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  1. 1. Fall 2007 Volume 1, Issue 2 Hearing authors who write books with Deaf Characters In the past, hearing authors typically were Inside this issue: not involved with deaf individuals and pre- “I...discovered that all of the sented misconceptions and ignorance 2 Letter from Sharon about deaf people (Bergman, 1985). In hearing authors‟ stories had been many cases, hearing authors had not pre- New in the bookstore 2 for 2007 pared the much needed research to include inspired by actual deaf people deaf characters into their work (Batson, What’s on my bookshelf 3 1980). However, while conducting re- and that they were collaborating But the character was 4 search on deaf characters in adolescent supposed to be Deaf? with members of the Deaf literature, the participants in my study In the theatre 4 made positive comments about the deaf community....” characters in the books written by the hear- In the news 5 ing authors (Pajka-West, 2007). At that time, I had not contacted the authors directly to Who is Julie? 5 ask them what their familiarities were with with Hurricane Andrew. Cooney explains, the Deaf community so I was unaware of On the Internet 8 “All of our dancers were deaf… In perform- their experiences. ance, it became abundantly clear that these After starting my Blog, I began interviewing particular kids had coping skills out the authors and discovered that all of the hear- wazoo -- which became deeply moving to ing authors‟ stories either had been in- audiences still devastated by the impact of spired by actual deaf people or that they Hurricane Andrew.” Cooney‟s editor knew were collaborating with members of the that he would be eager and “not intimi- Deaf community by contacting Deaf authors dated” to collaborate with Matlin. “Marlee and professionals in residential schools for and I met for lunch -- we liked each other the Deaf. Some of the authors even hold immediately -- and we got to work,” degrees in fields connected with deafness, Cooney recalls. including Deaf Education and Audiology. In Cooney and Matlin‟s upcoming novel, Doug Cooney, co-author of Nobody’s Per- Leading Ladies, the authors tackle a school fect worked with actress, Marlee Matlin. production of the Wizard of Oz, which was Cooney explains that his editor approached Matlin‟s first experience onstage. In fiction- him about working with Matlin who many of alizing the story from Matlin‟s childhood, you know is the Academy Award-winning Cooney “added another deaf kid to the cast Deaf actress. Prior to that experience, and sort of freely invented the production in quot;Two Girls Reading, Cooney wrote a theatre piece about stu- [his] head.” He further explains, “As a 1934quot; by Pablo Picasso dents being mainstreamed into public (Continued on page 6) schools that referenced their experiences
  2. 2. Page 2 Letter from Sharon Dear Readers, Welcome to another issue of YADC. This has been an exciting summer filled with conferences, publications and of course READING! As you may know, finding fictional books with deaf characters can be somewhat of a challenge. I‟m trying to make it easier for you with my quot;100+ Books and Countingquot; list of Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature on my Blog (http://pajka.blogspot.com/). At the time of this letter, I have 140 contemporary books listed including some upcoming publications that I‟ve included in this newsletter. In this issue, you‟ll find that „My Bookshelf‟ 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. So, just because you put your summer reading list aside, you will need to turn over a new leaf (pun intended) to get ready for reading this Fall! I wrote in the last issue that authors are including more deaf characters than they did in the past. In this issue, 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. I would love to hear from you and your students to see what books you are reading! Please contact me at yadeafcharacters@gmail.com. Happy Reading, Sharon Pajka-West, Ph.D. New in the bookstore for 2007 Eve Bunting Sarah Miller Penny Warner Nadia Wheatley Jacqueline Woodson A Sudden Silence Miss Spitfire: Reaching (Connor Westphal Listening to Feathers (2007) (Reissue edition, Helen Keller (2007) Mystery) Mondrian (2007) April 2007) Dead Man's Hand (2007) Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi Cutler Del Dottore Rally Caps (2007)—see my bookshelf Marlee Matlin & Doug Cooney Leading Ladies (2007)—see my bookshelf
  3. 3. Page 3 What’s on my bookshelf Leading Ladies (November 2007) Great Deaf Americans (The Third Editions) By Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney by Matthew S. Moore, Robert F. Panara Publication Date: November 2007 Publisher: Deaf Life Pr; 3 edition Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (December 2007) 288 pages ISBN-10: 0-689-86987-8 ISBN-10: 0970587635 The third edition includes approximately 77 Grades: 3rd and up Leading Ladies focuses on Megan wanting to biographical profiles of deaf people in a variety of fields. be the star in her class' musical production of The Wizard of Teachers, lawyers, advocates, artists, athletes, scholars, jour- Oz. Megan's good friend from camp, Lizzie who attends the nalists, scientists, administrators, leaders, travelers, commu- Illinois School for the Deaf transfers to Megan's public nications pioneers, an Art Deco architect, an