifting Skrulls' plot to infiltrate Earth has begun, that question has a clear answer: Trust no one! Explore the dramatic turmoil of the Avengers roster as the slow-burning Skrull menace ratchets up and finally explodes in their faces. Featuring Luke Cage, Echo, Wolverine, Spider-Woman and other NEW AVENGERS favorites. Learn the shocking answers to these burning questions: has Captain America truly returned to again lead the Avengers? What were the Skrulls able to learn from the captive Illuminati? How did Spider-Woman and the Skrulls survive House of M? And whose side will the super-powered criminals of the Marvel Universe take as the Skrull invasion decimates New York City? These vivid stories of paranoia and suspense are brought to you by writer Brian Michael Bendis and a dream team of comics brightest art talents - including Michael Gaydos, David Mack, Jim Cheung and Billy Tan. Collecting NEW AVENGERS #38-47.
256 pages, $29.99
Release Date: June 2, 2010 (per
Previews Product Code: JAN100649

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased to announce that Sharon Pajka-West will be speaking at the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention.

Pajka-West, of Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, will be presenting during the roundtable session, "Comics, Contacts, and Conflicts: Graphic Novels In the Classroom." An excerpt from the description of this session in the Convention Program reads:

Practicing English teachers and teacher educators share experiences working with young people-adolescents and pre-service ELA teachers-as they make powerful text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections vis contact and conflict with comics and graphic novels.

The session will be held from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM on Friday, November 20, 2009.

Each year, the NCTE Annual Convention draws thousands of K-12 teachers, college faculty, administrators, and other educational professionals from around the world. They gather to hear award-winning speakers, attend idea-packed sessions, share best practices, participate in workshops, and test the latest teaching materials. The 2009 NCTE Annual Convention will be held November 19-22, in Philadelphia, PA.

For more information, or to register for the Convention, visit

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gallaudet's writer-in-residence Myron Uhlberg's presentation

Writer-in-residence Myron Uhlberg presented today, or rather told three dynamic stories, about his childhood and his Deaf parents to the Gallaudet University community this afternoon in Elstad Auditorium. Uhlberg, although I think I can call my friend Myron, began with a story about how his parents always considered him such a strange kid. He explained that to be like his father whom he so admired (although I shouldn't use the past tense here because it is clear that everything he does is still to earn the respect of his father and mother whom have both passed) he put bubble gum in his ears as a young boy to make himself deaf. 

While his first story was humorous, the second story about his boxing performance had the audience rolling. Lastly, Myron recounted how his father, a printer by trade, would make printer's hats for him. Young Myron, and I would argue the adult Myron too, so loved these hats that he would often beg him mother to allow him to  sleep in them. 

While I could go on and on about how much I adore Myron Uhlberg (I do! This professional crush tops them all-- move over Josh Swiller and David Mack... okay, I'm still crushing on all of you), my favorite part of his personality is how he connects with our Gallaudet students. When I first had the idea to bring him to campus, I knew how fascinating I found Myron once he started storytelling, but I wasn't sure if a gentleman in his 70's would be able to capture the attentions of 18-year-old freshmen. During his February visit, he captured the hearts of so many. Today's presentation was no exception. He made us laugh and cry! His final message to our students was for them to go write their own stories, "It isn't hard. You write a story from your heart... a true story for you!"

Videos to come!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New in Young Adult

Ricky's Adventures by Rick S. Decker
Reading level: Young Adult
Perfect Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (October 13, 2009)

Main Character Ricky is deaf.
Product Description
I guess we never can tell about some of the things we do in life and how they will affect other people later on...I guess that's why it's so important to always try to do the right thing in life, huh, Ricky? Ricky lives life in 'the middle.' In the middle of his brothers. In the middle of the city and country life. And in the middle of every new adventure just waiting right around the corner. Beginning with the discovery of the artesian well near his parents' home to unearthing pirate booty and the secret family history that has been buried for decades, follow Ricky down the hot-sand sidewalks of 1969 Florida to the best places 'in all the world'. With the help of his camouflaged G.I. Joe survival watch, Ricky will transport you to a different time; a time with Peggy's Popcorn, the 'cowboy life' in Texas, road trips, and bicycling to new places in hopes of discovering the unknown. Learn about life in the middle during Ricky's Adventures!

CODA Author Myron Uhlberg returns to Gallaudet University

It may not come as a surprise to anyone that Gallaudet University's First Year Experience program annual Common Reading book selection is Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love by Myron Uhlberg. After a presentation on April 14 by Common Reading Committee members, community members expressed positive feedback for both Mr. Uhlberg’s new publication as well as his February campus visit which was well-received by students, faculty and staff. Uhlberg is a critically acclaimed award-winning author of several children's picture books (Dad, Jackie & Me, The Printer) that often include accounts of his Deaf parents.
The committee felt that Hands of My Father provides a framework for community members to interact while creating a sense of community in and outside the classroom, and looks forward to the numerous intellectual discussions that will derive from this memoir.
This week, Gallaudet's Daily Digest posted:
Presentation by writer-in-residence Myron Uhlberg
Myron Uhlberg will speak about his groundbreaking book, Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love, on Thursday, October 22 at 12:30 p.m. in Elstad Auditorium. This public presentation is the culmination of Mr. Uhlberg's three-week stay at Gallaudet University as a writer-in-residence.

