Does anyone ever realize life when they live it? Classics, new work and more flood local stages

Feb. 1-7 in Dallas and Fort Worth theater

(from l-r) Jim Jorgensen, Lana K. Hoover, Gigi Cervantes, Hayley Lenamon, J.R. Bradford, Jacob Oderberg, Javier Casanova, Kelsey Milbourn, Sam McCalla, Thomas Aiden Baughman, Tim D'Auteuil, Dennis Maher, Steven Pounders, Tia Laulusa, Julienne Greer. Photo by Tim Long.

(from l-r) Jim Jorgensen, Lana K. Hoover, Gigi Cervantes, Hayley Lenamon, J.R. Bradford, Jacob Oderberg, Javier Casanova, Kelsey Milbourn, Sam McCalla, Thomas Aiden Baughman, Tim D'Auteuil, Dennis Maher, Steven Pounders, Tia Laulusa, Julienne Greer. Photo by Tim Long.


“Does anyone ever realize life when they live it…every, every minute?” That’s the question that haunts Our Town and, let’s face it, our lives which race by in a flash of a flash in this nanosecond of our life on earth.

Circle Theatre in Fort Worth starts a new chapter in its history with a season under new artistic director, Matthew Gray, who is directing Thornton Wilder’s 1938 classic. The tender, plain-spoken play offers a look at turn of the century America in a timeless, uncluttered manner that allows you to focus on the timeless circle of relationships: parents and children, young love, neighbors, friends, life and death.

For North Texas audiences, it’s also an opportunity to take measure of what Gray, a highly regarded actor, director and artistic leader, will bring to a company that had focused on contemporary fare under the direction of late co-founder, Rose Pearson, who died in 2016.

A show about death and life and realizing life every, every minute seems on target for this new chapter, with an ambitious season that will feature two world premieres by Dallas playwrights Blake Hackler and Matt Lyle, a regional premiere by Julia Cho and Stephen Sondheim’s dark and dangerous Sweeney Todd, under the direction of Dallas Theater Center associate artistic director Joel Ferrell.

Our Town runs Jan. 31-March 9, March 1 for ASL performance (use ASL code for tickets in interpreted section). Circle Theatre, 230 West Fourth St., Fort Worth. $25-$38 (starting at $15 for previews). circletheatre.com

(from l-r Theresa Kellar and Quinn Moran in ‘Spring Awakening,’ presented by Uptown Players Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at Moody Performance Hall.

(from l-r Theresa Kellar and Quinn Moran in ‘Spring Awakening,’ presented by Uptown Players Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at Moody Performance Hall.

You only have this weekend to catch Uptown Players production of Spring Awakening, the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Starr at Moody Performance Hall. Based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind it’s a dark tale of teenage love, lies, repression, fear and tragedy — yes, we know, a lot like today. Jeremy Dumont directs, which means you can expect precision and passion. It’s rated R for brief nudity, sexual situations and adult themes. No one under 18 permitted without adult supervision and approval.

Spring Awakening runs Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St., Dallas. uptownplayers.org

(from l-r) Sam Swenson, Madison Calhoun, Lauren LeBlanc in the world premiere, ‘The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn,’ presented by Theatre Three Feb. 4-24. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt.

(from l-r) Sam Swenson, Madison Calhoun, Lauren LeBlanc in the world premiere, ‘The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn,’ presented by Theatre Three Feb. 4-24. Photo by Jeffrey Schmidt.

.One of the elements that makes Dallas-Fort Worth such a thrilling theater town are all the creative forces cooking up new concepts. Circle Theatre has two new plays by local talents on the boards for this season. Theatre Three is unveiling an ambitious new musical, The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn, by playwright Michael Federico, who has been responsible for some of the edgiest, funniest, provoking books behind original musicals, from On the Eve to Pompeii!!, and musician Ian Ferguson, who wowed audiences with his soulful performance in Theatre Three’s runaway hit, Once, last year.

