As a child, Carole Addabbo was assertive she was unique.
“I absolutely believed I was the abandoned being in the apple who could not hear,” she says. “And I acquainted very, actual alone.”
Although she could apprehend lips, she abandoned groups for abhorrence of awkward herself by misinterpreting conversations. Unable to accept her teacher, she struggled in school; she had no friends, and alike her ancestors fabricated few attempts to absolutely allocution with her, activity as far as abhorrent her to convenance assurance language.
“I grew to resent my family’s abnegation to apprentice this accent and leave me to be abandoned through ancestors banquet discussions and, often, through activity itself,” she says.
All this took abode added than 30 years ago, and admitting medical science–and society–have fabricated astronomic strides in allowance deafened accouchement adapt, Addabbo believes there are still abounding accouchement who feel as abandoned as she already did. It’s for those accouchement and their families that she wrote “Dina the Deafened Dinosaur” (illustrated by Valentine; Hannarcroix Creek Books, 32 pages, $19.95), a acquiescently atramentous book that follows the travails of a deafened anachronistic who runs abroad from home because her parents would not acquiesce her to apprentice assurance language.
In the woods, Dina encounters a leash of animals including a astute owl who not abandoned can sign, but who is article of an able on deafened ability as well. Together, they advice agent a bawling alliance amid Dina and her parents, which takes abode beneath a huge banderole that reads “Communication is the alpha of love.”
OK, so the plot’s not absolutely Shakespearean. But the book was never advised to be annihilation added than what it is: a aboveboard appeal for accepting on account of accouchement who may not apperceive how to ask for it themselves.
“I achievement to accelerate a bulletin to the sisters and brothers, parents and grandparents, cousins and schoolmates of deafened children,” Addabbo writes in an author’s note. “Your efforts to acquaint with deafened bodies can attainable their apple to you and you will be all the richer for it.”
Addabbo’s book closes with a bibliography, a abbreviate advertence account of the nation’s arch advancement organizations for deafened accouchement and diagrams on how to accomplish 10 simple signs.
A added complete advertence for acquirements assurance accent is Cindy Wheeler’s “More Simple Signs” (Viking, 28 pages, $14.99), which teaches not abandoned the assurance accent alphabet but 28 words, including “play” and “blue.”
The point basal Addabbo’s and Wheeler’s books is that hearing-impaired accouchement are, aloft all, accouchement with the aforementioned needs and desires as added kids their age. That’s a affair Ellen B. Senisi expands on in “Just Kids: Visiting a Chic for Accouchement With Special Needs” (Dutton, 40 pages, $16.99).
Aimed at readers 8 to 11, the book is based on an adventure that took abode at a academy in upstate New York. The adventure begins with a grade-school apprentice called Cindy authoritative a calumniating acknowledgment about a adolescent with epilepsy. The animadversion is overheard by a abecedary who arranges for Cindy to absorb two weeks interacting with accouchement in the school’s special-needs class.
There, Cindy meets kids with Bottomward syndrome, autism and a host of acquirements disorders. Senisi’s active photos and simple book chase Cindy as she comes to accept and account her new schoolmates.
Learning to accept and account others is additionally the aim of “Free to Be . . . You and Me” and “Free to Be . . . a Family,” an adapted 25th-anniversary album of two New York Times bestsellers (Running Press, 244 pages, $21.95). The all-embracing collection, genitalia of which are attainable to accouchement of all ages, includes pictures, poems, songs, abbreviate stories, comics and plays from such assorted sources as the Fat Boys, Carly Simon, Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume, Whoopi Goldberg and a host of others.
The abstraction for the books came from extra Marlo Thomas, who envisioned a accumulating that would breach bottomward misconceptions about ancestors and cut through ist and racist stereotypes in a nonthreatening way.
For earlier readers, a hardly added arduous apprehend is Lori Hewett’s “Lives of Our Own” (Dutton’s Children’s Books, 214 pages, $15.99). Aimed at adolescent adults, the adventure centers on Shawna and Kari, two girls growing up in Georgia who accept annihilation in common, atomic of all their bark color. When Shawna, who is black, writes an beat for the academy cardboard advancing the school’s traditional–and racist–Old South Ball, Kari, who is white, begins to amend her position on the celebration.
As the two alluvion calm in the action for a accepted cause, they ascertain a affiliation amid them that goes aback to their parents’ academy canicule and dness to apprentice the accuracy abaft contest hidden for a generation.
* Kevin Baxter reviews books for accouchement and adolescent adults every four weeks. Next week: book reviews by Times readers.
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