Mr. Uhlberg's book is the Common Reading selection for all first-year students for the 2009-2010 academic year. He is currently visiting all GSR 101 classes, and other classes by invitation, and will also meet Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf students and teachers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sifting Dirt by Willy Conley

SIFTING DIRT by Willy Conley

Thanks to Adreanaline for posting a comment about this story.

Ashley Fiolek featured in Might Motoxers

Mighty Motoxers (X-Moves) by Michael Sandler

Library Binding: 24 pages

Publisher: Bearport Publishing (August 2009)

Includes artciles on the history of Motorcross and includes one article about Ashley Fiolek who races as a pro on the Women's Motorcross Association circuit.

Minor Deaf Charactes in Spring Break

Spring Break with Paddy O'Rourke by Patti B. Pruitt

  • Paperback: 74 pages
  • Publisher: Dorrance Publishing (July 16, 2009)
Deaf Characters: There is a brief scene where a few Deaf boys who use Sign Language nearly drown and are saved.

  • Product Description
    Spring Break with Paddy O'Rourke is the second installment of the surprising adventures of young Jason and the leprechaun he has inherited from his grandfather.

    Now almost nine years old, Jason looks forward to his much-anticipated spring break in Destin with his family and friends but their plans are threatened by the appearance of the bratty cousins and a series of other near catastrophes. While Paddy continues to revel in impish pranks at the expense of Jason's pride, he and his unusual friends are also close at hand to smooth the way for his young friend when the need arises.

    Readers of all ages will enjoy the spirited comedy that develops in Spring Break with Paddy O'Rourke as we come to better know Ms. Pruitt's engaging characters in this rollicking sequel to
    Meeting Paddy O'Rourke.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Interview with Deaf Playwright Willy Conley

Playwright and Gallaudet University Professor Willy Conley feature deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing characters created
from the Deaf perspective in his latest work, "Vignettes of the Deaf Character": And Other Plays by Willy Conley Gallaudet University Press; 1st Edition edition (May 15, 2009). His work has also been recently featured in Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology, John Lee Clark, Editor (March 2009).

Because I often believe I am the luckiest girl in the world, I actually met Willy Conley one morning on the Gallaudet shuttle while heading to work. He recognized me from my blog (giggles... how dorky for THE Willy Conley to recognize ME!). I get overly excited when I receive emails from famous people so you can only imagine my excitement sitting next to him. As I always do, I asked for an interview.
************************ Check out my interview with Willy Conley below************************

SPW: Will you explain when you started writing poetry and plays? I read that you noticed how most of the NTID plays were written by hearing people and that was how you became inspired... I'd love for you to elaborate on that.

WC: I believe I wrote my first poem while in college – a sappy, Hallmark-type of poem that I wrote for my mother (who can hear) to send to her on Mother’s Day. It wasn’t until after I took a course in poetry that I began to learn about reading and writing “real” poetry. Real poetry for me involved poems that stimulated my eyes, imagination, and feelings more than my ears. Sure, if I wrote something that rhymed, followed a traditional poetic formula, and sounded cool to the ears, fine by me. But, if I wrote something that was visually or emotionally stunning or provocative, that was a real poem for me.

My first play was written in parts on a big Greyhound bus after I graduated college and was on tour as an actor for three years with the National Theatre of the Deaf. We performed in plays typically written by famous hearing playwrights who originally thought of hearing characters talking in English. If you think that’s an absurd situation for a group of mostly Deaf actors who communicate in American Sign Language – you are right!

As a Deaf actor, it felt artificial to act in a role originally written for a hearing actor from the hearing point of view, no matter how much adaptation was done to get me to fit the mold. After traveling around the U.S. performing in over 500 shows to mostly hearing audiences, I decided it was time to get formal training in playwriting. I then went to graduate school at Boston University to study playwriting. Lucky for me, my teacher, Derek Walcott, won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is a poet and a playwright. I wanted to be able to write plays with deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing characters created from the Deaf perspective. I loved the opportunity to create art with my own characters born out of little sparks of imagination and found pieces of everyday life – this is every playwright’s dream, deaf or hearing. To have that live, moving, three-dimensional art put on stage before an audience would double the thrill. I imagined opportunities for more Deaf theatre companies and university theatres to produce works by Deaf playwrights, which in turn would create more jobs for deaf and hard of hearing people.

SPW: How did you first become published?

