"Zoey Goes to the Beach" has been released!

I'm happy to announce that "Zoey Goes to the Beach" has been released! Be sure to read in the back about the workshop and how the kids in Denver created this story!

You can download it (FREE) on any Mac computer with Mavericks or iPad. Here's the direct link to download the eBook:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/zoey-goes-to-the-beach/id878332614?mt=11

Enjoy and let me know what you think of it!

Zoey Goes Camping is now AVAILABLE!

I'm happy to announce that the second Zoey Goes book "Zoey Goes Camping" (click on this title to buy) is now available for download on iPad! For the first time, I've added a unique feature, si5swhich is a written American Sign Language (ASL) system.  You have a choice of reading in si5s along with ASL video or written English.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think! :)

 

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Oh, the places Zoey will go!

I'm finally sitting down and typing the keyboard as the last few months were a whirlwind.  I am in the middle of transitioning to Colorado residence! Last April was an eventful month for Zoey Goes, and I wanted to share what we did.  I am grateful for the opportunity to make some appearances, meet new people and see stories about signing books to children.  There is nothing like watching LIVE what a book narrated in THEIR language does to Deaf children.

I was invited by the Rocky Mountain Deaf School to man a Zoey Goes booth on their Career Day for middle and high school students.  It was an opportunity for the students to see what kind of careers Deaf people were pursuing. A range of professionals such as chef, computer engineer, and real estate agent were there.  The students rotated between booths asking professionals questions about their career.  I shared what it was like to be an author and producer of e-books, and the fact that I started from scratch.  Most students were surprised by how relatively easy it is to produce books; it is just a matter of doing it and being willing to learn from mistakes. I also discussed how today's technology has made it easier for people to self-publish compared to the traditional path of getting a book published. I learned that the school has the iBook Author program in their computers, so hopefully I've inspired the students to produce their own e-books! 

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Next, I made an appearance with a booth at an Informational Fair at my friend's local elementary in Denver. I met with Deaf students and their families who came to obtain resources for their children.  Many parents were thrilled and relieved to see an e-book narrated in American Sign Language.  The highlight of this event was a girl, apparently a book worm, who came to my table and immediately read and watched the book page by page. It was wonderful seeing her completely engrossed in "Zoey Goes to the Dog Park"! 

In the same week, the Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Mesa, AZ invited me to a video conference call with their middle and high school students. It was neat to connect with the students via video call and chat with them about Zoey Goes.  I gave a short presentation about how I started Zoey Goes and my educational background, then it was Q&A with the students.  Some asked good questions such as how long it took me to produce a book and how I was able to hire a Deaf artist. An overall good turnout!

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Then, I traveled to Bay Area, California to attend two events. First, I went to Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency's Club Saturday event.  This event was revolved around Zoey Goes and put together by amazing staff! I made a presentation about Deaf dogs and showed the first book.  It was then followed by an art activity in which the children made colorful Zoey masks! There were many families from all walks of life with their kids age ranging from 1-8 years old.  It was a positive atmosphere, and many parents were jumping with joy to have an e-book accessible in American Sign Language.  I surprised them by bringing Winston, and the kids went gaga over it! It was fun to see them make a connection between Winston as a character in the book and real life Winston.  

Finally, I visited California School for the Deaf in Fremont.  The librarian greeted me and gave me a tour of the impressionable campus before I made a presentation.  I presented twice, first to pre-kindergarten to 1st grade students in the morning, and then to 2nd grade-4th grade students in the afternoon.  It was so fun meeting so many students and having them ask thoughtful questions about Deaf dogs.  The timing couldn't be have been better. Many were familiar about Deaf dogs because of an educational project they were doing involving training Deaf and hearing dogs.  I gave them a sneak preview of the second book, "Zoey Goes Camping".  Many were excited about this book as most love camping and were on their way to camping that weekend.  I stopped in the middle of the book where something happens to Zoey, and the students had fun guessing the next scene! 

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One thing I learned from these events is making a LIVE appearance does make a big difference as opposed to advertising the book via social media.  I plan to make more live appearances this year, and if you are interested in booking an appearance with me, please contact me via zoeygoes@gmail.com.

 

Zoey Goes is featured in an article by Deaf Review!

