In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Waiting for a Sign by Esty Schachter – Realistic Fiction – 4th grade and up – This is a poignant, beautiful novel that powerfully addresses the importance of communication, in whatever form you use. Additionally, the tough subject of loss is addressed in a different way, through the eyes of two siblings and how they were able to help one another. There is an overall topic on the value of American Sign Language, ASL, for a community. This author really did a beautiful job of showing how family dynamics are impacted by a person who needs communication specifically through ASL and also the value of a school that has students who all are learning with the same language. I loved the book by Ginny Rorby called Hurt Go Happy and also loved Marlee Matlin’s book Deaf Child Crossing but I found this book, Waiting for a Sign, taught me more, through natural conversations, about the value of ASL than any other book and also helped me understand Deaf culture a little bit too. I also thought it celebrated the power of community and communication. I loved the civil disobedience that occurs in the book and also the outcomes of the actions taken. It was realistic and completely acceptable. This book broke my heart and made me cry a little bit but I found that a bit cathartic and appreciated every moment of my reading experience with it. Quite recommended for children who want to understand about others. Also recommended for children who might have some anger issues that could benefit from reading how other children resolved theirs. Additionally recommended for anyone who wants to gain a little understanding and empathy towards other humans, not just those who are deaf.
My favorite “aha” lines in the book were: “American Sign Language and English. One language at a time, not two. English and ASL were completely different, I knew that. They had two different grammars, two whole different ways of communicating. By trying to use them at the same time, Ian understood me less, not more.”
Note- this was a book I reviewed after receiving it from the author, so happy I said yes!
Goodreads Summary: “Shelly always adored her older brother, who seemed so much more confident and self-assured than she could ever hope to be.
But now that Ian attends the Hawthorne School for the Deaf, a residential school that gives him the opportunity to immerse himself in the Deaf community, Shelly feels abandoned and slighted in favor of Ian’s new friends. The two siblings have grown apart, with unspoken—and unsigned—resentment growing between them.
When Ian returns home with news that the state plans to close Hawthorne, Shelly isn’t sure she wants him back. The two siblings confront their feelings in an intense argument about signing, speaking, and communication. Doing so might bridge the gulf that separates them—or drive them further apart.
A thoughtful, revealing tale of family dynamics, Waiting for a Sign celebrates the beauty and power of Deaf culture, offering readers an opportunity for insight and understanding.”
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© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.