I will date myself and say when I was a kid there was a show called Punky Brewster. It was edgy for its time, and watching it today, I laugh at how Afterschool Special it was, but I still have found memories. And one of those was a woman, now I forget the actresses name, but she was deaf. In the story she was “just the janitor” and people thought her dumb because of her deafness. In the children’s music class, she was mimicking the violin, which of course, sets the kids off teasing. However, what we learn is, this character could hear the music, but in her own special way. She felt the vibrations.
|And Evelyn Glennie, a real-life person, could do the same thing. We follow her life from a young child, to about age 10 when she started to lose her hearing, to an adult in Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion. We see how she learns to feel the different instruments, how to tune them, play them, and more all by where they vibrate inside of her. She would let bare feet listen, too. And all the while she would fight people who kept telling her, no you cannot. You must go to a deaf school. No, you cannot play music. No, you cannot come to this prestigious music school. And she would turn around and say, “Wanna bet? “
The author, Shannon Stocker, has had similar experiences with her own health issues. And like Glennie, she learned to say yes, she could. And while we do not have a book showing us this, we have Stocker’s book illustrated by Devon Holzwarth. The pages are busy with details, showing the music floating on the page. The colors bouncing about, and the details crowded around. The book is good for at least ages five and up, but though it is a picture book it would work well for the eight and nine crowd.
An author afterwards is included telling more about her own experiences and filling in more of the pieces of Glennie’s story.