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Show Me a Sign Hardcover – March 3, 2020
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Praise for Show Me a Sign:"LeZotte's novel is more than just a page-turner. Well researched and spare, it's a sensitive portrayal of a young girl's fight for respect and human dignity... Like Laurie Halse Anderson's "Seeds of America" trilogy, this work of historical fiction offers a fresh perspective on the post-Revolutionary War years by exploring issues that are just as relevant today. Middle-grade readers of every age will find a girl to root for who is asking all the right questions as she grows." -- Newbery Medalist, Meg Medina for the New York Times* "LeZotte weaves threads of adventure, family tragedy, community, racism, and hearing people's negative assumptions about Deaf people into a beautiful and complex whole. Mary overcomes her own ordeal with the support of her community, but in the process she discovers that there is no silver bullet for the problems and prejudices of the world. There is no hollow inspirational content to be found in this tale... LeZotte acknowledges the racial tensions among the English, black, Irish, and Wampanoag residents of Martha's Vineyard, creating a dynamic that Mary interacts within but cannot fix... A vivid depiction of Deaf community along with an exciting plot and beautiful prose make this a must-read." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Everything about this novel is nuanced, from the syntax of the sign language to the discussions of island politics and history. Mary's dramatic adventure will enthrall readers, but her internal journey-from being an uncomfortable witness to prejudice (including her mother's toward the Wampanoag and freedmen, or former slaves), to experiencing it herself, to determining to oppose it by leading by example-is equally important, and profound." -- The Horn Book, starred review* "LeZotte crafts a moving tale of 1805 Martha's Vineyard that highlights issues still relevant more than 200 years later, including racism, ableism, and prejudice... these themes add nuance to the expertly crafted story of Mary, her response to her situations, her courage, and her hope that she will reunite with the community she loves. Exceptionally written, faced paced, and full of topics that will inspire deep discussion. A valuable addition to secondary elementary or middle school collections." -- School Library Journal, starred review* "LeZotte's engrossing historical novel explores prejudice and racism through the eyes of 11-year-old Mary Lambert, who is deaf. ... LeZotte, who is deaf, deftly connects the islanders' prejudice against the Wampanoag to the mainlanders' view of deaf individuals as lesser; Mary's progressive attitudes feel modern while aligning with her character's sensibilities." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review"Show Me A Sign is the rare book by a Deaf writer illuminating the Deaf experience for young readers. LeZotte takes us on an extraordinary journey that Deaf readers will surely identify with, and which will come as a revelation for hearing readers, reminding us that, as LeZotte says in the book, "We are fine as we are made." Show Me A Sign is a triumph for everyone!" -- Brian Selznick, creator of Wonderstruck and the Caldecott Honor Book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret"There is so much to love about Show Me a Sign, I hardly know where to begin. LeZotte's storytelling is engrossing, and Mary is an endearing, resilient hero. This book blew me away. I can't wait to share it!" -- Alex Gino, Stonewall Award-winning author of George"Show Me a Sign celebrates our differences and our sameness, our past and our future. Spend time in Mary's world. You'll be better for it." -- Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the Newbery Award Winner, Hello, Universe"Precise and thoughtful... LeZotte's depiction of language is striking -- the reader sees the difference in conversations in spoken English and MVSL -- and she thoughtfully addresses tensions among the white, Black, and Wampanoag people who share the island. LeZotte, who is Deaf, makes the point that nothing should stand in the way of building community and seeking equality, a sentiment that resonates today." -- Booklist"An interesting and very enjoyable work of historical fiction about a time period and topic that has rarely been written about... LeZotte's writing is fresh, crisp, and exciting. The way she portrays the deaf community and the nuances of sign language make the story all the more informative and readable... The information in her [back matter] notes is so intriguing." -- School Library Connection, Highly Recommended"A remarkable story." -- Martha's Vineyard Times
About the Author
Ann Clare LeZotte is the author of the Schneider Family Book Award-winning novel Show Me a Sign, which was named a best book of the year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library and American Indians in Children's Literature, and was a finalist for the New England Independent Booksellers Association and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.
