Mary has always felt very secure in her life and in her village. However, since her older brother died the year before, and Mary blames herself, she begins to realize that some things she always believed were safe and secure might not be. Mary is deaf and so is her father, but her older brother was hearing and so is her mother. Where they live, on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it is very common for someone to be deaf. In fact, their whole village knows sign language so they can all talk to each other.
One day though, a man shows up and word is that he wants to try to figure out why there are so many deaf people living on that island. After all, it is unusual on the mainland for someone to be born deaf. The man treats those on the island who are deaf as if they are less than and have something wrong with them. Basically he acts like they don’t have any intelligence. This frustrates Mary but at the same time, she is having issues with her best friend Nancy and is realizing that maybe not everyone sees the world as she does.
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte is a fascinating look at life in the 1800s and how communities adapt to the needs of its members.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.