"Hurt Go Happy" is American Sign Language for "the pain has ended."
Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis has been deaf since the age of six, and is used to being left out of conversations. Her mother has never allowed her to learn sign language, so she must strain to read the lips of those around her with little success. While mushroom-hunting one day, Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell, who has recently returned from Africa with Sukari, a baby chimpanzee. Charlie’s parents were deaf, and he and Sukari communicate using sign language. Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Visits with Charlie and Sukari will be the happiest of Joey’s life, but ultimately, as her choices broaden, Charlie’s and Sukari’s begin to narrow until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt.
Inspired by the true story of Lucy Temerlin and Nim, chimpanzees raised like human children, and the culmination of ten years of research, Hurt Go Happy is the heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story of one girl's determination to save the life of a fellow creature-one who shares ninety-eight percent of our DNA and the ability to communicate her pain.
Dear Ginny Rorby,
My name is Rosa Rodriguez. I am the Deaf Literacy Coordinator for the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative in Florida. I am working with the middle school teacher at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Largo, Florida, who has a reading class of five 8th graders who are Deaf.
These five students have never enjoyed reading. National research done at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. says that the average deaf high school student graduates at a third grade reading level. It has been our passion to drastically change this sad statistic. For these students, reading has been an arduous task that was always a requirement. In an effort to show them the beautiful world of reading, the teacher decided to do a read aloud, Hurt Go Happy.
Hurt Go Happy opened a whole new world for the students. For the first time, they truly learned the beauty and magic behind a book. They laughed imagining Sukari signing and cried when Dr. Charlie died. They longed to yell at mom when she was oppressive to Joey and clapped when Joey fought back. As a class they learned about social issues such as animal testing and the effects of abuse. They also went on a journey of emotions together- the steady wave of pain and joy.
The teacher says: "Because of your book, their lives have been and will be radically changed. They would always ask if we could read one more chapter or stay past the bell just a few more minutes. They truly understand the feeling I-just-can’t-put-it-down. To me, I saw a miracle happen in my classroom. For maybe the first time in their lives, they fell in love with a book.
For their graduation of 8th grade on June 8th, we are requesting a letter to the students that we can read aloud at their graduation ceremony. The Deaf Literacy Center at our public library will be purchasing your book as a gift to the students and we would love to include your letter with the book.
With sincere thanks,
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Rosa Rodriguez, MS
Deaf Literacy Coordinator
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, Inc.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
American Library Association’s
Schneider Family Book Award
Teen Division 2008
NY Public Library System’s
78th Annual Books for the Teen Age
New Hampshire’s Isinglass Teen Reads Award
2010 / 2011
Land of Enchantment Reading Award
2010 / 2011
Young Hoosier Reading Award
2009 / 2010
Sunshine State Young Readers Award
2009 / 2010
Missouri Association of School Libraries
Truman Reading Award
2007 / 2008
William Allen White
Children's Book Award
A Scholastic Book Fair Selection
KLIATT Editor’s Choice:
Best of the Year’s Hardcover YA Fiction titles
Junior Library Guild
An International Reading Association’s
Teacher’s Choice selection
International Reading Association
Teacher's Choice Winner
Chosen for the New England Independent Association of Booksellers
Summer Reading List for Children
Should we keep animals capable of feeling, and expressing pain and fear, in cages and test chemicals on them?
Is it worth doing this to a baby elephant?
To see it do this at a circus?
Have questions? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org