Reviews for The words in my hands

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Near-future Australia is controlled by Organicore, a company that produces the “perfectly balanced” synthetic meals that have all but replaced wild food. Now prices are spiking, sustenance is scarce, and Piper McBride, 16, Deaf, and cued white, begins to wonder if wild food is as dangerous as Organicore’s propaganda says. With Marley, a 19-year-old CODA (child of Deaf adult), Piper finds not only romantic connection but a new world of possibility: Marley and his Deaf mother, also cued white, teach Piper Australian Sign Language—Piper grew up oral, lipreading and speaking instead of signing—and how to grow her own food. Both skills help Piper gain independence, build new relationships, and envision a more sustainable society. Determined, artistic Piper is a compelling narrator as she grows beyond her hearing mother’s constrictive expectations, making clear the marginalization that Deaf members of mostly hearing societies can experience as well as the power of community. Textured by Asphyxia’s own full-color paint, collage, and drawing illustrations, this debut offers an original and forceful vision of what the world may come to—as well as a vision for building a better future. Ages 13–16. (Nov.)


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Piper has been raised by her single mother to be an independent, oral (speaking) person, even though she became deaf at age three. Her mum feels it's important to appear as normal as possible to make her way successfully in the world, as if being deaf is something she has to compensate for. But lip-reading and using her hearing aids won't make Piper the prosperous bio-engineer her mother is—instead, it only gives her headaches. In this mid-21st century Australian setting, changes to the way food is created, processed, and delivered has led to a repressive society and great cost to the environment. Navigating her way through her mother's fall from grace in the scientific community, the loss of her best friend, a new love interest who seems to somewhat understand her struggle with the demands of her deafness, as well as near starvation, Piper is determined to find her own voice by using her hands—to build a garden of sustainable food sources and finally communicate like she never has before. Augmenting the story is the distinct artwork on almost every page. It reads like a journal and is filled with jotted notes, sketches, slathers of paint, and fully developed illustrations that portray Piper's journey through friendship, love, and her gift of communication without sound. An appended "Dear Reader" section shares how the hearing can be more inclusive to the deaf community. VERDICT Fans of dystopian and realistic fiction will savor this engaging work, and the message will resonate with young activists seeking their own purpose. A standout must-read for teens and adults.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Pub. Schls., OH


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Sixteen-year-old Piper McBride searches for her place as a Deaf person in a mildly dystopian hearing world. In a near-future Australia, the prime minister is a puppet of the Monsanto-like lab-engineered food corporation Organicore. Most people eat Organicore’s nutritionally balanced food products, believing the propaganda that “wild food” is dangerous. With food and fuel prices skyrocketing and supplies tanking, Piper decides to learn how to grow her own food. She meets Marley, a CODA, or child of a deaf adult, who introduces her to Australian Sign Language and to his Deaf mother. Piper, a Deaf person raised oral (with lip reading), and Marley, a signing CODA, must each figure out their relationships to the hearing and Deaf worlds and their relationship with one other. This gentle yet honest story is true to one Deaf experience and is a pleasure to read, with artistic designs on every page and full illustrations and personal touches scattered throughout. The text and illustrations also introduce readers to basic permaculture concepts, including how to start a compost pile and how to set up a mandala garden. Asphyxia skillfully interweaves subjects, including the diversity of Deaf language usage and access, Deaf interactions with the police, and having a friend in an abusive relationship. Piper and all other main characters are White. A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope. (author's note, art journal ideas, note on ASL and Auslan) (Dystopian. 13-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Near-future Australia is controlled by Organicore, a company that produces the “perfectly balanced” synthetic meals that have all but replaced wild food. Now prices are spiking, sustenance is scarce, and Piper McBride, 16, Deaf, and cued white, begins to wonder if wild food is as dangerous as Organicore’s propaganda says. With Marley, a 19-year-old CODA (child of Deaf adult), Piper finds not only romantic connection but a new world of possibility: Marley and his Deaf mother, also cued white, teach Piper Australian Sign Language—Piper grew up oral, lipreading and speaking instead of signing—and how to grow her own food. Both skills help Piper gain independence, build new relationships, and envision a more sustainable society. Determined, artistic Piper is a compelling narrator as she grows beyond her hearing mother’s constrictive expectations, making clear the marginalization that Deaf members of mostly hearing societies can experience as well as the power of community. Textured by Asphyxia’s own full-color paint, collage, and drawing illustrations, this debut offers an original and forceful vision of what the world may come to—as well as a vision for building a better future. Ages 13–16. (Nov.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Organicore’s position of prominence in Australia is slipping now that the nutrient-rich, cancer-eradicating additive used in its manufactured meals appears to have some long-term side effects. For 16-year-old Piper McBride, daughter of the additive’s inventor, this fall from grace upends her life in countless ways. Now living in a renovated shed, Piper and her newly unemployed mother struggle with hunger and to live normal lives. The latter has always been more of a challenge for Piper, who is deaf but generally able to pass as hearing thanks to her hearing aids, lip-reading skills, and speech-therapy lessons. When Piper decides to learn how to grow “wild food,” new worlds open to the teen, both in the philosophies of the guerilla-gardening movement and finding her place in the Deaf community, which teaches her to sign. She channels her passion for art into these new endeavors, and her illustrated journal (aka the book in readers’ hands) contains visual guides to gardening and searing anti-government images that become posters for the movement. Asphyxia, herself Deaf and an artist, has done an outstanding job of relating the experience of being Deaf in this near-future story of a young woman grappling with her identity and finding her voice. The authenticity of this experience and that of being a teen navigating changing friendships and first love make Piper a relatable protagonist whose inner strength will inspire.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Piper has been raised by her single mother to be an independent, oral (speaking) person, even though she became deaf at age three. Her mum feels it's important to appear as normal as possible to make her way successfully in the world, as if being deaf is something she has to compensate for. But lip-reading and using her hearing aids won't make Piper the prosperous bio-engineer her mother is—instead, it only gives her headaches. In this mid-21st century Australian setting, changes to the way food is created, processed, and delivered has led to a repressive society and great cost to the environment. Navigating her way through her mother's fall from grace in the scientific community, the loss of her best friend, a new love interest who seems to somewhat understand her struggle with the demands of her deafness, as well as near starvation, Piper is determined to find her own voice by using her hands—to build a garden of sustainable food sources and finally communicate like she never has before. Augmenting the story is the distinct artwork on almost every page. It reads like a journal and is filled with jotted notes, sketches, slathers of paint, and fully developed illustrations that portray Piper's journey through friendship, love, and her gift of communication without sound. An appended "Dear Reader" section shares how the hearing can be more inclusive to the deaf community. VERDICT Fans of dystopian and realistic fiction will savor this engaging work, and the message will resonate with young activists seeking their own purpose. A standout must-read for teens and adults.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Pub. Schls., OH


