Books by Lou Ann Walker

Released: March 1, 1994

Building toward the 1988 ``revolt'' at Gallaudet University, when student demand for a deaf president raised public consciousness regarding the needs, rights, and capabilities of the deaf, Walker—a sign language interpreter and the daughter of deaf parents—traces the status of the deaf since ancient times. She describes cruel discrimination, based on the belief that the deaf were mentally defective, in Europe and America; early schools in France and Britain; and, especially, the 19th-century efforts of the Gallaudets (father and son) and Alexander Graham Bell to educate the deaf in the US. The feud between Bell, who (with regrettable condescension) espoused what's now called ``mainstreaming,'' and Edward Gallaudet, champion of signing over speech, is perpetuated in the ongoing debate over whether deaf children should be raised as handicapped members of the larger society or as ``Deaf'' people with their own sophisticated language and culture; concluding with an inspiring gallery of role models (deaf lawyers, actors, educators, a figure skater) Walker makes a good case for the evolving Gallaudet philosophy without ruling out the other's benefits. With a good balance between advocacy and illuminating detail, a book that's sure to arouse interest in the deaf and respect for their accomplishments. Ample bibliography; b&w photos and index not seen. (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

A harmoniously formatted portrait of a pop artist of sure interest to young readers, with excellent quotes from interviews, 20 telling color photos of the artist at work, and 19 reproductions of his paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately, Walker's clumsy text doesn't begin to match these illustrations. Its poor organization, jumping from biographical details to work habits to techniques and back, leads to needless repetition, while the author fails to clarify important terms like ``Benday dots,'' leaves hazy such details as the precise role of Lichtenstein's ``assistant,'' in one instance literally misreads the art (it's not the ``jaw'' that the fist in ``Sweet Dreams Baby!'' has apparently just hit), and brings up the concept of composition for virtually the first time on the last page. The works' dimensions are omitted, as are their locations (according to the publisher, some are in the retrospective that just opened at the Guggenheim and will be on tour for the immediate future, but some kind of comment would alert young readers to the idea that such works can be enjoyed in the original). But ultimately, though this is far from a complete picture, there's much here that's intriguing about the craft of this unique contemporary; the book may well inspire interest in his work. (Nonfiction. 9- 12) Read full book review >