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Hands of My Father 05/31/11
Hands of My Father by Myron Uhlberg is another one that has been on my list since it was first released. I think I heard about the book on NPR or somewhere similar but I'm not sure. Deafness and sign language has been an interest of mine since high school. I had a friend who was learning ASL for her volunteer work.
Myron Uhlberg was born during the Depression as a hearing child to deaf parents. Though both parents were fluent in American sign (or the precursor of it as Uhlberg explains), their families were not and their Brooklyn neighborhood wasn't exactly understanding or welcoming of deafness. As soon as Uhlberg could walk and talk he became his parents' translator, and later keeper of his epileptic brother.
The memoir is a good mixture of his memories of growing up in Brooklyn, his thoughts on how his parents taught him to talk (they kept a radio running by his crib) and how he in turn taught his brother to talk. Mixed together with all those memories are his observations of how Sign works as a language. As a bilingual speaker he's able to poetically describe the nuances of the language, something most of the text books on the subject I've read don't do (nor attempt to do).