It’s a challenge to describe a new show that you haven’t seen, but here’s what I’ve gleaned. Eveline Flynn is an eccentric, charming, dramatic young woman on a musical journey of self-discovery in a story that involves love, loss and an intergalactic all-girl punk band defending the universe. Which, let’s face it, needs defending.

The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn runs Jan. 31-Feb. 24 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Dallas. $10-$50. Theatre3Dallas.com

Drew Wall in ‘Incognito,’ presented by Second Thought Theatre at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys campus Jan. 30-Feb. 23. Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

Drew Wall in ‘Incognito,’ presented by Second Thought Theatre at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys campus Jan. 30-Feb. 23. Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

The idea behind Second Thought Theatre is to get you to think twice. Dallas’ smallest professional theater company does that with an oomph, shaking up preconceptions of how you think the world works. And given how shaky the world seems to be these days, they may be ever more disturbingly on target.

Their latest salvo is Incognito, the area premiere of a complex play by Nick Payne that interweaves three tales about the brain in a story of love, murder, memory and Albert Einstein’s brain in a story that spans 60 years. The company’s artistic director, Alex Organ, who co-starred in Payne’s riveting Constellations for Dallas Theatre Center, directs.

Incognito runs Jan. 30-Feb. 23 at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Campus, 3400 Blackburn St., Dallas. $25, Pay What You Can Feb. 4, 11 and 18. secondthoughttheatre.com


(from l-r) Jamal Sterling and Denise Lee in ‘Lonely Planet,’ presented by Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth Dec. 30-Feb. 24. Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

(from l-r) Jamal Sterling and Denise Lee in ‘Lonely Planet,’ presented by Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth Dec. 30-Feb. 24. Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

When two actors as compelling as Jamal Sterling and Denise Lee share a stage, do yourself a favor and go see the sparks fly. Sterling and Lee co-star in Lonely Planet, a quirky story about a friendship that takes a surprisingly deep, moving twist. Written by prolific UT Austin playwriting professor Steven Dietz, the show kicks off Amphibian’s 20th season, continuing its mission to showcase contemporary work. The play was written at the height of the AIDS crisis and Amphibian, which has long found innovative ways of keeping the conversation going after patrons have left the stage, have partnered with the Health Education Learning Project (HELP), Aids Outreach Center (AOC), AOC MPACT, Samaritan House, and Texas Black Women’s Initiative to encourage HIV prevention, testing and the importance of early detection.

Lonely Planet runs Feb. 1-24 at Amphibian Stage Productions, 120 South Main St., Fort Worth. $20-$34. amphibianstage.com

IN BRIEF

Jubilee Theatre presents Aurin Squire’s Obama-ology, the story of a recent black college graduate who learns unexpected things about himself after he joins the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. Jan. 25-Feb. 24. Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main Street, Fort Worth. $26-$30. jubileetheatre.org

Runway Theatre presents ‘Fly By Night’ through Feb. 17 in Grapevine.

Runway Theatre presents ‘Fly By Night’ through Feb. 17 in Grapevine.

Runway Theatre presents Fly By Night, the Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick and Will Connolly musical that interweaves star-crossed stories of love that unfold during the northeast blackout of 1965. Jan. 25-Feb. 17. Runway Theatre, 215 N. Dooley St., Grapevine.$20-$25. runwaytheatre.com

Richardson Theatre Centre presents The Cemetery Club, Ivan Menchell’s play about a widow and how her friends react when a man tries to woo her. Feb. 1-17. Richardson Theatre Centre, 518 W. Arapaho Rd., Richardson. $20-$22. Richardsontheatrecentre.net

Outcry Youth Theatre presents The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens’ Tony Award-winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel about a teenage boy with learning differences who is trying to figure out who killed a neighbor’s dog. Feb. 1-10. Outcry Youth Theatre at Addison Theatre Centre’s Studio Theatre, 15650 Addison Rd., Addison. $10-$20. Outcrytheatre.com

