Friday, November 30, 2012

My Heart Glow by Emily Arnold McCully

The cover of the book My Heart Glow by Emily Arnold McCully.
The cover of My Heart Glow
by Emily Arnold McCully.
My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language was written by Emily Arnold McCully. I stumbled upon it at the library where I work, and I'm happy I did; it's a very interesting, concise retelling of the story of young Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and Laurent Clerc.

Alice was a young woman in the 19th century who felt alienated from her peers, and unable to communicate beyond simple finger signing with her siblings. Through Thomas Gallaudet's help she became able to read and write. After Gallaudet took a trip to Europe and met Clerc, they established the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut and enabled the development of American Sign Language.

The book uses illustration and text to tell Alice's story to young viewers. By presenting the story from the viewpoint of someone their age, McCully is able to make the story relatable, and she also includes excerpts from Alice's letters to Gallaudet, demonstrating how she was able to write. I think it's a worthy read for anyone interested in Deaf history of any age.

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