Cover Image: The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book, especially as I am going to be a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the fall. The author did a great job of telling his story as a child, including all of his feelings - negative and positive. This would be a great resource for a child with Deaf or HH parents. I enjoyed this so much, I just bought the author's other book. 4.5/5 stars
Was this review helpful?
I received this from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Sound of Silence is a wonderful middle grade adaptation of The Hands of My Father, a book I knew nothing about going into this read. From the first chapter I knew this was a good book. Myron details his life growing up hearing with two deaf parents. Like most kids Myron was self-conscious of being different from his peers. His family, and especially his father, were often underestimated by neighbors, co-workers, and strangers in this depression era story. His parents were regularly referred to as dummies and they frequently got stares as they communicated in sign. Unlike most kids, though, Myron's ability to hear and sign have him the added responsibility of serving as translators between his parents and the hearing world. The weight of translating included not only interactions with teachers and the butcher, but with doctors in some serious medical situations. I really enjoyed this read and have already recommended it to several friends.
Was this review helpful?
I read this book as I believed it was an Important topic that is not talked about enough, and it covered it beautifully. The emotions that are explored through being torn between the worlds of both the hearing and the silent and heart wrentching.
Even the slow build up at the beginning was appreciated into ease the topic, and I will be recommending this read to many relatives and friends.
Was this review helpful?
I have to say, this was not what I was expecting. Not at all in a bad way. It was very insightful and explained the feelings of a boy torn between two worlds. I can’t imagine what that would have been like, growing up with deaf parents and needing to translate for them. And in such a different world than we live in now.

As a teen, I knew a girl in my church who was deaf. There were a couple ladies who would come and interpret the service for her, and all of us girls learned how to sign our our young women group’s motto, to make her feel closer to us. When her interpreters couldn’t come to girls camp with us, it was harder. We tried furiously to write instructions and lessons down as we heard them, but it wasn’t the same. She was always so appreciative, but I know it must have been frustrating. This book helped me to see just a glimpse into what her world is like. It’s gotten a lot better since the 1940s for sure, but it’s still hard.

While it was an autobiography of that time in his life, I think that this is a great book to suggest to teens. ASL instructors in middle grade and high school could use it to explain what the deaf are going through. History teachers could use it to help illustrate what it might have been like growing up during the depression and World War II, as well as the cruel effects of racism and intolerance. Readers will see a life of sometimes overwhelming challenges, but also see the learning moments and strength to overcome.

https://auntaddiesbookshelf.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/the-sound-of-silence/
Was this review helpful?
An autobiography of Myron Uhlberg that focuses on his childhood in Brooklyn and what it was like to grow up hearing with two deaf parents. 

This book is evidently a young reader’s adaptation of Uhlberg’s autobiography for adults <i>Hands of My Father</i>. Uhlberg’s story is fascinating. Because of his parents’ deafness, he was forced to act as an interpreter between them and the hearing world and act like an adult in some ways from a young age. His younger brother also had epilepsy and required care that, especially at night, his parents wouldn’t be aware of. So he was part-time care taker of his younger brother, the bridge between his parents and the rest of the hearing world, and also a boy in the 40s and 50s who just wanted to be a boy. Uhlberg shares his stories with a good dose of humor and though he admits he sometimes got tired of the responsibilities forced on him, his love for his family also shines through. It sounds like it could be a heavy read, but it isn’t at all. Overall, you get the feeling that he had a happy childhood. His parents were loving and caring (to an extent that puts many other parents to shame…the stories about his father attending ALL his high school football games and ALL his college home football games were quite touching). This is a fantastic addition to children’s literature. My father worked with a man who was deaf when I was quite young and learned some sign language to be able to communicate with him. I remember meeting this man several times at my father’s office, and I realized while reading this I can’t remember not knowing about deafness or sign language learning about it so young. I’m realizing most people probably don’t know someone by name who is deaf by the time they are 3. I’m guessing most readers in elementary school and middle school will still be largely unintroduced to anyone deaf by the time they read this, and it will be a door into a world they know nothing or very little about. It is an important door that is also presented in a very entertaining way. At times heartwarming, very informative, and with moments of laugh out loud humor, follow around a boy who had a unique but also utterly ordinary life. Highly recommended. (And make sure you have a sign language book on hand too, because I think this will inspire many readers to want to learn to sign.)