A passionate advocate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as underserved youth from marginalized communities, Ann worked for many years as a youth librarian in Gainesville, Florida. Ann says, "During the pandemic, I've kept in touch with Deaf library youth at home with families who don’t sign. The isolation is real -- there will be a long-lasting gap. It’s getting harder to tell them all their dreams can come true. But continuing Mary Lambert’s story, the darkness and the light, shows them that they’re still counted in." In her free time, Ann enjoys yoga and walking her dog Perkins.
- Publisher : Scholastic Press (March 3, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1338255819
- ISBN-13 : 978-1338255812
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 730L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #19,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Found this great discussion guide, sharing with permission.
Show Me a Sign by Anne Clare LeZotte is a unique and wonderful story that has drawn wide acclaim for her representation of Mary, a girl growing up deaf in 1805 in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard. Chilmark is a special place where ASL is universally known and social norms have evolved such that everyone feels included.
This book is rich in themes that inspire discussion about a wide variety of topics, such as the loss of a sibling, cultural oppression, fear of others, devaluing others, land and property rights, racism, and ableism. This set of discussion questions is mainly focused on themes surrounding growing up deaf in an inclusive community. Below you will find: Questions specific to the central theme of growing up deaf in an inclusive environment; Favorite Quotes; General Discussion Questions; Questions about the Author and recommended reviews.
Questions about growing up deaf in an inclusive community
Mary starts her story by warning the reader that “there are accounts of great wickedness along with hope in these pages.” What themes did this warning lead you to think would be in the story? Did you find your expected themes in the story? Did any of the themes surprise you?
What does the author mean when she says that “not every writer comes to English from the same direction?” How did that change your expectations or understanding of the book?
Which cultural norms, practices, and beliefs made Chilmark an inclusive town? Which cultural norms, practices, and beliefs made it exclusionary?
How might Mary’s life have been different if she had grown up in Boston instead of Chilmark?
When Mary explains that it is considered rude to address only the hearing people in the room when speaking, what does that say about Chilmark’s societal norms and expectations?
What did the young scientists' views about deaf people reveal about the way people with disabilities, in general, were viewed outside of Chilmark?
Why might it have been especially terrifying for Mary when her hands were tied?
Do you have a favorite quote from the book? Why did it stand out? Or, select any of the following quotes and discuss why it offers insight into deaf life:
I think I see mama call out to me from the corner of my eye.
I watched her mouth move, her brow pulled down in a scowl. She is yelling at me without signing.
I scream a scream I cannot hear.
I put my hand on the door to feel the vibrations. Nothing but quiet.
I must gasp because Nancy places her hand over my mouth.
Does the shell still make a sound without George’s ear to hear it?
I remain standing so I can express myself with my whole body and not just my hands.
He was signing to no one in particular.
He was opening and closing his hands like he was gathering words out of thin air.
She hushes my hands.
His signs seared my mind.
General Discussion Questions
Do you think that Nancy and Mary’s relationship will survive as the girls grow up? Why or why not?
Mary described Ezra Brewer as signing “aye” by jerking his head back and wiggling his fingers. What were other memorable Ezra Brewer moments?
What aspects of the story could you most relate to?
If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?
Which other disabilities or medical conditions would you like to read about?
Questions About the Author
Do you think this book could have been written by someone who is not deaf? What would be missing?
What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was she trying to get across?
There are many reviews of this book, here are a few we found interesting for their discussion about Ann’s representation of the Wampanoag tribe.
Review by the School Library Journal, December 19, 2020, https://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/07/01/review-of-the-day-show-me-a-sign-by-ann-clare-lezotte/
Review by Indigo’s Book Shelf, October 26, 2019, https://indigosbookshelf.blogspot.com/2019/10/show-me-sign-by-ann-clare-le-zotte.html
About Walk In My Shoes
The Walk In My Shoes Program offers fun, interactive activities designed to provide schools with tools to encourage and foster a welcoming environment for all students. This program can be used by educators to help children learn about developmental delays and medical conditions issues, take the perspective of others and identify strategies they can use to support a friend.
A parent's greatest hope is that their child will feel welcome and safe at school and in their communities. Please share the Walk In My Shoes Program information with teachers, counselors, principals, and PTA presidents today. For more information visit: www.walkinmyshoesprogram.org
The story line is gripping and page turner for me. Good way to learn
some history of the Vineyard,