Set Me Free (Gold) (Show Me a Sign, Book 2) (Paperback)
A riveting standalone companion to the Schneider Family Book Award winner, Show Me a Sign by Deaf author and librarian, Ann Clare LeZotte—now in Scholastic Gold!
"Instantly captivating...will keep readers hooked until the very end...A simultaneously touching and gripping adventure." — Kirkus Reviews
"Full of adventure and twists...a gripping tale of historical fiction." — Booklist
"Mary seems set to become a true hero-adventurer, an almost larger-than-life sleuth, teacher, and woman of action; and while the story's subject matter is serious in its engagement with history's ills, LeZotte conveys a sense of real enjoyment in having Mary disrupt...the prejudices and expectations of the status quo." — The Horn Book
Three years after being kidnapped as a "live specimen" in a cruel experiment to determine the cause of her deafness, Mary Lambert has grown weary of domestic life on Martha's Vineyard, and even of her once beloved writing.
So when an old acquaintance summons her to an isolated manor house outside Boston to teach a young deaf girl to communicate, Mary agrees. But can a child of eight with no prior language be taught? And is Mary up to the task? With newfound purpose, Mary arrives only to discover that there is much more to the girl's story--and the circumstances of her confinement--than she ever could have imagined. Suddenly, teaching her and freeing her from the prison of her isolation, takes on much greater meaning, and peril.
Riveting and complex, delicately nuanced and fervently feminist, Set Me Free is a masterful stand-alone companion to Show Me a Sign, and a searing exposé of ableism, racism, and colonialism that will challenge you to think differently about the dignity and capacity within every human being.
About the Author
Ann Clare LeZotte is a completely deaf and bilingual-bicultural (ASL/English) member of the Deaf community, and an essential voice for Deaf / HOH, disabled, and marginalized youth. She is the author of the Schneider Family Book Award-winning novel Show Me a Sign, which was named a best book of the year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and American Indians in Children's Literature. Set Me Free, the acclaimed standalone companion, was hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a “simultaneously touching and gripping adventure.” Ann worked for many years as a youth librarian before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Praise for Set Me Free:
"Exciting and heartfelt throughout. Mary and her world are instantly captivating, and her daring rescue mission will keep readers hooked until the very end. In addition to the central themes of ableism and language deprivation, LeZotte naturally weaves in social issues of the time that still resonate today, including racism, colorism, feminism, and colonialism. Readers who enjoyed the previous title will be particularly delighted to read about Mary's further adventures. A simultaneously touching and gripping adventure." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Full of adventure and twists, and LeZotte never shies away from addressing racism, ableism, or sexism...the book's themes resonate today, as Mary fights for the rights of all people and offers hope to readers facing challenges. A gripping tale of historical fiction." -- Booklist
"Throughout, as in the previous novel, LeZotte sensitively interweaves and illuminates historical, white attitudes toward deaf people, the Wampanoag people, and the Black population, all the while championing Mary's forthright insistence that all be treated with respect. Mary seems set to become a true hero-adventurer, an almost larger-than-life sleuth, teacher, and woman of action; and while the story's subject matter is serious in its engagement with history's ills, LeZotte conveys a sense of real enjoyment in having Mary disrupt...the prejudices and expectations of the status quo." -- The Horn Book
"A riveting story of courage and compassion. I could not put this book down! By bringing the cruelties of our past out of the shadows, Ann Clare LeZotte shines a light for our way forward." -- Christina Soontornvat, author of the Newbery Honor book A Wish in the Dark
"Set Me Free kept me turning pages until the very end. Ann Clare LeZotte challenges us to examine our own often-skewed perspectives and reminds us that human dignity is innate and that kindness is a universal language." -- Ann E. Burg, author of the Claudia Lewis Award winner Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown
"Ann Clare LeZotte has given readers a beautiful gift. Set Me Free is a riveting story about a girl's struggle for deaf dignity and the hope for understanding." -- Aida Salazar, author of the Jane Adams Peace Award Honor book The Land of the Cranes
"Mary Lambert's strong spirit, observations, and concerns about all aspects of life, and love for people make her so inspiring!" -- Penny Gamble-Williams, activist and Spiritual Leader of the Chappaquiddick Tribe of the Wampanoag Nation
