Wednesday, September 09, 2009

M.P. couple writes book on deaf girl's views

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A Mt. Pleasant couple wrote a book when they were in college about a young, deaf girl's perspective of the "everyday world" entitled, "Robin Sees A Song" which is scheduled to release its second edition during Deaf Awareness Week, Sept. 21-27.

Jim and Cheryl Pahz were a young, married couple who worked together educating deaf children at a school in Tennessee where the idea to write the book with their students in mind became a reality.

"We wrote the story together, but my wife did the illustrations," he said. "We were college students at the time."

Cheryl Pahz said that the "main message of the book is that there are a lot of ways people can express themselves."

"They can use colors, and shapes," she said. "I always liked to draw.

"The pictures (for the book) were done after the story was written."

She said the two were working on the creation of different forms of media to aid in teaching deaf children.

"When your young and married and used to doing things together, you get to talking about that stuff," she said. "We would be at home talking about the next lesson plan.

"And the idea was brought up. Wouldn't it be nice to write a story about a deaf girl that our students could relate to."

Jim Pahz said the first edition was published by the National Association of the Deaf in 1977, and 32 years later, the book can be found traded on EBay for $25.

"The minimum bid has been for $25, and when it was first sold, it cost $2," Jim Pahz said. "It will be the second edition, and it is the same story."

Cheryl Pahz said that the two of them have always kept up on their sign language, although they are "no longer fluent."

"It does not take long to learn the signs," she said. "But to be fluent you have to use it a lot more than we do now.

"We're quite rusty. You have to move very fast, and we are not all up to speed."

Jim Pahz is a professor in the School of Health Sciences at Central Michigan University where he has worked for 32 years, and Cheryl Pahz recently retired from working in the CMU library.

"I first heard about Deaf Awareness Week in an e-mail that was sent out by the CMU Department of Communication Disorders," Jim Pahz said. "We both loved working with the deaf children.

"They had so much optimism and a sense of exploration."

Jim Pahz said the book, geared towards children, has been in print for 32 years, it was written because there was not a lot of books on the subject.

"In this book, a young girl wonders what sound is like and what it's like when someone sings," he said. "There are ways to appreciate a song in a number of ways."

The authors have been told that their book is both "heartwarming and uplifting."

They have been married for 40 years, and they would like to continue to work together on more book projects.

"We're both near retirement," Cheryl Pahz said. "I'm proud of the pictures, and I'm proud of the message.

"It gives you inspiration to look at t the world in a different way."