Pocket Sandwich Theatre presents The Roof, a late-night, popcorn-throwing R-rated parody of the film, The Room, which you evidently don’t have to know to have fun at the show. Feb. 1-16. Pocket Sandwich Theatre. 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas.  $15. https://www.pocketsandwich.com/late-lineup

Granbury Theatre Company presents Driving Miss Daisy, Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an elderly Jewish widow and her growing friendship with her chauffeur over a period of 25 years. Jan. 11-Feb. 10. Granbury Theatre Company at the Granbury Opera House, 133 E. Pearl St., Granbury. $30-$35. granburytheatrecompany.org

AND STILL RUNNING: Sweat by Dallas Theater Center at Kalita Humphries Theater through Feb. 10. dallastheatercenter.org ; Ella Enchanted by Dallas Children’s Theater through Feb. 24. dct.org ; The Book of Mormon, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals and Broadway Across America through Feb. 3. dallassummermusicals.org ; The Buddy Holly Story, presented by Garland Civic Theatre through Feb. 10. garlandcivic.org

Continue the conversation on Where the Drama Is on Facebook.

What 'Sweat' taught me about Dr. King and Anne Frank

For years, I’ve been living a double life.

No, I’m not a spy. Nor do I have another family stashed away in another state. In the last decade, I have been writing children’s books while reviewing and writing about theater for The Dallas Morning News. Carefully, cautiously, I’ve kept those worlds separate. Then two enormous things happened.

On Jan. 7, I was one of 43 staffers laid off at the newspaper where I’d worked proudly for 19 wonderful years. That meant I could let one world go — the world of theater criticism — and enter fully into the world of children’s books. Trust me, I thought about it.

(from l-r) Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Sally Nystuen Vahle, Jon Shaver and Liz Mikel in Dallas Theater Center’s regional premiere of Lynn Nottage’s ‘Sweat’ at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas

(from l-r) Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Sally Nystuen Vahle, Jon Shaver and Liz Mikel in Dallas Theater Center’s regional premiere of Lynn Nottage’s ‘Sweat’ at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas

Then On Jan. 23 I saw Dallas Theater Center’s regional premiere of Sweat at the Kalita Humphreys Theater and it was like the “water” moment from The Miracle Worker where the blind and deaf Helen Keller realizes for the first time that the word that her teacher, Annie Sullivan, has been spelling into her hand was not just a way to get water, but was water itself.

Just as I’m readying to release my sixth book into the world, Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank, the insights from DTC’s powerful production of Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play turned on a switch. Yes!

'Martin & Anne' by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg


While my book for children points out the common humanity and inspiration we’ve drawn from two iconic figures of different genders, faiths, races, languages and countries, Nottage’s play reminds us how we are still living with the toxic hate, anger and hurt that stems from desperation and fear.

Dr. King and Anne Frank were both born in the same year — 1929 — the year of the worldwide depression, a year where sadly, instead of pulling together, vulnerable people looked for even more vulnerable minorities in their community to blame and hurt.

Nottage’s play, while fictional, is drawn from the deep well of interviews she did with workers in Reading, Pa., whose lives and friendships were upended by factory shutdowns, layoffs and the erosion of workers’ rights in the 2000s. It’s a time which is still very much with us.

(from l-r) Jon Shaver, Sally Nystuen Vahle, Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Liz Mikel in 'Sweat.' Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

(from l-r) Jon Shaver, Sally Nystuen Vahle, Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Liz Mikel in 'Sweat.' Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

The play, which moved from off-Broadway in 2016 to Broadway in 2017, opens with an interrogation of an angry, tattooed young man, Jason (an explosive Kyle Igneczi), by a concerned police officer trying to control his exasperation (a resilient, patient Tyrees Allen). Like the craftsmanlike dramatist she is, Nottage shoots to flashback scenes, framing the story with tantalizing hints about a crime that will ultimately be revealed.