"Secrets, suspense, and surprises abound, but at the heart of Ann Clare LeZotte's brilliant novel are two girls who have much to say despite a world determined to silence them." -- Lisa Yee, author of Maizy Chen's Last Chance
Praise for Show Me a Sign:
"LeZotte's novel is more than just a page-turner. Well researched and spare, it's a sensitive portrayal of a young girl's fight for respect and human dignity... Like Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Seeds of America' trilogy, this work of historical fiction offers a fresh perspective on the post-Revolutionary War years by exploring issues that are just as relevant today. Middle-grade readers of every age will find a girl to root for who is asking all the right questions as she grows." -- Newbery Medalist Meg Medina for the New York Times
* "LeZotte weaves threads of adventure, family tragedy, community, racism, and hearing people's negative assumptions about Deaf people into a beautiful and complex whole. Mary overcomes her own ordeal with the support of her community, but in the process she discovers that there is no silver bullet for the problems and prejudices of the world. There is no hollow inspirational content to be found in this tale... LeZotte acknowledges the racial tensions among the English, black, Irish, and Wampanoag residents of Martha's Vineyard, creating a dynamic that Mary interacts within but cannot fix... A vivid depiction of Deaf community along with an exciting plot and beautiful prose make this a must-read." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Everything about this novel is nuanced, from the syntax of the sign language to the discussions of island politics and history. Mary's dramatic adventure will enthrall readers, but her internal journey -- from being an uncomfortable witness to prejudice (including her mother's toward the Wampanoag and freedmen, or former slaves), to experiencing it herself, to determining to oppose it by leading by example -- is equally important, and profound." -- The Horn Book, starred review
* "LeZotte crafts a moving tale of 1805 Martha's Vineyard that highlights issues still relevant more than 200 years later, including racism, ableism, and prejudice... these themes add nuance to the expertly crafted story of Mary, her response to her situations, her courage, and her hope that she will reunite with the community she loves. Exceptionally written, fast paced, and full of topics that will inspire deep discussion. A valuable addition to secondary elementary or middle school collections." -- School Library Journal, starred review
* "LeZotte's engrossing historical novel explores prejudice and racism through the eyes of 11-year-old Mary Lambert, who is deaf... LeZotte, who is deaf, deftly connects the islanders' prejudice against the Wampanoag to the mainlanders' view of deaf individuals as lesser; Mary's progressive attitudes feel modern while aligning with her character's sensibilities." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Show Me A Sign is the rare book by a Deaf writer illuminating the Deaf experience for young readers. LeZotte takes us on an extraordinary journey that Deaf readers will surely identify with, and which will come as a revelation for hearing readers, reminding us that, as LeZotte says in the book, 'We are fine as we are made.' Show Me A Sign is a triumph for everyone!" -- Brian Selznick, creator of Wonderstruck and the Caldecott Honor Book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret
"There is so much to love about Show Me a Sign, I hardly know where to begin. LeZotte's storytelling is engrossing, and Mary is an endearing, resilient hero. This book blew me away. I can't wait to share it!" -- Alex Gino, Stonewall Award-winning author of George
"Show Me a Sign celebrates our differences and our sameness, our past and our future. Spend time in Mary's world. You'll be better for it." -- Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the Newbery Award Winner, Hello, Universe
"Precise and thoughtful... LeZotte's depiction of language is striking -- the reader sees the difference in conversations in spoken English and MVSL -- and she thoughtfully addresses tensions among the white, Black, and Wampanoag people who share the island. LeZotte, who is Deaf, makes the point that nothing should stand in the way of building community and seeking equality, a sentiment that resonates today." -- Booklist
"An interesting and very enjoyable work of historical fiction about a time period and topic that has rarely been written about... LeZotte's writing is fresh, crisp, and exciting. The way she portrays the deaf community and the nuances of sign language make the story all the more informative and readable... The information in her [back matter] notes is so intriguing." -- School Library Connection, Highly Recommended
"A remarkable story." -- Martha's Vineyard Times