Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

You’re Welcome, Universe

Gardner, Whitney (Author)
Penguin Random House 2017. 298 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9780399551413 (hardcover)
9780399551444 (paperback)
9780399551437 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, multimodal, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Despite being expelled from deaf school, 16-year-old Julia blazes her way through the new “hearie” school, her part-time job and her passion for planning and executing graffiti projects: “Now this, this is real street art. Not some Sharpie doodled on poster-printer paper in art class. This takes ovaries.”

Ingenious use of language mimics Julia’s lip-reading, sound-free world. “’We—call—girls—your description—vandalizing—property … ‘Hold—hands,’ Big Cop demands.” Deaf culture and graffiti culture provide rich backdrops for this lively plot about recognizing and appreciating true community and friendship, as Julia tries to solve the mystery of who is re-working her tags and graffiti around town. Is it Donovan, the cute guy at work, or maybe even Julia’s art teacher?

Throughout the book, illustrations depict Julia’s artwork, its mystery-modifications and key sign-language moments in the story. Tough times are weathered with the support of her loving family (both mothers, also deaf).

The idea of crossing boundaries and finding new perspectives is reflected in a new friendship with “hearie” YP, who, “only signs with her hands. She doesn’t have a grasp on her face yet. I understand her without expressions to read, but it’s like she’s speaking with an accent.” And while unwelcome revelations precipitate crises at school and on the job, Julia learns to opens herself to true friendship.

  •  

    Read the opening chapter of the novel to get a feel for the way Julia describes her world. Discuss some of the limitations a hearing-impaired student would experience in school and in daily life.

  •  In small groups, discuss some of the labels assigned to Julia as well as the labels she uses for her peers. Are they ability-based? Gender-based? Consider whether this has any larger implications as the story progresses.
  •  

    Following reading and discussion, use a production process to create a persuasive text about an issue presented in the novel such as those faced by teens with disabilities or one that is common to many adolescents such as identity or self-esteem.

  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Visual Arts