<i>I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</i>
Was this review helpful?
A text adapted for a young audience is hard to pull off. Often what made the original noteworthy is missing from the adaptation. Extra information is removed and vocabulary is simplified so there's no atmosphere or artistry.
Chapters are short and get their point across but it can feel a bit clinical.
Was this review helpful?
Fantastic! What an amazing young adult version of Myron Uhlberg's life, wonderfully told and written. Looking forward to getting thing book and reading it to and with little ones.
Was this review helpful?
I received an eARC through netgalley.

Beautifully illustrated and a wonderful memoir of the author's childhood growing up with deaf parents. I appreciated the view of what it is like being the interpreter for deaf parents during the WWII era.
Was this review helpful?
In this adaptation of his adult memoire, I learned about Uhlberg's experience being the hearing son of deaf parents from his birth until he went to college. There were fun times and bad times, happy times and sad times, but what was never lacking was love. 

This book hit me straight in the feels right out of the gate, and it's a great testament to how well Uhlberg conveyed his emotions to me. I felt his frustration, rage, shame, worry, confusion, pride, and joy. Many times, he had conflicting emotions, which was understandable, because of his situation, and he did an incredible job helping me feel the full weight of his struggle.  

One thing that stood out, was the amount of responsibility young Myron had to take on. At an early age, he served as his father's ears and voice in the hearing world. He often had to translate for his father, and felt stuck somewhere between being a kid and being an adult. It wasn't just his parents he cared for either. His younger brother suffered from epilepsy, and Myron was tasked with caring for him as well. He never let this responsibility snowball into resentment, because his love for his brother was so fierce. It took him a little longer to fully embrace his role in his father's life, but he made peace with that as well. 

I really loved all these snapshots of Myron's life, which not only allowed me to witness his family dynamic, but also gave me a window into Deaf culture during the depression era. The prejudice the deaf faced was terrible, but Myron's father didn't let it keep him from succeeding in his endeavors. 

This book was written with that warm and lovely nostalgic tone that I adore. That coupled with the fact, that Myron grew up close to my old Brooklyn neighborhood, made this a fun walk down memory lane. I had so such a great time touring Brooklyn, and I really appreciated the historical bits he chose to weave into this story. 

Overall, this was a beautiful and touching story of the complicated, but loving, relationship between a father and son, which warmed my heart and filled me with joy.
Was this review helpful?
Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Sound of Silence is a young reader’s adaptation of Myron Uhlberg’s memoir Hands of My Father. Full disclosure, I didn’t even realize that while I was reading the book which certainly speaks to the quality of the adaptation.

Myron Uhlberg was born in the Great Depression era to two deaf parents. At the time, deafness was greatly misunderstood, and when Myron was born, they weren’t sure if he would be hearing or deaf. However, Myron was born hearing, and unlike his parents who became deaf after illnesses in childhood, he retained his hearing.

Because Myron was hearing, he ended up acting as a de facto liaison between his parents’ world and the hearing world. He served as their interpreter in many situations, including at stores, doctor’s offices, and parent-teacher conferences.

Because Myron didn’t quite fit in to either world, hearing or deaf, he struggled a bit as a child with making friends. It didn’t help either that when his younger brother came along, his brother was diagnosed with epilepsy.

The young-reader adaptation has short easy-to-consume chapters, and the story of Uhlberg’s life is an interesting subject, one that I would have devoured when I was in the targeted age group for this book. Younger readers who are like I was will definitely be interested.

The Sound of Silence releases on May 1.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a beautiful story bringing the reader into Myron’s upbringing as a hearing boy in a deaf family. The vocabulary was so rich, and the experiences from his life were fascinating! I didn’t want to put the book down and can’t wait to share it with my students!
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful “junior” adaptation of the full book. I enjoyed this version as much as the original one. It’s a wonderful look at deaf culture and how it effects everyone.
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful memoir about the hearing child of deaf parents. Uhlberg writes clearly and vividly  about his childhood in Coney Island in the 1940s.  He also manages to put his life in historical context, really giving the feel of life in Brooklyn in the WW2 era. 

Translating for his father renders Myron an adult, but as soon as it is over he returns to being a child. There’s often an internal conflict—not wanting to translate offensive comments on either side. This translating makes Myron mature quickly, as does his brother's epilepsy. Yet, he's still a child, climbing buildings, escaping bullies, and playing in the neighborhood. Never self-pitying, The Sound of Silence is written with kindness for all the characters. 

Myron not only interprets, but his father often asked him to describe sounds to him, like thunder, wind, waves:
“‘Wet like waves!’ I finally signed. ‘Waves sound like a billion water drops breaking apart when they smack down on the hard sand, all the tiny sounds joining to make one great sound. A wet, falling ocean sound,’ I added desperately.” 
Perhaps this birthed the writer.  