innovative shoe- school. Lizzie had such a small role in Nobody's Perfect that string-budget ASL filmmaker, one of the world's finest botani- I'm glad to see that this character is given a major storyline. cal artists, and the “World‟s Greatest Lifeguard” are here. Of course, there is going to be DRAMA with friendship trian- Each chapter is illustrated with a picture and a detailed bibli- gles, main role competition, and a major school musical ography. production. Megan's family has a new dog named Solo, an (Note: the book jacket for the Third Edition is unavailable at unexpected addition after the loss of Apples in Deaf Child this time-- the Second Edition book jacket is Crossing. Even without knowing if she will secure the part of included) Dorothy, Megan begins training Solo to be the best Toto Echo by Clint Kelly (July 2007) possible. Age Range: Teen to Adult RALLY CAPS by Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi ISBN: 0310263042 Cutler Del Dottore Main character Cassie Dixons takes a relax- Reading level: Ages 9-12 ing vacation and goes to the Cascade Moun- Paperback: 88 pages tains with her friends, the Fergusons, and Publisher: PublishAmerica (April 16, 2007) their teenage deaf son, Cody. While Cassie RALLY CAPS is the story of Jordan, a ten-year- sees how Cody's mother is overprotective of him, she decides old who gets injured while trying out for Little to encourage him to have confidence in himself and explore; League. When the doctor places him on the “disabled yet, quot;Cassie aches for the boy, knowing that hearing is both list” (i.e. no physical activity for six to eight weeks), Jordan the audible and inaudible ways in which we hear each other mopes around spending much of his time playing Play- and Godquot;(publisher release information). When Cody disap- Station and watching the Cartoon Network. When he finally pears, the peaceful vacation turns into a frantic search for his goes off to baseball summer camp he has to overcome his whereabouts that has Cassie feeling guilty. anxiety of another baseball injury and swimming with the Author Clint Kelly is a communications specialist for Seattle possibility of meeting the lake monster who steals swim- Pacific University. ming trunks. At camp, Jordan meets and befriends Luca, a deaf character who wears a cochlear implant and Luca‟s Marvel Comics Daredevil (1999-2003) (v2) sister Niki. Jordan learns a great deal from Luca‟s „nothing is #9-15 and #51-55). impossible‟ attitude, and from his hero Cal Ripken Jr. David Mack‟s character Maya Lopez, also known as Echo, debuted in Daredevil (v2) #9 Marvel Comics New Avengers (1999) as a love interest for Matt Murdock. The character Maya Lopez, also known as Echo and now Ronin, (issues #11-13); Echo/ Maya(30-31) appears in the most recent arc (issues 31-33).
  4. 4. Page 4 But the character was supposed to be Deaf reported that an NBC spokesperson confirmed the  quot;Bionic Womanquot; is an upcoming character's replacement was for creative reasons. The television show premiering in new actress may not be required to learn sign lan- September 2007 on NBC. Actress guage since an NBC executive quot;requested that the Michelle Ryan plays the main char- character's hearing be restoredquot; (Wikipedia, quot;Mae acter Jaime, the female athlete Whitmanquot; retrieved July 15, 2007). To quot;remadequot; after a car crash to see a preview of the upcoming series become the bionic woman. The (not Closed Captioned) visit: actress took lessons from a dialect http://www.nbc.com/Fall_Preview/ coach (since she has to fake an Bionic_Woman/ American accent); learned Krav Mae Whitman Magar (a martial art used by the  “The character Penance from the Israeli Special Forces); and she started learning sign Generation X comics in the early 90's languages since her little sister (played by actress Mae was originally supposed to be deaf but Whitman) is Deaf. In the pilot, actress Mae Whitman the series changed writers and things plays the role of Becca who is Deaf and uses sign got really wacky after that”. language; however, she is now being replaced with -Franny Blog Reader Comment Penance another actress. The TV Guide Blog (June 27, 2007) In the theatre 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 quot;positively purplequot; 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, quot;Does she not like me because I'm deaf?quot; 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. This performance will also include CART. Recommended for ages 9 and up. To order tickets, visit The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts at http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=showEvent&event=ZIVNR
