Ray, Delia. 2006. Singing Hands.
Set in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1948, Singing Hands is a unique historical novel revealing insight into the hidden--and not-so-hidden prejudices of the times. Augusta “Gussie” Davis is the middle child of her family, not to mention the fact that her father is a well-respected minister...and you’ve got the perfect recipe for rebellious pranks and a summerful of trouble. “Up until the summer of 1948, when I was twelve, probably the worst thing I ever did was hum in church” (v). But there’s more to the story, her parents are deaf; her father ministers not only to the white community but to the black community as well. And his ministry doesn’t stop there, he pastors two churches in Birmingham, and a string of other churches in the South which he travels to during the week. He’s always on the road, never home. And even when he’s home...his attention is never on his hearing daughters. Whether Gussie’s behavior stems from wanting to get her dad’s attention OR is just typical growing pains, the readers will enjoy seeing her get in and out of trouble. Other characters play an important role in her journey to young adulthood as well, the family has two boarders living on the third floor: one, a retired English teacher who loves playing Opera music and runs a milinary shop, and the second a young war-widow who is the town’s librarian.
Singing Hands is the journey of one girl’s unforgettable summer where she learns not only about herself but gains a truer understanding of society as well.
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