Wonderful story, highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Born during the Great Depression, Myron had a typical Brooklyn life... except for the fact that both of his parents were Deaf. From the relatives banging pots and pans to make sure he could hear to having to translate the outside world, for his parents everywhere from the butcher's shop to parent-teacher conferences, Myron's job was always to help support his parents. When his younger brother was born, he was the first line when the boy woke up, and when the brother started having severe seizures, it was Myron who woke up with his and who got critical information from the doctors. His father working at a newspaper in the printing division, which employed Deaf men because they could work unperturbed by the loud racket. This memoir recounts not only Myron's interactions with his parents, but also a fascinating amount of information about the Great Depression, World War II, and family life in Brooklyn in the 1940s, but always thought the lens of Myron's tangential relationship to the Deaf experience.
Strengths: Myron's (and it's hard to think of him as Mr. Uhlberg, since he is young in the book!)interactions with his parents are filled with both love and frustration. While a lot was asked of him, and he could have been overwhelmed, he is from a generation where you did what you had to do and you didn't complain. Young readers need stories like this, since they see so little of this philosophy at work in modern day life! There are lots of funny moments in this, like when Myron is not exactly signing the correct things to his parents and teachers during a conference, but also filled with many moments where the descriptions of the difficulties and injustices faced by the family were brilliantly sad. The depictions of daily life make this perfect for a Decades project that our 7th grade students do, and the book had the same feeling of authenticity that Meltzer's Tough Times had.
Weaknesses: This is a young readers' edition of  Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love (2009), and I wish there had been pictures included, at least on the cover, although the cover is quite nice. 
What I really think: This is a fantastic book on so many levels. Certainly the depiction of Deaf culture at this point in history is fascinating and not covered in anything I have read, but it is the details of daily life that made this so enjoyable for me. I've read a lot of books set in New York City during this time, and this was a perfect distillation of everything I thought I knew about it. It also reminded me a bit of the wonderful movie Avalon. Definitely purchasing and recommending heavily to students.
Was this review helpful?
What an interesting read! I found this book fascinating. It's a glimpse into the world of a boy who grew up with parents who happened to be deaf. The story takes place in Brooklyn in the 1930s and 40s.

This is not your typical middle-grade read, however. The book is not plot-driven and is episodic in nature. Basically, it's a slice of life. One of my favourite scenes was when he teaches his classmates how to sign. 

I personally really enjoyed this book; not sure how kids will take it, though. I would probably recommend it for older kids who are interested in memoir, and also the subject of deafness and what it means to be deaf. 

**I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Was this review helpful?
Uhlberg's tale of growing up hearing in a deaf family is heartwarming. Many times authors focus on what it is like to grow up with a disability, but few ask what it's like to grow up in a disabled family. This book would make a great gift.
Was this review helpful?
This is the story of a boy with normal hearing growing up with deaf parents and the issues that caused in a time when disability awareness was significantly less than it is now. It's a very personal story and the situation put a lot of responsibility onto a small child that was often stressful and at times heartbreaking.

Acting as an interpreter between his parents and the hearing world from the time he could talk, young Myron was sometimes put in the uncomfortable position between his father's temper flashes and people he didn't want to insult. Worse, when his younger brother developed epilepsy, he was the one who was expected to deal with seizures that his parents couldn't hear happening.

It was a lot to expect of a child and prevented him from having a normal childhood. Often the cruelty of ordinary people was such that they referred to the parents as "dummies" because they couldn't communicate in ways the general population were used to. It's an ongoing problem today with companies that only offer customer service by phone, assuming anyone deaf can afford specialist equipment for phone communication and not catering to the hard of hearing at all.

It was well written and gave insight into the life of a person born into unusual circumstances. I felt it ended at just the right point too, though I wonder how his parents got on after he grew up and moved away. I think this kind of story is useful for people to get insight into what it's like to grow up in a family where disability creates special circumstances, so those who haven't had this experience can develop empathy for the diversity of people who live among us.
Was this review helpful?
The author tells personal stories about his deaf father in this heartwarming memoir. It tells stories of perseverance and being yourself. I absolutely loved it.
Was this review helpful?
This memoir is lovely and gives the reader a glimpse at life in Brooklyn in the 1940s. The author’s parents were both deaf and the discrimination that they experienced is addressed. Myron is a hearing child and he has to be the interpreter for his parents. His first language is ASL but he acquires English and laments the fact that he wasn’t as expressive as he could have been in sign. The relationship between Myron and his father is particularly touching. I can’t wait to share this book.
Was this review helpful?