WC: In college, I took a course called, Deaf Characters in Literature and Film from the phenomenal, well-known Deaf professor, Dr. Robert F. Panara (you can read about his awesome life and teaching career in:“Teaching from the Heart and Soul”). He taught us how to look for the “Deaf Experience” in the books we read and the films we watched. We would closely examine each to see if a “Deaf Experience” was real or fake to us. Then, he asked us to write an essay about a specific Deaf Experience that we had in our lives. Since I was a Biomedical Photography major at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), I wrote a story about my experience as a medical photography intern called to photograph open-heart surgery, and trying to lipread doctors and nurses who were wearing face masks. Panara gave me an “A” for the paper and encouraged me to submit it to RIT’s literary magazine, Symposium. I followed his advice and notched my very first piece of published writing. It is a very special feeling to see a part of your imagination and/or real-life experience become concrete and real on the pages of a book. It is sort of what the famous diarist once wrote: “We write to taste life twice.”

SPW: I’ve admired Panara’s work for some time now. Tell me what type of research do you do for your plays and your poetry?

WC: Generally, my research involves studying my own feelings about life as well as people from all walks of life -- paying close attention to how they behave, dress, communicate; figuring out what they like or what bothers them. If there is something technical that I need to learn more about -- like the history of bomb shelters -- I go to libraries to read up on them, take notes, and make photocopies, if necessary.

SPW: What do you hope that readers will learn or take away from your work?

WC: That the experience, or imagined experience, that you write about is uniquely yours, whether you’re D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, hearing, male, female, straight, gay, black, white, green or purple – no one can take that away from you.

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

WC: Try to imagine that you are looking at photographs, or watching a movie clip.

********************************************************************************* For more information about Willy Conley or to buy his book, follow this link that describes the book and receive a promotional code to receive 20% off.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Documentary about ASL Poetry, "The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox"

I met Miriam in 2007 when she put together an evening of film to close the CAID Conference. As a movie buff, she shared her insights into the representations of deaf people in film. I introduced myself to her at the end of the presentation knowing that we had much in common and we have been Facebook friends ever since.
When I interviewed her, she said that she was working on a working on a special project making a documentary about ASL Poetry. Her documentary, The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox, includes archival footage of performances and video interviews of deaf poets who experimented with poetic devices in American Sign Language in the 1980's. While some may be witness to great events in history, Miriam was an active participant as a voice interpreter/artist.
I had the privilege of seeing The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox at the CAID Conference last Wednesday, June 24. While it wasn't a packed auditorium and the viewing was in direct competition with a Washington Nationals vs. Boston Red Sox Baseball game (as well as exhausted conference participants), the crowd included those who truly valued and appreciated this type of rich documentary.
Lerner explained, "the first part of the film deals with the older style of Deaf poets mostly translating written English works into sign, and then with growing pride in the deaf community and ASL, more experimentation with ASL generated pieces. The second half segues into a time in Rochester, NY, the mid-1980s when Deaf and Hearing poets in this community were privy to each others' works because of the local interpreters' attempts to translate and voice the ASL for the hearing audiences, and translate and sign the spoken poetry, the two communities crossed into each others' realms in a fusion that was unprecedented."
Some of the highlighted poets include Eric Malzkuhn (Malz), Robert Panara, Bernard Bragg, Ella Mae Lentz, Dorothy Miles, Patrick Graybill, Peter Cook, and Debbie Rennie.
When it goes on sale, I highly recommend that you purchase a copy! I laughed, cried, and on more than one occasion put my hand to my heart.

For a taste of ASL poetry, below is the poem, "NEED" created by Deaf poet Peter Cook and hearing poet, Kenny Lerner, Miriam's husband.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Secondary Hard of Hearing Character in Certain Girls

Certain Girls: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (April 7, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0743294262
Reading Level: Mature Teens & Adults

Thanks to Julie for recommending this one! "One of the two points of view is a 12-year-old girl who is hard of hearing. She wears hearing aids. Doesn’t sign." Julie also cautions that while this may be a potential cross-over, it is "definitely an adult book" It is a sequel to the book Good in Bed.

From Publishers Weekly
Following the story collection The Guy Not Taken, Weiner turns in a hilarious sequel to her 2001 bestselling first novel, Good in Bed, revisiting the memorable and feisty Candace Cannie Shapiro. Flashing forward 13 years, the novel follows Cannie as she navigates the adolescent rebellion of her about-to-be bat mitzvahed daughter, Joy, and juggles her writing career; her relationship with her physician husband, Peter Krushelevansky; her ongoing weight struggles; and the occasional impasse with Joy's biological father, Bruce Guberman. Joy, whose premature birth resulted in her wearing hearing aids, has her own amusing take on her mother's overinvolvement in her life as the novel, with some contrivance, alternates perspectives. As her bat mitzvah approaches, Joy tries to make contact with her long absent maternal grandfather and seeks more time with Bruce. In addition, unbeknownst to Joy, Peter has expressed a desire to have a baby with Cannie, which means looking for a surrogate mother. Throughout, Weiner offers her signature snappy observations: (good looks function as a get-out-of-everything-free card) and spot-on insights into human nature, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. She expends some energy getting readers up to speed on Good, but readers already involved with Cannie will enjoy this, despite Joy's equally strong voice.

