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[Nonfiction Wednesday] On “Feeling” Sound in “Listen”

"You cannot wait for things to happen to you. You must make your own opportunities." - Evelyn Glennie

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual.


Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, A Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Shannon Stocker Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
Published by: Puffin (2022) ISBN: 0241547687 (ISBN13: 9780241547687) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Evelyn Glennie grew up in a musical household in the 1960s in the farm hills of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She took to music at an early age quite naturally and instinctively – learning how to play musical instruments, the piano and the clarinet, by ear.

However, at age ten, Evelyn Glennie was diagnosed with a condition whereby the nerves in her ears would degenerate, with the audiologist proclaiming that she will need hearing aid for the rest of her life, attend a special school for the hearing impaired, and that she will no longer be able to play music like she used to. It is a testament to Evelyn Glennie and her family’s strength of will that they were able to defy the audiologist’s proclamation with Evelyn’s father stating:

Hearing or not, she will do what she wants to do.

Throughout her life, it was this spirit of defiance coupled with unremitting talent and hunger to prove one’s self that allowed Evelyn Glennie to change the face of percussion music as she did. With great joy, she was able to demonstrate how there are many forms of hearing that can take place in one’s being – and that music need not be confined to ears in perfect condition. Rather, hearing music can be a “sea of sound” – an entire sensation within one’s body.

This is a perfect book to add to my list of titles on dual-exceptionalities. I also appreciated the detailed Author’s Note towards the end but would have loved to see a timeline of Evelyn Glennie’s life as well. For those who wish to know more about Evelyn Glennie, here is a TED talk I found on Youtube where she talked about feeling instead of just hearing sound, and how to truly listen. Enjoy!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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