As the journey progresses, however, it becomes increasingly clear that there are larger crimes being committed by people we don’t see. These are the economic crimes where the well-off executives that run the factory in Sweat play financial games with workers that are barely scraping by.

In wrenching performances, Sally Nystuen Vahle and Liz Mikel. play Tracey and Cynthia, two best buds who grew up together and went straight from high school to work in the factory. Cynthia applies for a promotion to a managerial position. Tracey views managers as natural enemies of the workers. As friction sparks, racial tensions which never seemed to be in play before rise to the surface, crackling and popping as these two actresses masterfully portray a friendship that frays amid stress and suspicion.

Igneczi’s despairing Jason and Ace Anderson’s vulnerable Chris play the next generation — trying to carry on or do better than their parents while opportunity is being snatched away faster than they can comprehend what’s happening. They’re like animated characters who keep running in the air because they don’t realize they’ve run off a cliff — but the hurt is too real and familiar to be funny.

Christopher Llewyn Ramirez’s quiet, wounded Oscar, the bartender’s assistant who thinks getting a job in the factory as a way of moving up in a world of limited opportunities, fleshes out the picture as besieged workers denounce his willingness to work for less as a threat.

The revolving set by William Bloodgood serves as a reminder that the different planes where their lives play out — the bar, outside the bar, their apartments, prison — flow one into another as part of the same watery world. Projections by Shawn Duan pepper the top of the scenes with dates and news that put the stories in context of real events.

What’s important to remember is that the forces behind events have a way of repeating themselves. To quote Jackson Browne from “Lives in the Balance”: “…there's a shadow on the faces/Of the men who send the guns/To the wars that are fought in places/Where their business interest runs.”

Browne was writing about the unseen faces who press for wars that others fight. It’s an idea that applies to business wars on the domestic front. In Sweat, the wise bartender, Stan, tries to point out that instead of punching down, the workers should look up and confront those pulling the strings. He is, however, like Cassandra in The Illiad — cursed with the ability to see in a world where no one listens.

Martin & Anne is the sixth of the eight books I have sold. Each book has turned the spotlight on someone that most kids didn’t know about, someone who achieved what seemed an unlikely dream through persistence and heart, someone whose dream was not just about themselves, but made the world a better place.

They are all close to my heart, but Martin & Anne has a dedication that bleeds: “For those whose lives were cut short everywhere, including Bialystok June 27, 1941. Your memory is a blessing. Love lives on.”

My grandfather, Sam Farber (right), with my grandmother, Mary Farber. He escaped Bialystok, Poland where his mother and two of his brothers, their wives and children were killed in the Holocaust.

My grandfather, Sam Farber (right), with my grandmother, Mary Farber. He escaped Bialystok, Poland where his mother and two of his brothers, their wives and children were killed in the Holocaust.

Among those who were herded into a synagogue in Bialystok and set on fire that day were my great grandmother, great uncles and their wives and their children, none of whom I’d ever meet in this world, but whose losses have given my mother nightmares all her life.

My relatives were not unlike the factory workers of Sweat. My grandfather fled on foot as a teen in the early 1920s to America, but others in his family didn’t have the means or access to escape when the threat of the Nazi regime rose.

The fragility of living amid scarcity is something Dr. King understood as he reached out across race and faith lines, speaking in synagogues as I wrote in my recent op ed about Martin & Anne for Religion News Service. He emphasized the need to join together in the fight for economic justice. He tried to explain that prosperity would rise from unity and could not and should not be achieved from division and discrimination.

The stock market crashed in 1929, the year in which Dr. King and Anne Frank were born, leaving people out of work, homeless and begging for bread. How different would the world have been if people who were hurting reached across the superficial lines that divide us to lift each other up? What could the human race accomplish even now, in our times, if we helped each other rather than viewing life through the cold lens of a zero sum game where one person’s advance is another person’s loss?