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Sixteen-year-old Piper McBride searches for her place as a Deaf person in a mildly dystopian hearing world. In a near-future Australia, the prime minister is a puppet of the Monsanto-like lab-engineered food corporation Organicore. Most people eat Organicore’s nutritionally balanced food products, believing the propaganda that “wild food” is dangerous. With food and fuel prices skyrocketing and supplies tanking, Piper decides to learn how to grow her own food. She meets Marley, a CODA, or child of a deaf adult, who introduces her to Australian Sign Language and to his Deaf mother. Piper, a Deaf person raised oral (with lip reading), and Marley, a signing CODA, must each figure out their relationships to the hearing and Deaf worlds and their relationship with one other. This gentle yet honest story is true to one Deaf experience and is a pleasure to read, with artistic designs on every page and full illustrations and personal touches scattered throughout. The text and illustrations also introduce readers to basic permaculture concepts, including how to start a compost pile and how to set up a mandala garden. Asphyxia skillfully interweaves subjects, including the diversity of Deaf language usage and access, Deaf interactions with the police, and having a friend in an abusive relationship. Piper and all other main characters are White. A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope. (author's note, art journal ideas, note on ASL and Auslan) (Dystopian. 13-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Organicore’s position of prominence in Australia is slipping now that the nutrient-rich, cancer-eradicating additive used in its manufactured meals appears to have some long-term side effects. For 16-year-old Piper McBride, daughter of the additive’s inventor, this fall from grace upends her life in countless ways. Now living in a renovated shed, Piper and her newly unemployed mother struggle with hunger and to live normal lives. The latter has always been more of a challenge for Piper, who is deaf but generally able to pass as hearing thanks to her hearing aids, lip-reading skills, and speech-therapy lessons. When Piper decides to learn how to grow “wild food,” new worlds open to the teen, both in the philosophies of the guerilla-gardening movement and finding her place in the Deaf community, which teaches her to sign. She channels her passion for art into these new endeavors, and her illustrated journal (aka the book in readers’ hands) contains visual guides to gardening and searing anti-government images that become posters for the movement. Asphyxia, herself Deaf and an artist, has done an outstanding job of relating the experience of being Deaf in this near-future story of a young woman grappling with her identity and finding her voice. The authenticity of this experience and that of being a teen navigating changing friendships and first love make Piper a relatable protagonist whose inner strength will inspire.

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