Secondary Deaf Character in Children's Book, Julia's Words

Julia's Words
by Judith L. Roth
Publisher: Herald Press (April 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0836194179
Main character, Christina meets Julia, a deaf girl, at a campground. As she spends time with Julia, Christina gets a glimpse of what it might be like to be deaf. She also finds out there’s more than one way to communicate, and that friendship is deeper than sound. For children ages 6-10 and their families. Teachers and others who work with deaf children will find this book educational.

Julia is the secondary character who is deaf and uses sign language to communicate.

To read an interview with Judith L. Roth about Julia’s Words, click here.

CODA Characters and other Resources for Deaf Parents with Hearing Children

Thanks to Tom Bull for providing this list of RESOURCES FOR DEAF PARENTS WITH HEARING CHILDREN fact sheet. Also, I have a few other books with CODA characters....

Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Ecco (September 19, 2008)
Edgar uses sign language to communicate. Louise Wilkes is a CODA and communicates using the Sign Language that her Deaf parents taught her. This character works with Deaf children and hearing children of Deaf parents. There is another secondary Deaf Character whom Edgar meets when he is four. The character communicates through Sign Language but also speaks. Edgar notes that he sounds funny (p. 49).

At Face Value (October 2008) by Emily Franklin
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Flux
Linus', a staff writer at the Word, has a father who is deaf. Linus teaches main character Cyrie sign language and the two use it throughout the book.

This book is written by a CODA author......

The Silent Time by Paul Rowe (September 2007)
Publisher: Killick Press.
The deaf character, Dulcie attends the Halifax School for the Deaf in the early 1900s, similar to the author's late mother, Elizabeth Rowe. (This is one of my all-time favorite books!)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Deaf Teen Races on Women's Motorcross circuit

Ashley Fiolek, 18, races as a pro on the Women's Motorcross Association circuit. In the research issue of ESPN The Magazine, you'll find an article about this young Deaf women who is the only woman rider to be featured on the cover of a major U.S. motocross magazine and when Honda Red Bull Racing signed her to its team in January, she became the first American woman with a factory ride.

Hard of Hearing Character in the movie 'Knowing'

In 1959, as part of the dedication ceremony for a new elementary school, a group of students is asked to draw pictures to be stored in a time capsule. But one mysterious girl fills her sheet of paper with rows of apparently random numbers instead. Fifty years later, a new generation of students examines the capsules contents and the girls cryptic message ends up in the hands of young Caleb Koestler. But it is Calebs father, professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), who makes the startling discovery that the encoded message predicts with pinpoint accuracy the dates, death tolls and coordinates of every major disaster of the past 50 years. As John further unravels the documents chilling secrets, he realizes the document foretells three additional events the last of which hints at destruction on a global scale and seems to somehow involve John and his son.

Caleb Koestler is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid. Viewers are told that "sounds get all mixed up for him but the hearing aid helps" and that he is "fluent in sign language". Throughout the movie, the father and son sign that they will be "together forever".

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Deaf Superhero Wanted

Whether it is to help students improve their reading skills or it is me discussing my favorite superhero, I have posted again and again about Deaf Characters in Comics and Graphic Novels. Thanks to Tracy from Gallaudet for passing this Call for Submissions on to me.

Call for Submissions

If you created the ultimate deaf superhero, what powers would you add? Who or what would the hero be up against? Here's the chance to send in your own comic book pages!

We are assembling an anthology of deaf superheroes. Anyone can submit from 1 to 10 pages of art, in greyscale only. Dimensions are 6 inches by 9 inches (traditional comic book size) and 300 dpi. File formats .gif and .jpg accepted. Collaborations between writers and artists are welcome. The anthology is for all ages, so no extreme imagery or dialogue, please.


Visit for more information!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deaf Character in Summer Camp Adventure

Summer Camp Adventure (Keystone Stables) by Marsha Hubler
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (October 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0310717957

Product Description
For the summer, Skye and her school friend Chad work at special needs Camp Penn’s Woods. Skye runs into a brick wall when she tries to teach Jonathan Martin, a young deaf boy, how to ride Buddy western style, but Jonathan insists on riding him English. When Jonathan and Buddy disappear into the mountains, Skye and Chad lead the rescue to find him.

