Gallaudet University Press

Interview With the Author

Elizabeth Thompson
Author, Day by Day

GUPress: How did you become interested in writing?

Elizabeth Thompson: Growing up in small town America, we had no distractions such as TV and computers. At night, I remember ideas coming into my head and I would write them down, sometimes poetry and sometimes stories. As a Brownie Scout, our troop met a woman who wrote children’s books and I was enthralled! I remember thinking right then that was what I wanted to do – write books. These two things stand out in my mind as early catalysts to becoming a writer. Then I sent in my first column to Suburban News Publication (SNP). Once it was published, the flood gates were opened and everything was, and is, a topic for my writing - everyday life, my reactions to it and how to cope with obstacles.

I continue to write a column for SNP Newspapers. I love to write and as my hearing left, I often said that writing was just talking through my fingers onto the keyboard. Knowing ASL became natural for me because I am outgoing and love meeting people.

GUPress: What kinds of reactions/comments are you getting from your book?

Elizabeth Thompson: People are telling me they relate with comments like “It was like I was reading my story!”; they know someone with hearing loss; they are encouraged by my writing; those who know me say they didn’t know I was going through “all that” and they want to share my book with others. I recently had a woman tell me her mother has severe hearing loss and doesn’t grasp how it affects the entire family. She wants to buy my book for her and all her siblings so they will all understand both sides of living with hearing loss; so they will be more patient with their mother and hopefully her mother will understand things she can do to improve communication. Many people who have read the book don’t have a hearing loss, or MS, but still can relate to struggling or growing up “different.” It pleases me others are gleaning something helpful from my words.

The best reaction is from my oldest grandson, Jacob, 11, as he told his mother, while reading my book, “I can’t believe I know someone who actually wrote a book!”

GUPress: What did you hope to accomplish by writing this book?

Elizabeth Thompson: Originally, I was writing my columns in the computer to be in one place for my grandchildren to read someday. My first hope was to pass on to my grandchildren the integrity to stand by what you believe and not be afraid to let others know who you are, even with problems.

When Gallaudet University Press accepted my book, I was thrilled! I want to build a bridge between those with hearing loss and the hearing people in this world. I wanted my book to encourage people to persevere, no matter what life put in their path. I wanted people to know that it’s fine to smile through adversity and take a positive outlook on life – even if it’s filled with debris. We don’t have to stay down or be beaten because we can’t hear, walk, talk, see, feel, or whatever, the way the world perceives we should. We can rise above it all to a quality of life that we want.

10:11 Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Think Baby Thoughts

New Book Shares How to Communicate with Your Baby Using American Sign Language

“Have you ever wondered what your baby is thinking?” asks Leann Sebrey, author of The Parents’ Guide to Baby Signs: Early Communication with Your Infant. “Research shows that signing babies actually speak earlier, have larger vocabularies, and show increased self-esteem indicating higher IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and most likely EQ (Emotional Intelligence) as well. Infants who use signs can communicate their thoughts, needs, and ideas. What a tremendous gift to have a window into your baby’s thoughts and to be able to respond with less frustration!”

“I wrote this book primarily for parents, family members, caregivers, and educators of preverbal hearing children,” Sebrey explains. “However, hearing parents of deaf children will also find it useful. In these pages, we will explore American Sign Language skills and techniques and perspectives on teaching signs to preverbal children. You will also find tips for successfully applying your new skills to home, daycare, and classroom environments. My fondest desire is that you find the process rewarding and that the young people in your life will be positively affected.”

Read more in chapter one, “Laying the Foundation for Using American Sign Language with Babies,” and order The Parents’ Guide to Baby Signs at a 20% savings off the regular price. For online orders, type “NOV2008” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the “checkout” button. You may also order by mail.

Wisconsin Bookwatch, an official newsletter of The Midwest Book Review, celebrates Pia Taavila’s Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems: “The deaf, lacking the ability to hear the spoken word, put a special emphasis on the written. ‘Moon on the Meadow’ is a collection from Pia Taavila, a professor of English at Gallaudet University, one of the foremost universities for the deaf in America. The poetry speaks on visual description, evoking emotion from a world without sound showing that it isn’t required to enjoy the beauty of the world. ‘Moon on the Meadow’ is a unique offering, a top pick for poetry lovers everywhere. ‘Slant Cinquain’: Slim, bare/treetops laced the/hidden moon, our sky a/fog no sun could break/we talked till birds called.” You can read more about Taavila’s poetic images that bring a natural focus to aspects of life, love, loss, family, death, and desire in her introduction. Order Moon on the Meadow here.

In Teaching from the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story, author Harry G. Lang features the life of a great deaf educator renowned for his vivacious drama and literature classes, and for helping to found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the National Theatre of the Deaf. A recent review from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education highlights this effort, stating: “Lang does a remarkable job in delving chronologically into Panara’s life to seek out what is meant by teaching from the heart and soul. Weaving together humorous and touching anecdotes on Bob’s Italian heritage, his wife, family, baseball, and teaching along with poems and photographs, Lang illustrates how this phenomenal teacher was shaped by life experiences and the powerful influences of other great teachers....Anyone who has a passion for teaching should be able to enjoy this book.” Read more about the life of Robert F. Panara in chapter sixteen, Being and Reading, and order Teaching from the Heart and Soul.

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