A day in the life of a young hearing boy and his deaf parents. 
The Brooklyn family takes an outing to Coney Island, where they enjoy the rides, the food, and the sights. The father longs to know about how everything sounds, and his son does his best to interpret the noisy surroundings through sign language but finds it difficult. He simply needs more words to convey a wider variety of sounds. When the family drops in at the library on the way home, the boy realizes that in these many books he will be able to find a wealth of new words to help him explain the hearing world to his father.

Another way to enjoy the book is to look for the name "Sally" hidden in each main image. Not only is Sally my daughter's name, but also the name of my mother, my wife's mother and the author Myron's mother's nickname. 


"Papoulas' vivid paintings animate the setting and sentiment with photographic attention to faces and period details, silently evoking a din of everyday noises that seems impossible to convey."


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Illustrated by Ted Papoulas, Written by Myron Uhlberg

It was an honor to bring Myron's true story to life through my illustrations. It is the first picture book I have ever created.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Lexile Measure: 650 (What's this?)
Hardcover: 36 pages
PublisherPeachtree Publishers, Ltd. (March 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1561458333
ISBN-13: 978-1561458332
Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds



Uhlberg draws from his experiences with his deaf parents for this tale of mid-20th-century Brooklyn.

"Many things are loud. Please tell me better," the narrator’s father asks. Thus the son of deaf parents finds himself interpreting not only language, but sound itself. His father, who retains faint memories of hearing, insists that his son’s descriptions enable him to hear "in [his] mind." But expressing something as abstract as sound is daunting for a child, as an outing to bustling Coney Island illustrates. Papoulas' vivid paintings animate the setting and sentiment with photographic attention to faces and period details, silently evoking a din of everyday noises that seems impossible to convey. The narrator's frustration evokes sympathy, his squinting concentration palpable as he signs the woefully inadequate "loud." Despite his frequent use of figurative language—a roller coaster is "like thunder," and ocean waves crash "like a hammer"—he still doesn't have enough words. Finally, he asks a resourceful librarian for books on how to describe sound, and she returns with a promising volume of poetry. The narrator deftly and respectfully describes his conflicting feelings of love and resentment, sometimes envying other children who don't have to interpret for their fathers, but love wins out. Their affection for each other beams from their faces and hands.

A tender demonstration of how familial love is like translation—inexact, difficult, and beautiful. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)



Based on Uhlberg's childhood as the hearing son of two deaf parents, this picture book follows a family through a day in 1930s Coney Island. Opening as father and son plummet "down the shaking mountain" of a roller coaster, the story exudes familial tenderness as the boy and his parents stroll the boardwalk, gaze at the ocean, and eat at their favorite Chinese restaurant. Throughout the day, the boy's father asks him to describe the sounds he cannot hear—a ritual that annoys the boy occasionally, but that he grows to appreciate, especially after he discovers a book of poetry at the library, full of verbal imagery he can share with his father. Painted in lush acrylic and gouache, newcomer Papoulas's illustrations are a love letter to Coney Island at its heyday, the period clothing and gleaming buildings placing readers in the thick of the crowds. While the exchanges between father and son form the heart of the story, Uhlberg (A Storm Called Katrina) also describes, sensitively and powerfully, how the man uses all of his senses to better understand sound.

Ages 6–10. (Mar.)



On a summer evening in 1930s Brooklyn, a young hearing boy enjoys a special evening with his profoundly deaf parents. They ride a Coney Island roller coaster, stroll the boardwalk, enjoy a meal at their favorite Chinese restaurant, stop at the library, and finally take in the fireworks near their home. Throughout, the boy is acutely aware of his role as sound interpreter for his parents. Uhlberg, who covered similar ground in his adult memoir Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love (2009), writes knowingly of the distinctly separate hearing and deaf worlds in which he grew up and his difficulties learning to describe the nuances of the noises all around him. Papoulas' gouache-and-acrylic paintings brim with period details, and the use of sepia tones helps to convey the historic setting. Two related picture books that feature deaf protagonists navigating the hearing world are The Printer (2003) and Dad, Jackie, and Me (2005), both by Uhlman.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association.


School Library Journal Review

Excerpt: "The artist's renderings of the period architecture and fashions of the day are portrayed in impressive gouache and acrylic, just indistinct enough to suggest a memory."


Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross

Excerpt: "The detail of the illustrations, their richness of color and place, appears to be almost photographic, like a family album of post-war Coney Island." 


Select Reader Reviews

"WOW. This is definitely an early contender for next years Caldecott for me. It is gorgeous!! The illustrations look like something I would hang on my ways. The text tells the beautiful story of a boy who discovers the powerful difference that words can make when used to describe the sounds that his father cannot hear."
- Cheryl (Good Reads Review)
"I can't say enough about this superb book. The magnificent illustrations flawlessly help to tell the story and the words touch the readers heart."
- Sally Cogan (Amazon Review)
"This is an extraordinarily beautiful and moving book, filled with gouache and acrylic illustrations that take readers right to the busy streets of 1930s Brooklyn and the hustle, bustle, and fun of Coney Island. "
- Barbara (Good Reads Review)
"The vibrant and detailed illustrations make the reader part of the scene. This is a wonderful tool for learning about just how disabilities affect everyday life."
- Sue Poduska (Good Reads Review)
"I can not imagine an artist being able to accomplish what Mr. Papoulas has done in this book. But the pictures above are outstanding."
- Vera Godley (Comment on Peachtree Publisher's Blog)
"The historical details present in the gouache and acrylic artwork were fascinating to look at and the author's note gives the reader some insight into the inspiration behind this story."
- Samantha (Good Reads Review)
" The illustrations were incredibly well done and made me feel. Definitely a must have for all library collections."
- Sandy (Good Reads Review)