  5. 5. Page 5 In the news Astronaut Tracy Caldwell EDUCATION: Received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the California State University at Fullerton in 1993 and a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of California at Davis in 1997. Dr. Caldwell is a private pilot and conversational in American Sign Language (ASL) and Russian. She was selected by NASA in June 1998. Her Astronaut Candidate Training included orientation, scientific and technical briefings, and intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) systems, and water and wilderness survival techniques. Caldwell remembers the tragedy of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger flight. The choice of McAuliffe for the flight quot;made me realize that not all astronauts were test pilots,quot; said Caldwell, who was in junior high school at the time. quot;Some were teachers and scientists, and they had diverse backgrounds. I thought, if the teacher was going into space, maybe I could, too.quot; Tracy Caldwell quot;You have to take the risks into consideration,quot; she said. quot;But what you can give to this program, and what you get out of it, are much more important than the risks involved.quot; (www.msnbc.msn.com) Other crewmembers include a Canadian doctor, a chemist who knows sign language and is a former competitive sprinter and long jumper, and a commander whose identical twin brother is also a shuttle pilot. Caldwell was supposed to videotape the ship's external fuel tank as it jettisoned after launch, monitor sensors during dock- ing maneuvers with the space station, and use the shuttle's robotic arm to inspect the craft for damage. If there was time, Caldwell planned to give a video tour of the space station in sign language. Due to concerns with the heat shield, many of these objectives may have been put on hold and the NASA website does not explicitly state if the sign language tour oc- curred. (www.msnbc.msn.com) & (www.space.com/missionlaunches/astronaut_bio_tracy_caldwell.html) Who is Julie? After the first issue of YADC many readers asked, “Who is Julie?” Well, I‟m the person who takes all of Sharon‟s amazing writings and ideas and puts them together into newsletter form. I like to say that I‟m the one who makes things pretty! Working on YADC is a fun way to utilize my background in public relations and publication design. Plus, I learn something new in every issue and there‟s nothing wrong with that! I‟ve even read a couple of books with deaf characters—so I‟m totally qualified. :)
  6. 6. Page 6 Hearing authors (cont.) hearing culture. As for research: I did a great deal of reading (Continued from page 1) and I paid a visit to Gallaudet, where the students were col- playwright and a lyricist of youth musicals, I have a reputation lectively reading my 1995 novel, The Tortilla Curtain.” for tackling ambitious projects -- I'm known for tackling tricky Some of the authors were not as confident as Boyle in their subjects with high entertainment value -- so writing a musical decision to include a deaf character. Ginny Rorby explains, “I with a deaf lead role is right up my alley.” Yet, Cooney isn‟t was terrified that as a hearing person I would get some aspect just writing about deaf characters in musicals. His latest en- wrong. I'm still scared-silly that I did.” Rorby read numerous deavor has been to write a play for the musical adaptation of books about Deaf Culture and deaf people. “There are 12 Nobody’s Perfect which debuts at the Kennedy Center in Octo- books in my library by deaf and/or hearing on the subject. I ber. The play includes a young adult deaf actress who will be read them all once or twice.” Rorby took sign language starring as the main character Megan. courses to familiarize herself with the language and “made Author T.C. Boyle explains, “a good novelist should be able numerous trips to the California School for the Deaf” where to portray the point of view of anyone, of any culture, and I she had an early manuscript evaluated by a CSD teacher. She have written from many perspectives over the course of my had a later draft critiqued by an English professor at Gallau- career (I've just finished my twentieth book of fiction).” In his det University. Rorby did this so that she could include a real- book, Talk Talk, Boyle includes deaf character Dana Halter, a istic thirteen-year-old deaf character in her book Hurt Go, Deaf high-school instructor with a Ph.D. and former graduate Happy. from Gallaudet University. Boyle reveals, “I was inspired to Unlike Rorby, Jean Ferris had prior experience with deaf peo- create Dana because in a book about identity theft and the ple before writing her book Of Sound Mind, the story of a Deaf roots of individual identity, I felt it would be fascinating to family and their hearing son. Ferris‟ college degrees included portray another culture altogether, one that might, of neces- Speech Pathology and Audiology. When she went to graduate sity, protect its identity even more fiercely than that of the school, she taught a class of deaf pre-schoolers. Ferris ex- plains, “Those were the days when every deaf child was sup- posed to learn to speak, and even then that seemed wrong to me. I could see how frustrated these little toddlers were at not being able to express themselves.” Ferris‟ novel was “Although I know many deaf people, I actually inspired by an article that she had read in a local newspaper which included a family where the grandparents, wanted to make sure my representation of parents and the children were deaf. Ferris writes, “Even the dog was deaf! But one son was hearing--and I began to won- a deaf person was accurate. No two deaf der what it would feel like to be in the minority within your people are alike, of course, but they may own family. Bingo! There was my story.” Similarly, Penny Warner, a professor who has written an en- share some similarities that I thought tire mystery series including deaf character Connor West- would be interesting to readers, and even phal, has a Master's degree in Special Ed/Deaf and has worked with deaf infants and preschool children, and future aid in their detecting skills.” teachers in the field of Deaf Education. Like the other authors, Warner has done her research. She explains, “Although I — Penny Warner (Continued on page 7)
