The Sound of All Things by Myron Uhlberg. Illustrated by Ted Papoulas. Peachtree, 2016
Both of the young narrator’s parents are deaf, but his father has vague memories of hearing as a child and often asks his son to describe in detail the sounds of experiences they share. On a trip to Coney Island the boy’s father asks him to describe the sound of the roller coaster they ride, and, later, the ocean waves. The boy, who speaks sign language to his parents, tells his dad waves are “loud.” His dad signs, “Don’t be lazy.” The boy thinks and tries again, explaining that the pounding water sounds like a hammer. That’s better, but the boy wants to say even more. A book of poems about the ocean turns out to be exactly what he needs. A story based on the author’s own childhood is set in the 1930s and features illustrations that vividly capture time and place along with the warmth of the loving family at the center of the lengthy picture book narrative. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:
- How does the boy describe sounds for his father? How would you describe a sound you hear around you?
- The librarian helps the boy find a strategy for describing sounds. What is the strategy and how do the librarian and the boy develop this strategy?
- In what ways does the boy grow or change because he is the interpreter for his parents?