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!