  7. 7. Page 7 Hearing authors (cont.) (Continued from page 6) “It‟s hard to adopt a „deaf voice‟ when you are know many deaf people, I wanted to make sure my represen- hearing. Your „hearingness‟ naturally leaks tation of a deaf person was accurate. No two deaf people are alike, of course, but they may share some similarities that I through. That is why I always check my ideas thought would be interesting to readers, and even aid in their detecting skills.” Conner reveals, “I do have a lot of deaf fans with deaf colleagues and students. They are that I hear from via email. But the most exciting thing has been working with Andrea Ferrell, the actress on 7th Heaven always very frank with me!” who plays Heather. She wants to turn the books into a TV —Dr. Jean F. Andrews movie or series - and I think she'd be the perfect Connor Westphal. I've also met with Marlee Matlin about the books.” Another professor, Dr. Jean F. Andrews, who is the coordina- Finally, one author began her education about deafness when tor of graduate programs in Deaf Studies/Deaf Education her son, Jordan, was born deaf. Jodi Cutler Del Dottore, within the Department of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at author of Rally Caps, writes a fictionalized novel about Lamar University, has included Deaf character, Matt in her members in her family, including her deaf son. When asked Flying Fingers Series for adolescents. Dr. Andrews began her what advice she would give to young people who are reading career teaching at the Maryland School for the Deaf. When her book for the first time, she replied, “I would like every asked who played a role in her research for the series, An- child reading this book to see themselves as I see my own drews explains, “My classmates at McDaniel's, my colleagues son, as a strong, sensitive, extraordinary individual. We each at MSD and deaf students there and the deaf students I have a quality or ability that makes us unique, whether it's in worked with in KY and in TX. I have many deaf colleagues sports, art, music, dance, etc. Focus on what makes you around the country who I enjoy working on projects with. special and you will find the strength with the support of the Deaf graduate students are a „source of inspiration and ideas‟ unconditional love of family…. to persevere and overcome all too.” Although Andrews works with the Deaf community, she difficulties and obstacles and realize that nothing is did face some challenges as a hearing author writing about a impossible.” Deaf character. She reveals, “it‟s hard to adopt a „deaf voice‟ For more information on these authors or to read more about when you are hearing. Your „hearingness‟ naturally leaks the authors, visit my Blog http://pajka.blogspot.com/. through. That is why I always check my ideas with deaf col- leagues and students. They are always very frank with me!” References: Batson, T. (1980). The deaf person in fiction: From sainthood to Rorschach blot. Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, 11(1,2), 16-18. “I would like every child reading this book to Bergman, E. (1987). Literature, Fictional characters in. In J.V. Van Cleve (Ed.) Gallaudet Encyclopedia of Deaf People & Deafness see themselves as I see my own son, as a (Vol. 2) (pp.172-176). Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C.: McGraw Hill Book Company. strong, sensitive, extraordinary individual.” Pajka-West, S. (2007). The portrayals and perceptions of deaf — Jodi Cutler Del Dottore characters in adolescent literature. (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia, 2007). ProQuest Digital Dissertations UMI No. AAT 3238142.
  8. 8. Things we love: Julie Sharon Eartha Kitt & Tybalt (cats) Aslan (doggie) Tracy Larry Franklin Covey Book décor Read the YADC blog! Fashion Franklin Covey http://pajka.blogspot.com/ Google Reader Bags (purses, etc.) E-mail us! Handmade stuff Gmail (love those yadeafcharacters@gmail.com Google Guys) On the Internet Karen is a Deaf mom of three Deaf children who writes for her blog, A Deaf Mom Shares Her World. She also writes articles for Hands & Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families with deaf and hard of hearing. Check out her interview with me at: http://putzworld.blogspot.com/2007/07/gallaudet-teacher-shares-her-love-of.html Meet the authors: Delia Ray http://www.deliaray.com Marlee Matlin http://www.marleematlinsite.com/ Doug Cooney http://www.dougcooney.com/ Penny Warner http://www.pennywarner.com/ Ginny Rorby http://www.ginnyrorby.com/ Joyce Dunbar http://www.joycedunbar.com/ Jean Ferris http://www.jeanferris.com/ Wikipedia includes a category of Fictional deaf characters. Some of the characters include: comic books characters such as Professor Calculus (The Adventures of Tintin) and Maya Lopez aka Echo (Daredevil and The New Avengers); television series characters such as Gordon Cole (Twin Peeks) and Rosemary Gavin (Rescue Me); characters from novels such as Drury Lane (by author Ellery Queen); soap opera character Thomas Henry Edward Sinbad Sweeney (on Brookside); and a fighting game character named Voldo (in the Soul series). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Fictional_deaf_characters