(from l-r) Sally Nystuen Vahle and Liz Mikel in Dallas Theater Center’s ‘Sweat.’ Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

(from l-r) Sally Nystuen Vahle and Liz Mikel in Dallas Theater Center’s ‘Sweat.’ Photo by Evan Michael Woods.

I strongly recommend DTC’s production of Sweat, continuing through Feb. 10. It’s a cautionary reminder that instead of learning from the most heinous of crimes, the human race remains capable of destroying itself, doubling down on its mistakes again and again. Art, whether in the form of theater, books, music or visual images, offers hope to remember, to help us walk in each other’s shoes — and do better.

And that is the reason, in addition to writing children’s books, I will continue to write about theater. Like people, art is stronger together.

Want to talk about theater, books, art and why it all matters? Join me on my new Facebook group Where The Drama Is. If you want to keep the conversation focused on children’s books, please join my Facebook page Nancy Churnin Children’s Books. Or bookmark this blog where I’ll be sharing conversations with artists and what’s on my mind. I look forward to visiting with you.

Sweat continues through Feb. 10, presented by Dallas Theater Center at the Kalita Humphries Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas. $20-$101, subject to change. DallasTheaterCenter.org. Performance reviewed was Jan. 23. Running time: 2 hours, 28 mins.

Martin & Anne, The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank (illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, published by Creston Books, distributed by Lerner Books) launch party March 10 at 2 p.m. at Interabang Books, 10720 Preston Rd., Dallas. Free. interabangbooks.com

Twitter: @nchurnin

'Martin & Anne,' by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg

The William Hoy Story makes Best Kids Books for 2016 lists!

So honored to have THE WILLIAM HOY STORY honored in the Best Kids Books for 2016 lists for The New York Public Library and the School Library Journal. It's been a great year for Hoy, with the wonderful review from The New York Times, the spotlight from People magazine and a full page in USA Today Sports Weekly. I'm looking forward to more presentations with Hoy this year as I get ready for the launch of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN from Creston Books in September.

Newspaper, magazine, radio and T.V. coverage for William Hoy!

The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/28/books/review/28bookshelf-baseball.html?_r=0

 

 USA Today Sports Weekly: http://www.pressreader.com/usa/usa-today-sports-weekly/20160720/281754153670062

 

 Shreveport Times: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/entertainment/arts/judy-christie/2016/03/23/childrens-book-highlights-deaf-baseball-hero-benefits-deaf-action-center/82114786/

 

 Columbus Dispatch in Columbus Ohio: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2016/03/08/1-joe-blundo-column-book-about-deaf-baseball-player-william-hoy.html

 

 The Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/books/20160302-a-journalist-turned-author-brings-back-a-baseball-hero-for-the-ages.ece

 

 Cooperstown Crier: http://www.coopercrier.com/news/local_news/author-sheds-light-on-baseball-history-in-talk/article_17359751-2626-5937-8482-d664932963ea.html

 

 Disabilities by Daniel J. Vance: http://mankatotimes.com/2016/01/24/tx-theater-critic-becomes-disability-booster/

 

 Harvard Magazine: http://harvardmagazine.com/2016/05/off-the-shelf

 

 Columbia University: http://alumni.columbia.edu/node/988970

 

 RADIO:

 

KRLD Radio in Dallas: https://soundcloud.com/user-172756348/krld-hoy-interview

 

105.3 The Fan in Dallas: https://embed.radio.com/clip/60534194?ref_url=http://dfw.cbslocal.com/audio/gavin-dawson/&ads_ga_page_tracker=UA-17434257-40&rollup_ga_id=UA-2438645-53&r20id=118

 

 WVXU.org (Ohio Public Radio): http://wvxu.org/post/reds-hall-famer-william-hoy-changed-game#stream/0

 

TELEVISION:

 

