Saturday’s Book: Phew! They AREN’T Throwing Apples & Zebras Down The Drain

Throwing Apples & Zebras down the drain (Naomi's photos)
Throwing Apples & Zebras down the drain
(Naomi’s photos)

This isn’t a regular “Saturday’s Book” post. But it is about a book that for two days this week I thought had ceased to exist.

And I was very upset.

On Tuesday I got a phone call notifying me that the last copy of my program for teaching deaf and hard of hearing children (and other struggling learners) how to read in English as a foreign language, “Apples and Zebras”, ┬áhad been sold and there would be no more copies. Effectively, the book no longer existed.

I only have one copy at home.

I tried to tell myself that is the way of the world and coursebooks come and go.

Except there aren’t any coursebook writers fighting to write new materials for deaf children who need a fun program that won’t be based on the oral/aural approach, won’t compare minimal pairs of letters (the difference between n/t/d can’t be seen on the lips) and will have the children reading meaningful sentences early on. And there are certainly aren’t publishers fighting to publish for a population of approx 1000 books a year.

Obedient tree suffers quietly
Obedient tree suffers quietly

Nor are publishers interested in publishing self-explanatory, complete programs that can be taught by lovely ┬áteachers who have never seen a deaf person in their life, and may not even be English teachers (sometimes they are special ed teachers), but agreed to teach a class of deaf children to completer their hours or “get a foot in the door”. We mustn’t forget the teacher’s aide who takes the struggling hard of hearing child out of the regular classroom which is busy chanting and merrily stomping their feet as they sing. What is she to do with the child who has learned all the body movements related to the songs but not the English in them? The child needs to learn to read quickly so he/she can have the text which will enable participation. What will guide her?

But to put all that aside, simply put – the book is “my baby” too. I worked very hard on writing it and on getting it published. Full disclosure, my second book for older struggling learners did not do well, but this one has been doing very well for over 20 years. Material writing is part of my identity. I’m in the midst of writing materials for my students for the new literature program and I love it.

Having the book disappear really hurt.

Thank goodness I was misinformed. The last book was sold and they have axed all the other publications for our population, but an additional 500 Apples and Zebras books have been ordered. When money is tight, why give up on something that actually sells well?

I needed to write about it because I still haven’t gotten over my feelings this week, even though I know its not true. For me, writing helps.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *