Isaac Millman's Moses Goes to a Concert
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Meet some very cool deaf kids!
Have you ever gone somewhere and seen people enthusiastically, silently signing? It might be politically incorrect to say it, but I'm going to say it anyway.
It's so cool!
(Actually, please substitute for "cool" whatever word these days would make me seem cool for using it.)
If you've seen your child see signing for the first time, in person, you know the reaction.
Their eyes widen. Their mouths drop somewhat open. If the people doing the signing happen to be children, then your child is that much more impressed.
Your child isn't thinking about what those kids don't have, namely hearing. Your child is thinking about what those kids do have: a way cool/neat/hip/phat way of communicating!
Well, I just read Moses Goes to a Concert. And I want to be these deaf kids!
Check out Moses himself, with those hip round glasses and the baseball cap pointed oh so fashionably backwards. (I'm waiting for young people to start wearing sunglasses on the back of their heads, but let's save that commentary for another time.)
This kid radiates cool and self-confidence. (Maybe partly because author-illustrator Millman has seen fit to honor him with a whole series of Moses books.)
Moses's teacher, Mr. Samuels, is taking the students to a concert. Kids from all over the city are coming, but Mr. Samuels's students are deaf kids. What is the man thinking?
He's thinking that if the kids hold balloons in their laps, they'll be able to feel the music's vibrations. He's thinking that the kids might like to go backstage after the concert, play the percussion instruments and feel the vibrations. And, oh yeah...
He's thinking they might get a kick out of the symphony's visiting soloist...who just happens to be deaf. Oh, and by the way...
There's a real deaf percussionist. Rather famous too!
Moses Goes to a Concert is a celebration. It left me grinning with its message that anyone can do anything if only you
In addition to Millman's joyful illustrations, the book is peppered with diagrams (like the one above) of Moses showing your child precisely how to sign simple words and phrases. The last page features the American Sign Language (ASL) hand alphabet.
That's right: your child can learn sign language from Moses!
It takes a lot of heart to write a book as honestly joyful and hopeful as Moses Goes to a Concert with a message that every child should "hear." Author Isaac Millman likely gets much of that heart from his boyhood experiences surviving the holocaust, documented in the award-winning Hidden Child.
This is an author every family should get to know!
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