Good Morning Texas: http://www.wfaa.com/entertainment/television/programs/good-morning-texas/telling-william-hoys-story/204593781

 

 VIDEO:  

 

 Rowlett Public Library video: https://youtu.be/gT9nh-jBv2s

 

 DISD Hub: https://thehub.dallasisd.org/2016/03/04/author-shares-inspiring-story-with-stonewall-jackson-elementary-students/

 

 Dallas Morning News video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LTAox9cM6s&sns=fb&app=desktop

 

 REVIEWS:

 

 The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/28/books/review/28bookshelf-baseball.html?_r=0

 

 Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/nancy-churnin/the-william-hoy-story/

 

 Publisher's Weekly: http://publishersweekly.com/978-0-8075-9192-5

 

 School Library Journal and Booklist: http://www.albertwhitman.com/book/the-william-hoy-story/

 

 Provo Library: http://pclkidsbooks.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-william-hoy-story.html

 

  BEST OF LISTS:

 

 NYPL Librarians best non-fiction for 2016: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/07/15/new-nonfiction-kids#.V40ar_Lq4Ac.facebook

 

 Fatherly.comhttps://www.fatherly.com/the-9-best-kids-books-about-baseball-in-2016-1695382327.html

 

 Best picture books for middle-schoolers: http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2016/07/picture-books-middle-grade-reader/

 

 BLOGS:

 

 Hearing Loss Association of Kansas: https://hlaakc.com/2016/01/23/hope-dummy-hoy-makes-baseball-hall-of-fame-in-2018/

 

 Kansas City Royals: http://www.royalsreview.com/2016/7/4/12088334/william-hoy-cooperstown-and-the-meaning-of-dis-ability

 

 Rough and Rede: https://georgerede.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/discovering-dummy-hoy/

 

 Momma's Bacon: https://mommasbacon.com/2016/08/08/the-william-hoy-story-how-a-deaf-baseball-player-changed-the-game-hardcover/

 

 Kiss the Book: http://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-william-hoy-story-by-nancy-churnin.html

 

12X12: http://12x12challenge.com/2016/06/01/12-x-12-featured-author-june-2016-nancy-churnin/

 

 Rate Your Story: http://rateyourstory.blogspot.com/2016/05/my-rate-your-story-success-story-by.html

 

 Karlin Gray: http://www.karlingray.com/blog.htm?post=1035377

 

Lynda Pflueger: http://www.lyndapflueger.com/?p=1453

 

KidLitTakeaways: http://www.kidlittakeaways.com/blog/the-william-hoy-story

 

Kristen Fulton: http://www.kristenfulton.org/explore-nf/the-william-hoy-story-by-nancy-churnin

 

Vivian Kirkfield: https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/02/26/ppbf-the-william-hoy-story-plus-winners/

 

A Kids Book A Day: https://kidsbookaday.com/2016/08/12/the-william-hoy-story-by-nancy-churnin-pictures-by-jez-tuya/

 

 KidLit411: http://www.kidlit411.com/2016/03/Kidlit411-Author-Spotlight-Nancy-Churnin.html

 

Orange Marmalade: https://orangemarmaladebooks.com/2016/08/08/ten-for-thirsty-minds-on-august-afternoons/the-william-hoy-story-interior-churnin-and-tuya/

 

Kara Newhouse: https://karanewhouse.com/2016/04/18/true-stories-of-3-diverse-athletes-and-1-female-sportswriter-imwayr-41816/

 

Two-book deal with Wendy McClure of Albert Whitman!

So thrilled to report that my amazing agent, Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary, sold two new books to the wonderful Wendy McClure of Albert Whitman & Company: Making His Shot and The Princess and the Tree. Making his Shot, how Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf will be published in Fall 2017, the same time that Manjhi Moves a Mountain will be published by Marissa Moss of Creston Books. The Princess and the Tree, the story of a kind, unconventional princess who brought the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle, will be published in Fall 2018.