From the Back Cover
For the summer, Skye and her friend Chad work as teen counselors at special needs Camp Penn’s Woods. Jonathan Martin, one of the campers who is deaf, causes havoc during his riding lessons because he insists on riding English style when Skye tries to teach him western. Skye, who knows American Sign Language, tries to communicate with him, but he is stubborn and refuses her help and friendship. When Jonathan and his assigned mount Buddy, a black gelding, disappear into the hills, Skye and Chad have to lead the rescue to find him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Marlee Matlin Booksigning

Marlee Matlin will sign copies of her new autobiography, I'll Scream Later, on Saturday, May 16, noon, at Borders, 1801 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. To read an excerpt of her book, click here.

Note: While Matlin has published books for young adults, this is intended for adults and mature teens.

I'll Scream Later
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment; First Edition edition (April 14, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1439102856
Product Description
Critically acclaimed and award-winning actress Marlee Matlin reveals the illuminating, moving, and often surprising story of how she defied all expectations to become one of the most prolific and beloved actresses of our time.
Marlee Matlin entered our lives as the deaf pupil turned custodian audiences fell in love with in Children of a Lesser God, a role for which she became the youngest woman ever to win a Best Actress Oscar. More than twenty years after her stunning big screen debut, the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress is an inspirational force of nature -- a mother, an activist, and a role model for millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people around the world.
In I'll Scream Later, Marlee takes readers on the frank and touching journey of her life, from the frightening loss of her hearing at eighteen months old to the highs and lows of Hollywood, her battles with addiction, and the unexpected challenges of being thrust into the spotlight as an emissary for the deaf community. She speaks candidly for the first time about the troubles of her youth, the passionate and tumultuous two-year relationship with Oscar winner William Hurt that dovetailed with a stint in rehab, and her subsequent romances with heartthrobs like Rob Lowe, Richard Dean Anderson, and David E. Kelley.
Though she became famous at the age of twenty-one, Marlee struggled all her life to connect with people, fighting against anyone who tried to hold her back. Her own mother often hid behind their communication barrier, and Marlee turned to drugs before she even started high school. However, she found in acting -- with the encouragement of her mentor, Henry Winkler -- a discipline, a drive, and a talent for understanding the human condition that belied her age and her inability to hear. By the time Hollywood embraced her, she had almost no formal training, a fact that caused many other deaf actors to give her the cold shoulder, even as she was looked upon as a spokesperson for their community.
She has played memorable roles on wildly popular television shows such as Seinfeld, The West Wing, and The L Word, danced a show-stopping cha-cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars, and now, with uncompromising honesty and humor, Marlee shares the story of her life -- an enduring tale that is an unforgettable lesson in following your dreams.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New in Paperback- The Sign for Drowning

The Sign for Drowning: A Novel by Rachel Stolzman is being released in paperback this June!
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Trumpeter (June 9, 2009) ISBN-10: 1590307208

Also, check out the author's website for news, bio, and contact information. You can also read my interview with the author last May!

From Publishers Weekly
As Stolzman's character-driven debut opens, eight-year-old Anna Levy and her mother witness a horrific scene: the small boat that her five-year-old sister, Megan, is on with their father capsizes close to shore, and Megan drowns. In the immediate aftermath, Anna blames herself for not plunging into the water and joining the frantic search. She begins an imaginary, one-sided conversation in sign language with Megan that leads the grown-up Anna to adopt a deaf five-year-old (whom she mistakenly renames "Adrea" by incorrectly signing "Andrea") and to a career working with deaf children. As Anna and Adrea grow into their lives together, watchful Anna is forced to confront ghosts from her past and to learn to stop living life as a spectator. Stolzman gives Anna a poetic soul ("words of sympathy had exhausted my tolerance for words themselves"), and a carefully constructed redemption that unfolds with vivid observational detail.

New Publication- Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA

Longshot:The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA by Lance Allred

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: HarperOne (May 26, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061718580

Book Description
Lance Allred was probably the last person you'd expect to make it in professional sports. Not only did he grow up on a polygamist commune in Montana, he struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. If those hurdles to the NBA don't seem large enough, Lance is also deaf.
Self-deprecating, witty, and wholly original, Longshot is the unlikely story of an unlikely athlete, who despite these factors and a lot of setbacks along the way, finally realized his dream of playing in the NBA, becoming the first legally deaf player in the league.
Lance refused to let others' expectations hinder his dreams, and his refreshing sense of humor about his disability allowed him to face these setbacks without giving up. From his childhood on the commune where he was "Mormon royalty" (his grandfather was prophet Rulon Allred of the fundamentalist sect) to his first time picking up a basketball (eighth grade), to his clumsy efforts to build his skills while growing into his 6' 11" frame, Longshot is a riveting account of a young man finding his purpose and letting the love of the game drive him toward his ultimate goal.
Going inside the competitive world of collegiate basketball and the strange experience of playing professionally in Europe, with paychecks that never arrive and a knee injury Lance's team didn't want to cover, Longshot recounts the moment when Lance hit rock bottom. When he came back to the United States for surgery, Lance was prepared to let go of his basketball dreams and become a high school history teacher like his dad.
But luckily he had an agent who didn't want to see Lance's dream die, and who found him a deal with the Idaho Stampede, an NBA Development League team in Boise. Although it was paltry pay, it was the last resort. And Lance slowly began to be noticed.
Revealing the resilient heart of a young man who truly believes that it's not about failure or success but about being willing to try, Longshot is a Rudy story for a new generation, a tale of inspiration, dedication, and the power of a dream.

