Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad

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9781563975554: Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad
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Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction

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With courage & wit, a deaf boy delivers a dangerous message.
SECRET SIGNS is a picture book/adventure story. In the early drafts of SECRET SIGNS, I had written the protagonist as a hearing child, entrusted with the dangerous task of relaying an important message to a contact on the Underground Railroad. But the story wasn't working, because there was no compelling reason why the child could not simply whisper the message to his contact while the villian's back was turned. Well, years ago, I was a teacher at the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut and to this day, I finger-spell to myself when I'm idle...So there I was, sitting on the back porch, staring out over the yard, finger-spelling random thoughts, when I noticed what my hand was doing. The answer to my plot problem was literally at my finger tips: the character could be deaf. This thought excited me because the character's deafness is, as actress, Linda Bove (Sesame Street) has said, "only secondary to his many attributes." Additionally, I liked the fact that his deafness is the key that opened the door to the resoultion of the story.

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