Once Upon a Bookshelf – “You’re Welcome, Universe”

You're Welcome, UniverseYou’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Julia thought her best friend had her back, just like she did when she took revenge on the slob that embarrassed her with graffiti on a wall at her school. Julia’s work, though, was art. Julia’s best friend can’t stand the heat and snitches on her which sends Julia to a mainstream school, leaving behind her Deaf and Hard of Hearing School and all of the comfort it provided.

SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD!

Julia didn’t want new friends, especially after what he former friend did but try as she might, she couldn’t get away from Yoga Pants (YP). Their friendship is obvious and YP learns to sign throughout the book. Julia can’t get over how fast she’s learning. I love this development with the characters. As much as Julia doesn’t want to be involved with YP, they get closer everyday. I think this is the way most friendships form, right? Slowly and then all at once?

I also loved that the artwork was not just talked about, but it was shown in the book. Like Julia, I didn’t think of it as graffiti, but artwork. Just like they argue about in the book, graffiti has a connotation of being bad and unimportant. I like how they refer to her work as street art because that’s what it is. Artistic. She wasn’t being a vandal and doing it to be mean spirited, but instead showcase her talent while also beautifying places that needed it.

This book gives a lot of insight into Deaf culture that I didn’t even realize was a thing (like capitalizing Deaf). As a teacher, I deal with students with lots of different abilities and reading this book makes me want to learn to sign so I can be prepared for my future students that may need that from me. It made me want to be a better teacher.

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