Monday, May 11, 2009

International Reading Association Presentation

Welcome International Reading Association members. Below is my PowerPoint from my presentation at the conference. Note to the right side of this post you'll find a Deaf Character store where you can purchase the books that I discuss throughout the blog; my list of 100+ and Counting list of books currently with 194 contemporary publications; archives to view past posts; and a list of author interviews. Thanks for visiting! If a blog seems like something that is too overwhelming to follow and you would like to receive my free newsletter by email, please contact me at: yadeafcharacters YADC (Young Adult Deaf Characters) is a quarterly on-line newsletter.

As Special Interest Group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers Chair Michele Gennaoui of the St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf in NY emphasized, the International Reading Association is supportive of including Deaf issues but to do so the Special Interest Group needs members. You all know that I am a huge advocate for professional organizations. This is how we keep our collective voice in the forefront of research and the advancement for our Deaf Students. Members of this SIG investigate new and innovative reading methods, examine current research and technology, and provide a discussion forum for teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. The regular individual membership is only $39.00 which includes the bimonthly newspaper Reading Today. You can now join the SIG without any annual dues! IRA also provides Sign Language Interpreters for all of the hundreds of sessions at the convention. When you register for the convention, simply make the request while you are selecting the presentations you would like to attend. It is that simple. I strongly encourage you to join!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nobody's Perfect: The Bilingual Musical

Last year, I went to see Nobody's Perfect, the bilingual musical, at the Kennedy Center. Now, thanks to the Anonymous Comment left on my blog, the performance may be coming to a place near you!

The national tour of Nobody's Perfect will indeed be passing through California (in early 2010). A venue in the San Diego area has released one of the performance dates:

Link to info on Poway show

Performance dates for other venues should be announced soon.

In the meantime, if you want to get your Nobody's Perfect fix there will be a youth production in Los Angeles County in May and June 2009:

Link to info on Palos Verdes show

The Palos Verdes youth production has the same director (Deaf West's Coy Middlebrook) as the Kennedy Center version. It stars Alana Smith, a very talented young actress from the California School for the Deaf in Riverside.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deaf American Poetry

Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology, John Lee Clark, Editor
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Gallaudet University Press; 1st Edition edition (March 15, 2009)

Product Description
“The Deaf poet is no oxymoron,” declares editor John Lee Clark in his introduction to Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. The 95 poems by 35 Deaf American poets in this volume more than confirm his point. From James Nack’s early metered narrative poem “The Minstrel Boy” to the free association of Kristi Merriweather’s contemporary “It Was His Movin’ Hands Be Tellin’ Me,” these Deaf poets display mastery of all forms prevalent during the past two centuries. Beyond that, E. Lynn Jacobowitz’s “In Memoriam: Stephen Michael Ryan” exemplifies a form unique to Deaf American poets, the transliteration of verse originally created in American Sign Language.

This anthology showcases for the first time the best works of Deaf poets throughout the nation’s history — John R. Burnet, Laura C. Redden, George M. Teegarden, Agatha Tiegel Hanson, Loy E. Golladay, Robert F. Panara, Mervin D. Garretson, Clayton Valli, Willy Conley, Raymond Luczak, Christopher Jon Heuer, Pamela Wright-Meinhardt, and many others. Each of their poems reflects the sensibilities of their times, and the progression of their work marks the changes that deaf Americans have witnessed through the years. In “The Mute’s Lament,” John Carlin mourns the wonderful things that he cannot hear, and looks forward to heaven where “replete with purest joys/My ears shall be unsealed, and I shall hear.” In sharp contrast, Mary Toles Peet, who benefitted from being taught by Deaf teachers, wrote “Thoughts on Music” with an entirely different attitude. She concludes her account of the purported beauty of music with the realization that “the music of my inward ear/Brings joy far more intense.”

Clark tracks these subtle shifts in awareness through telling, brief biographies of each poet. By doing so, he reveals in Deaf American Poetry how “the work of Deaf poets serves as a prism through which Deaf people can know themselves better and through which the rest of the world can see life in a new light.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Publication for those interested in 'Deafness'

Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places by Brenda Jo Brueggemann Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: NYU Press (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0814799663

Product Description
In this probing exploration of what it means to be deaf, Brenda Brueggeman goes beyond any simple notion of identity politics to explore the very nature of identity itself. Looking at a variety of cultural texts, she brings her fascination with borders and between-places to expose and enrich our understanding of how deafness embodies itself in the world, in the visual, and in language.