Go Rangers and William Hoy!

Had a blast talking with the wonderful Jared Sandler of 105.3 The Fan about William Hoy. Eric Nadel, Texas Hall of Fame Announcer, were your ears burning when I thanked you for all your help with the baseball details AND for reading the book this summer in more than 20 libraries as part of the fabulous Texas Rangers Summer Reading program? Not only will kids get a visit from the great Eric Nadel, he will donate a copy of The William Hoy Story to each library he visits!

 https://embed.radio.com/clip/60534194?ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fdfw.cbslocal.com%2Faudio%2Fgavin-dawson%2F&ads_ga_page_tracker=UA-17434257-40&rollup_ga_id=UA-2438645-53&r20id=118

Thank you, Maria Russo and The New York Times!

It's such an extraordinary feeling when a reviewer reads your heart at the same time she reads your book. Thank you, Maria Russo of The New York Times for this wonderful review! 

The William Hoy Story
Written by Nancy Churnin. Illustrated by Jez Tuya.
This delightful and illuminating biography recounts the extraordinary life of William Hoy, who was born in Ohio in 1865 and went deaf at age 3 after a case of meningitis. William adored baseball, practicing constantly, and he had a big, loving family who supported him when he was asked to try out for a professional team. By the time his career was over, he had revolutionized the sport by suggesting to an umpire that he make calls — balls and strikes, out and safe — understandable to him by using American Sign Language, along with saying the words. An added benefit was that fans in the stands would be able to know the calls immediately. Soon players and managers, too, took William’s idea a step further, using signs to communicate plays to each other without revealing them to the other team.

Anyone who plays or watches baseball today will experience a jolt of recognition as Churnin explains the genesis of this small but central aspect of the game. She tells William’s story patiently and clearly, with a wonderfully matter-of-fact tone about the ways a deaf person navigates life. She strikes just the right balance between reporting the hardships and discrimination he faced — an owner who tried to underpay him, fellow players who laughed at and tricked him — and emphasizing the personal grit that allowed him to persevere and overcome daunting obstacles. Tuya’s simple digital illustrations are filled with feeling and individuality, neatly conveying motion and action but also, somehow, the dignity of William’s silence.

32 pp. Albert Whitman. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8)

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/28/books/review/28bookshelf-baseball.html?_r=0

Good Morning Texas...and William Hoy!

Had a fabulous time talking about William Hoy with Jane McGarry and Mike Castellucci on Good Morning Texas Thursday! They were super supportive when I told them of my plan to ask children to write letters and send drawings about why William Hoy should be in the Hall of Fame! Check it out:  http://www.wfaa.com/entertainment/television/programs/good-morning-texas/telling-william-hoys-story/204593781

More Hoy reviews on their way

Can't spill the details yet, but watch for more reviews of The William Hoy Story, How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game. Looking forward to sharing as soon as the links go live! Thanks, too, to Daniel J. Vance for his interview with me for his wonderful Disabilities column that runs in multiple newspapers. I love the way Daniel shines a light on people who face challenges. I was moved by how he found the connection between my youngest, Josh, having meningitis as an infant and struggling as a toddler and the strong connection my family has developed with the special needs community. I have the interview posted in TALKING ABOUT on the blog, but you can see it here, too: http://www.danieljvance.com/disabledweek743a.html

It's Almost Here!

It’s been a long journey, but now I’m happily counting down the days until The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game will be published March 1 by Albert Whitman and Company. I’m excited to share news about my book launch party at Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Park, Saturday, March 5 at 4 p.m. Yes, you’re all invited and please bring LOTS of friends. Check out The Hoy Newsletter, edited by the wonderful Gary Kaschak, of the Hoy for the Hall Committee. It has a long interview with me and lots of great stories about Hoy from all my fabulous fellow committee members, all of us dedicated to getting Hoy into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  There are more interviews and news in the works, please check in for updates!