The Silence Between Us has been awarded the Schneider Family Book Honor Award, a recognition given by the American Library Association as part of their ALA Youth Media Awards. The book, published by Blink and written by Alison Gervais, was honored for “embodying an artistic expression of the disability experience” in the Teen Category (ages 13–18).
Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Winners were announced on Monday, January 27, 2020 as part of the ALA MidWinter conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
Winners and honors award winners were selected by a panel of judges in each category for children; Young Children, Middle Grade, and Teens. The books selected for this award must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental, or emotional.
The Silence Between Us is an #OwnVoices novel about a deaf girl thrown into a hearing school. First released in August 2019 to glowing reviews, the book was also featured on NPR.
“I’m so happy and surprised by this delightful honor,” said Gervais. “I think The Silence Between Usis an important story people need to read because it’s time we see more Deaf characters in books. It’s time we see more books celebrating sign language and Deaf culture,” Gervais said. “Extra care was given to make sure these important pieces were portrayed as authentically as possible.”
Gervais is Hard of Hearing herself and wears a hearing aid. She also works as a Deaf Services Specialist at an Independent Living Center in Colorado. The beautiful cover image of the book was designed by Deaf artist Nancy Rourke, titled FRIENDS.
In the afterword in the book, Gervais writes, “I think the chance to experience someone else’s world through literature can be invaluable. There aren’t too many YA books out there with Deaf main characters, and I think it is time they get their chance to shine.”
This is the first time a Blink book has been given an award from the ALA.