Taking on the creation of the modern deaf subject, Brueggeman ranges from the intersections of gender and deafness in the work of photographers Mary and Frances Allen at the turn of the last century, to the state of the field of Deaf Studies at the beginning of our new century. She explores the power and potential of American Sign Language—wedged, as she sees it, between letter-bound language and visual ways of learning—and argues for a rhetorical approach and digital future for ASL literature.

The narration of deaf lives through writing becomes a pivot around which to imagine how digital media and documentary can be used to convey deaf life stories. Finally, she expands our notion of diversity within the deaf identity itself, takes on the complex relationship between deaf and hearing people, and offers compelling illustrations of the intertwined, and sometimes knotted, nature of individual and collective identities within Deaf culture.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Book Reviews with Teens at 7th Annual Statewide Family Conference Madison, Wisc

Welcome Families and Teens. Below is my PowerPoint from the Book Review portion of the conference. If a blog seems like something that is too overwhelming to follow and you would like to receive my free newsletter by email, please contact me at: yadeafcharacters
YADC (Young Adult Deaf Characters) is a quarterly on-line newsletter. The next issue, the Winter issue, will be sent out in a week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

7th Annual Statewide Professional & Family Conference Madison, Wisc

There's No "I" in Team

This is the first time that I've been to Wisconsin and while I had pretty high expectations of this place (considering so many of my colleagues are from this area), Madison has surpassed my expectations. Aside from the "cold" weather (which is relative considering it was 28 today which is probably nothing to these folks... and it was sunny), there is so much culture and great shopping here... my friend Jennifer from Gallaudet's English Department and someone who grew up in Madison showed me the sites (the Capital, the University of Wisconsin, etc) and the places to shop. We did our share of stimulating the economy; that's for sure. Coming from the East Coast (growing up between Richmond, VA and Colonial Williamsburg, and working in Washington, D.C.), I have some pretty high expectations for architecture and historic sites. When my buddy Chris said that Washington, D.C. had nothing on Madison's capital building, I really thought he was pulling my leg. Joke was on me... the marble alone (even without noticing the real gold all over) is breathtaking.

I am, however, here for a conference. This morning I presented to professionals about my research in Adolescent Literature with Deaf Characters.

Tomorrow I will be doing a similar but perhaps less technical when it comes to research methods presentation with the families who came in tonight. Wow did they take over. I believe the coordinator of this conference said that there are 98 families here.... nearly 100 families!!! That is incredible. As well as presenting to the families tomorrow, I get to do some Book Reviews with Middle School and High School age students. I am thrilled.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The International Reading Association Convention, Understanding Diversity in Comics: A Look at Marvel Comics "Echo" & Study Island

The International Reading Association Convention always brings tons of excitement. Last year, I met Myron Uhlberg. This year I met Heather Harper the Managing Editor of Study Island. I can't wait to tell you more about Study Island's Online Graphic Novel Reading Intervention for K-12. The World as You Know is "an original, online graphic novel created by Study Island and its Original Island Inks imprint. It is a three book series following the adventures of Solomon, a Native American middle school student; Lukas, a deaf, foreign exchange student from Cameroon; and Esperanza, an ambitious Hispanic girl who guides Solomon and Lukas on their adventures. The trio believes their world is only as big as their front yard. When the three are shown what awaits them just under the surface of the world they know, they call into question what they know about that world and each other. It is a visual delight mixing one part mystery, one part fantasy, and one part discovery that sends the world on its head." I'm most excited about Lukas Biya. Read his bio below.

Lukas is from Cameroon. He is deaf, which automatically carries its own challenges. However, add to this that he, much like Solomon, is an outcast, and Lukas' life seems even more different than the lives of his classmates. His father is an important diplomat who makes little time for Lukas, but this does little to bring down Lukas and his fiercely independent streak. Lukas is similar to Solomon in that he is a pleasant kid, but he is also very skeptical. These traits are an advantage within the unit of the trio; however, alone, these qualities make Lukas vulnerable to dealing with others. Lukas soon learns that he is the central figure in a situation that is out of his control. It affects his relationships with his friends and family, and just when he thinks that he has come to grips with his place in this world, his world is turned upside down, putting him back at square one. (Study Island)

This will be out in March. I've already seen some of the panels and I'm very excited. I'll keep you posted!

Below is my Poster from the Presentation on Marvel Comics Echo- Deaf, Female and Biracial.

