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15:8 Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Classic Novel Reborn

Deaf American Characters Create a Homeland Where They Can Belong, Can Identify With Others, and Can in Turn Be Identified

In Islay: A Novel, author Douglas Bullard “has astutely and hilariously taken the pulse of Deaf American society,” writes Cynthia Pettie (Professor of English, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC) in her foreword. “It is that rarity, a full-length novel about the Deaf American community by a Deaf American in both English and ASL (by way of English glossing). Almost four decades after its original publication, Islay still stands alone as an example of the genre, the Deaf American novel.”

Pettie also notes that, “Bullard was interested in human beings strutting their stuff upon the world’s stage. The Deaf Americans populating the pages of Islay shed tears, fight tooth and nail, make love, endure disillusionment, and dream dreams. One of these recurring dreams is the creation of a homeland. Even today, deaf people have a desire for a ‘place’ where they can belong, can identify with others, and can in turn be identified.”

“Lyson Sulla, the modern-day Moses who leads his people to the Promised Land in Islay is still a hero to today’s Deaf Americans, albeit something of a bumbling anti-hero. Like the restless Deaf American he is, Sulla travels clear across the country and back urging his fellow Deaf citizens to set up housekeeping in the little state of Islay. And sure enough, Deaf Americans of every stripe and hue respond. Before long, these Deaf Americans, these people who are invisible to mainstream hearing society (unless the communication barrier rears its ugly head and their talking hands come into play), these people who appear to be ‘out of it’ (and often are through no fault of their own), somehow take over the little state of Islay from its do-nothing hearing administration. The enterprising Lyson Sulla and his merry band effectively turn the state around, bringing in commerce, industry, and energetic homesteaders. What is on the brink of death and decay becomes fertile and full of vigor. The old order has been turned on its head; a new order has triumphed.”

Read the prologue of this classic novel and receive 20% off when you reserve Islay today. For online orders, type “AUG2013” in the box labeled “use promo code.” Reserve a copy by mail here.


In Tell Me How It Reads: Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center, author Rebecca Day Babcock seeks to “raise awareness about providing quality tutoring services to all students who come into the writing center, beginning with this study of deafness and how it interacts with common tutoring practices.” Choice magazine gives high marks to this new volume stating that “Babcock provides outstanding guidelines for writing centers that serve both deaf and hearing college students. She demonstrates how to conduct tutoring sessions between a deaf tutee and hearing tutee, and also covers common tutoring techniques, including reading aloud (with an interpreter for deaf students), dealing with directiveness, and monitoring and authority. Her research identifies factors that sensitize tutors to the communication, feelings, characteristics, and culture of learners. Summing Up: Recommended.” Meet the deaf tutees included in Babcock’s study, and order your copy of Tell Me How It Reads online or by mail.


Reference & Research Book News recently published this succinct review of Doris Herrmann’s My Life with Kangaroos: A Deaf Woman’s Remarkable Story: “Herrmann describes her fascination with kangaroos, which led to her 40-year career studying the animals in the wild in Australia. She reflects on how her sensitivity to the spirit of the kangaroo, which she believes is due in part to her disability, has affected her life and her relationships with people. The book includes black and white personal photos.” Doris Herrmann was born deaf in 1933 near Basel, Switzerland, and later became blind. Her childhood fascination with kangaroos led her to repeated travels to Australia in her adult years, where she eventually became a respected researcher on the behavior of her beloved marsupials. Read the exclusive interview Herrmann gave with her co-author and editor Michael Gaida now, and order My Life with Kangaroos online or by mail.


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