What Do You Hear

07 November 2012

Something thrilling has happened for “On My Honor.” My book has been picked as this year’s “Turn-The-Page-Together” university-wide book club choice by Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. This means Gallaudet is recommending all its students read the book and discuss it. I’ll be speaking to the teachers and kids there next week. This would be exciting no matter the institution, but Gallaudet’s choice, to me, is a particular honor.

Gallaudet educates deaf students, and I was told the reason why the book was chosen is because it is inspiring to this university as a whole. As you probably know, Juliette Gordon Low was almost completely deaf. She lost part of her hearing in one ear during a botched ear treatment as a young woman, and then, bizarrely, a grain of rice lodged in her other ear, infecting it and causing deafness there. Instead of retreating to silence or standing back, Daisy used her deafness to her advantage. She became an incredible storyteller, and sometimes even pretended not to hear someone who was saying something she didn’t want to hear. She fought even in the early days of the Girl Scouts to make sure all girls, no matter their race, religion, economic status or physical ability, would be included and valued.

As I’ve researched Daisy’s life, I’ve thought a lot about hearing, what we choose to hear and what we don’t. And I’ve been fascinated with the way she as a mostly deaf woman lived her life, created a movement, and inspired girls and women around the world.