Keep in mind that the International Reading Association does have a Special Interest Group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers. Click on the link for more information.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Myron Uhlberg comes HOME to Gallaudet University

I have been planning this visit for months and dreaming about it even longer. The week was a whirlwind. First, the book Hands of My Father was selected by Amazon as one of its Best of February selections; then, the book was released; there was a review printed in the Wall Street Journal, and finally Myron Uhlberg, having never stepped foot on Kendall Green, came “Home” to Gallaudet University.
Myron revealed that he was extremely nervous about this visit stating “It’s Gallaudet University. What if Deaf people don’t understand my old rusty sign language”. While he insisted upon interpreters throughout his visit which Gallaudet University provided, I noted presentation after presentation a group of fairly bored interpreters. He walked into each new situation signing without voice. To say that our students loved him would be an understatement. Dr. Bob Weinstock, assistant to the Provost and the man who brought my idea into fruition, called Myron a “veritable rock star.” The freshmen class that he initially visited had created questions for him but once Myron began his story, he did not stop and we had to whisk him off to the next event.
During the luncheon sponsored so graciously by the provost’s office, Myron met faculty and staff members whom I consider to be some of the leading researchers in literature with Deaf Characters. Dr. Cynthia Bailes, librarian Diana Gates, and graduate student Cheryl Shahan were some in attendance. Again, Myron got lost in his story and we had to whisk him away for the campus tour.
For me, the tour given by Ms. Brooke Budzinski, interim coordinator of the Visitors Center was one of the best parts of Myron’s visit. Myron was able to actually see the campus and again and again, he mentioned how beautiful it was and how lovely the people were. Perhaps I overlook our campus’ hospitality on a daily basis but everyone signed greetings to Myron throughout his visit. On the tour, Ms. Budzinski shared numerous facts about the campus and its history; I even learned a thing or two. We entered the President’s Office and Myron was introduced to Dr. Davila who spent nearly fifteen minutes discussing the past. Dr. Davila had known Myron’s father. After that, he considered the entire visit a success since Myron’s father, Lou Uhlberg, was one of the main reasons for this visit. At 75, Myron still very much wants to impress his father with his book and his visit to THE University for the Deaf. He told me that seeing the young people signing on campus reminded him again and again of his parents. His visit with Dr. Davila was not the last time that he would become emotional during his stay.
During his visit with Professor Matt Malzkuhn’s class, Myron met a student who was also from Brooklyn. Their regional signs matched and there was no turning back as a newly confident Myron told his story. Although he continually asked for new signs, he refused to change his “old” sign for PICTURE and I’m not even sure if he caught it himself when he mumbled in sign “my father taught me that.” I can’t imagine anyone wanting to change him. Male and female college students hugged him at the end of each meeting; children tugged at his limbs and sat in his lap; grown men cried.
There was only a half hour of down time before his evening presentation. While a few technology glitches were resolved, Myron, who confessed that he just found out that he himself had the proud label of CODA, met a young boy with Deaf parents. Myron, oblivious to the crowd of adults who had come to meet him, stopped everything to make a printer’s hat for the boy who had read his books. He showed the boy exactly how his father had folded each piece. After a dynamic presentation where Myron became the characters in his book and only once used interpreters while he read a short excerpt, I suggested going off campus for dinner. It was around 8pm after an impromptu book signing but Myron wanted to stay on campus to see the students. We dined in the Rathskeller among students and a few faculty members. Myron ate a veggie burger and fries.
Friday was an early rise. We met for breakfast and with class visits to the students at Kendall and MSSD, Myron already had his newspaper ready. The first stop was a “short” visit to the Provost’s office. Dr. Weiner greeted Myron as a long lost friend. “Call me Steve,” he signed and the two entered the office with possibly the best view of Gallaudet University, if not Washington, D.C. It is impossible to do it justice by documenting the events that occurred during this visit. Dr. Weinstock and I watched two men discuss Brooklyn, their fathers, and while Myron made “Steve” a printer’s hat I believe he channeled one of their fathers. In those moments, men became boys. I don’t think I have ever seen two people so happy nor nostalgic.
Nearly a half hour late to Ms. Janet Weinstock and Ms. Mary Ann Seremeth’s MSSD class, Myron discussed his books. I was copied on numerous pages reading that we were indeed late but on our way and that from what we have seen Myron Uhlberg would be signing for himself using “Brooklyn Sign Language circa 1940s.” One of my goals of this visit was for others to understand why I loved Myron so much. I did not have to convince anyone once he stepped foot on campus.
An ardent time keeper, we had one final meet and greet with the children at Kendall Elementary school. An animated Myron teased, made printer’s hats, and showed pictures from his books. It was hard to pull him away from this “presentation” for these were the readers for whom he had written his children’s books.
His last and final stop was the Bison Shop where bookstore manager, Ms. Priscilla O'Donnell, had prepared a book signing along with a beautiful display featuring Myron’s books. When Myron does a book signing, he writes short novels not just his name, shakes hands, and listens to others’ stories. I am so honored to be considered his friend and I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to be part of Team Gallaudet.
His brief visit had ended. In the car he called his wife and said that this was the trip of a lifetime. Gallaudet had stolen his heart just as I believe he had stolen many of ours. While driving up to the Dulles airport, Myron quoted one of my favorite authors. “F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote ‘There are no second acts in American lives’. Fitzgerald was mistaken.” Myron hugged me and with that, I said goodbye to my friend.