Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Celebration Tour and Giveaway!

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award, Alyson from Kidlit Frenzy asked me to talk about my favorite of the winners. I will always have a place in my heart for my students who are deaf and hard of hearing so I'm sharing thoughts about Five Flavors of Dumb, Hurt Go Happy and Wonderstruck because they tell great stories of characters who are deaf and hard of hearing. 
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John stands out to me because the main character, Piper, has such a spitfire attitude and she doesn't let her disability get in her way. I love that readers can see how determined she is and that when she sets her mind to something, she can get it accomplished and learn about herself and make friends along the way. Students who are deaf and hard of hearing usually have to work on developing good communication skills and strategies for how to navigate difficult listening situations. Piper definitely shows readers how she deal with these situations and how she doesn't let her hearing loss stand in her way. As an added bonus, this book is also great for music lovers or musicians. Oh, and did I mention, it's got an absolutely amazing title that doesn't just poke fun but jabs away at the misconception that people who are deaf are unintelligent.
Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby is a book that both Kellee and I love. Kellee will be sharing more about Hurt Go Happy at her blog Unleashing Readers on the 18th so be sure to check it out! Hurt Go Happy is one of my favorite Schneider winners again because of the strong main character. Joey, like Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb, learns a lot about herself as the story goes on. Reading Joey's story gave me an even stronger sense of how isolated it might feel to not be able to participate easily in conversations. Students who are deaf and hard of hearing often need to watch facial expressions and read lips to participate in a discussion and/or they may rely on using sign language to communicate. It's not always easy for hearing family or friends to remember this even when they have the best intentions. I was constantly talking to my students about advocating for themselves. By the end of the book, we see how Joey grows and gains confidence in advocating for herself and I loved to share this with my students.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick was a book that surprised me and fascinated me at the same time. I wasn't expecting this book to be about characters with hearing loss at all so I was excited when I realized it and even more so because of all the artwork that drives so much of the story as well. While this is a super-thick book, it's definitely a book I could recommend to students to read because of the blend of text and artwork. Many students who are deaf and hard of hearing experience a delay in language development which impacts their reading skills. One of the strategies for working with students who are deaf and hard of hearing is to offer visual support. Selznick's style of including text with pictures makes Wonderstruck a great recommendation for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

I'm so excited to be part of this celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Family Book Award! Recently the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag garnered attention on Twitter. When I saw the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag, I didn't think about books with characters with disabilities as being part of that but it makes so much sense. In reading Alyson's post about her experience with the Schneider Award, I was happy to see this: "As we think about the need for diversity in books, let us remember that children and adults with special needs should also see themselves portrayed positively among the pages of the books that we read." I know that Five Flavors of Dumb, Hurt Go Home, and Wonderstruck helped me gain a deeper understanding of what it might be like to be deaf and hard of hearing and that they also hold characters my students could identify with. It really makes a difference to see yourself reflected in the pages of a book. 

And really celebrate, Alyson has a giveaway! One person will win a set of all 3 Schneider Family Book Award Winners from 2014.  Participants must be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address. There will be one winner but you can enter from any of the blogs as part of this celebration.

Check out all of the great blogs participating in the
Schneider Family Book Award 10th Anniversary Blog Tour & Giveaway:

July 6, 2014 Nerdy Book Club
July 6, 2014 Kid Lit Frenzy
July 7, 2014 Nonfiction Detectives
July 9, 2014 Teach Mentor Texts
July 10, 2014 There’s a Book For That
July 11, 2014 Kathie Comments
July 12, 2014  Disability in Kidlit
July 14, 2014 Librarian in Cute Shoes
July 15, 2014 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
July 16, 2014 Read, Write, and Reflect
July 17, 2014 Read Now Sleep Later
July 18, 2014 Unleashing Readers
July 19, 2014 Great Kid Books
July 20, 2014 Maria’s Mélange

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