Sister Bernadette Wallis mss has launched "The Silent Book", a tribute to her family and the disappearing Australian-Irish Sign Language, as well as to the broader deaf community and its families, reports Catholic Social Services Victoria.
The story is embedded in the Australian landscape and its Aboriginal past. In writing this multi-layered story, Bernadette invites the reader into the vibrantly alert and alive silent world of her Deaf parents.
Reviewing the book, Margaret Coffey, broadcaster and journalist writes:
"The Silent Book will be revelatory for most of us, as we learn of the history of a ‘threatened’ language once so vital in Australia. It is a fascinating tale in diverse ways: in its closeness to the colonial and rural context of its protagonists, its respect for indigenous naming and knowledge of that same landscape, its careful induction of the reader into a chronology of thinking about deafness and ways of educating deaf children. It adds another rich element to the extraordinary story of those 19th century lay and religious builders of Catholic community in Victoria and NSW. With all this, at its heart The Silent Book is a moving account of family life and love and hopefulness."