Check out this article Deaf Review wrote about Deaf Dogs! Also, take an opportunity to learn more about deafReview which is like a deaf-friendly Yelp! If you happen to reside in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Metro DC, and Rochester, I encourage you to rate businesses based on deaf-friendliness! What a great way to keep businesses accountable!

Zoey's Trip to Washington School for the Deaf in Vancouver, WA

These pictures below are from our visit to Washington School for the Deaf. In the morning, we met with the elementary students and discussed with them about ourselves as author and illustrator, Deaf dogs and the book! The students were full of energy and excited to talk about things like where they were from, their pets and what they wanted to be in the future. They were especially surprised to see there were Deaf dogs like them! When we showed them the book, they were so enthralled by it. In the end, we gave them a short and fun quiz about the story, and many had fun answering the questions. As a treat, we gave the elementary students stickers and bracelets for them to take home.

In the afternoon, we met with high school students and discussed our experience as an author and illustrator so they could see that the sky was the limit career-wise. Most were interested in writing, drawing and publishing so it was fun to share tips that we hoped they would find useful should they decide to produce a bilingual book. 

We really enjoyed meeting all the students and staff.  They were all very friendly and welcoming. This event would not be possible without the help of Jennifer White and Ginger Sperenza, so many thanks to them!

We hope to visit more Deaf schools in the near future!

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GoFundMe Fundraiser for Our Studio Kit!

The Zoey Goes e-books would not be complete without excellent quality videos for American Sign Language narration. In order to continue with our series, we need a studio kit. If you support the idea of expanding the ASL/English children's e-book collection, please go to this link and find out how you can help! You get our eternal gratitude through fun rewards.

The Development of Zoey Goes

Ever wonder why the drawings are black and white? Why we used the name 'Zoey'? What is Gallaudet? Many more-read below to gain a new knowledge about Zoey's world!

1. Why are the drawings black and white? There are two reasons for our decision to use black and white drawings.

-Dogs don't perceive colors the way humans do due to biological differences. Dogs see black and white as well as shades of yellow, blue and gray. Red-green colors are out of their range. Go to this website to see the dogs' color spectrum! (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/ 200810/can-dogs-see-colors) By using black and white drawings, our goal is to give the readers the perception of the world from the dog's eyes. The red color we used in the first book was just for aesthetic reason.

-Historically, the years of silent films (1893-1929) was a "golden era" for Deaf and Hard of Hearing community because it was this period that they had comparatively equal access to motion pictures. Also, this period was golden because the motion picture technology demonstrated a new tool to capture sign language (Schuchman, 2004). So this historical mark is an inspiration for using black and white drawings.

2. Why did we choose the name 'Zoey'? Zoey means "life" in Greek. Often, when parents first find out their baby is Deaf, they are shocked, sad and depressed. Research shows that most parents go through the grieving stages upon finding out their baby is Deaf as if someone died. Deaf almost sounds like Death. We wanted to change the view and show that Deaf children and dogs are full of life and not something to be sad about. 

3. Why is Zoey white? Congenital deafness in dogs is usually pigment related, so dogs with white coat have a high chance of becoming Deaf. There are two pigmentation genes that are associated with deafness in dogs: merle gene and piebald gene (McDaniel, 2010). The breeds that are most often Deaf are: Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Dalmations, English Cocker Spaniels and English Setters. Some of them become blind as well. There are many more types of Deaf dogs-check out their pictures! (http://melissamcdaniel.photoshelter.com/gallery/-/G0000RZtJ4dUfiSM/)

4. What is Gallaudet?  Gallaudet University is a federally chartered university for the education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students located in Washington, D.C. It is the only Deaf University in the world, and many international students attend there. There are also other universities with large Deaf programs such as The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology and California State University at Northridge.

5. What is the language the characters are using in the book? According to National Association of the Deaf, the language shown in the book is called American Sign Language (ASL), which is a visual language with its own unique rules of grammar and syntax. The shape, placement, and movement of the hands, as well as facial expressions and body movements, all play important parts in conveying information. ASL even has its own idioms, and some of them can be found in the first book! (upcoming blog post about this!)

6. Are the author, illustrator and producer Deaf? Yes, they are Deaf and use American Sign Language as their primary language.  The book series are created with a unique take on the world from the perspective of Deaf adults, and many aspects of the Deaf culture are incorporated in the books. Our series are made for Deaf children so they can pick up these books and be able to say "That's me!".  Hearing children are also welcome to read our books to learn more about a linguistic minority group!