Book Review: Dr. Lisalee Egbert


Dr. Lisalee Egbert, a teacher specializing in Deaf education, gives her review of the book The Butterfly Cage by Rachel Zemach. She believes it accurately talks about the challenges and frustrations faced by Deaf students and teachers of the Deaf in mainstream education. Dr. Egbert emphasizes how important it is to spread awareness about these issues to administrators, parents, and other special education teachers. She calls for policy and legislative changes, as well as advocating for the use of American Sign Language (ASL) and providing appropriate support for Deaf students. Dr. Egbert urges everyone to read and share the book to support the improvement of Deaf education.


[00:01] Dr. Egbert introduces herself and mentions reading “The Butterfly Cage” by Rachel Ziemach based on positive reviews and recommendations.

[00:42] Dr. Egbert expresses enthusiasm for the book, as it accurately portrays the challenges faced in teaching Deaf children.

[01:28] Dr. Egbert emphasizes the need to spread awareness about the true stories of Deaf education and the impact of decisions made by administrators.

[02:09] Dr. Egbert urges parents and special education teachers to read the book and advocate for change in the education system.

[02:55] Dr. Egbert highlights the importance of considering what is best for the child and invites others to join in advocating for change.

[03:44] Dr. Egbert suggests advocating for policy and legislative changes, educating parents, and changing the system to support Deaf education.

[04:21] Dr. Egbert believes that ASL is the solution for Deaf education and encourages others to read and share the book to support this cause.


Book Review by Dr. Lisalee Ebgert

“Hello everyone, my name is Dr. Lisalee (it’s all one word) Egbert. I’m a teacher at university and I focus on Deaf studies but my focus really is Deaf education and interpreting for the classroom and I recently read a book. Wow. It’s called The Butterfly Cage, written by Rachel Zemach. I had seen people talking about it and posting about it saying it’s a good book and so on, and I thought hmm ok, I’ll see, and I’ll add it to my list to read. Then a friend told me you should buy it so I bought it and I thought I’ll just look it over, skim through it.

But I fell right into it. I couldn’t stop reading and reading it!  I just…It really got to me. I’ve been teaching Deaf children and going to conferences and meeting Deaf teachers and we discuss our obstacles and frustrations in the classroom and everyone has the same experiences. In this book, everything is right there! Everything we’re talking about, everything we’ve experienced. So i thought, we need to advertise this, we need to spread word out about it out very widely. We need everyone to see the stories it tells because, its true. It says what’s really happening in Deaf Education mainstream all over the country.”

In this book, everything is right there!

Who needs to read it?

“Three groups; administrators really need to read it and say they impact of their decisions, what they’re doing that’s hurting our Deaf children. We need to talk about it and see how we can change the system because ultimately we’re damaging our Deaf and hard-of-hearing children permanently.

We need parents to read this book because parents don’t know what’s happening. Parents trust the school system. Parents want to do what’s best but they’re not teachers. They don’t know. It’s not their fault. They want to believe in the professionals. And we are failing them.

We need other special education teachers to read this book.  Yes, there are GOOD special education teachers, but when they have a Deaf kid placed in their classrooms they don’t know what to do. They need to keep their jobs, and the principal tells them what to do and they have to follow it. I get it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t change the system, too. They need to figure out what’s best for the child. We also need to refer these kids to the right place.”

We are done! It is Time! quote by Lisalee Egbert. This is a Youtube cover png that links to the Youtube video. This link opens in a new tab.

Deaf Education

“We HAVE good schools for Deaf education. We have actual cognitive research to back up the fact that Deaf education can be successful. But if we ignore or overlook these things, it’s not going to work. So come join me please join me and other teachers of the Deaf. I’m saying it’s over; it’s time. It’s been happening and continues happening and it’s proven to be happening, ongoing.”

“We have actual cognitive research to back up the fact that Deaf education can be successful.”

“We can make a change. We can advocate for policy change and advocate for legislative change. We can teach parents. We can change the system.  Because it’s not just me. It’s not just Rachel. It’s not just you. It’s happening ALL OVER the place, and we know better. We know what works. We know ASL is the answer. We know these kids are VERY capable and very smart and they know how to figure things out if we give them what they need they will thrive. We just need to give them opportunities.”

An Opportunity

“So, if you have an opportunity to read this book, great. And if you have the opportunity to SHARE the book, please share it widely, with everyone in your school. Encourage the administrators to read it, the parents, and your peers….everyone in the community. I can’t advocate more strongly for this book. It’s really touching and tells you what’s not happening right in the system. So, thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and for allowing me to talk about this book. Please, please support Deaf Education changing. Thank you.”

Buy now button that has a picture of The Butterfly Cage book cover and a blue arrow pointing to the Buy Now button that is yellow and outlined in blue. This link goes to an Amazon link.

Learn more about Dr. Lisalee Egbert here. Learn more about Rachel.

For more information, email Rachel Zemach

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Tweetable: “Calling all educators! It’s time to better understand the needs of Deaf students. ‘The Butterfly Cage’ is a powerful book that will open your eyes to the shortcomings of the current system. Let’s work together to improve Deaf education! #DeafEducation #TeacherAdvocate”

Check out Tracey Sweetapple’s book review here.

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Rachel Zemach - Light skinned woman with brown hair in a purple shirt with flowers on it.

An important book written from the heart about the educational challenges of deaf children

“I had the privilege of interviewing the author on my podcast, “The Art of Medicine with Dr. Andrew Wilner.” I would highly encourage anyone who knows a deaf child or who works in the public education system, especially special education, to read this enlightening, thoughtful and well researched book. It is likely you will view those who are hard of hearing and deaf very differently. It certainly opened my eyes to how much better we can do in our education of deaf children.”

– Andrew Wilner, MD


Black cover of The butterfly cage. Title and Author name are in yellow.  There is a painted butterfly on the front drawn by Nancy Rourke. It is colored in shades of blue, yellow and red.

The Butterfly Cage

‘In “The Butterfly Cage,” Rachel Zemach fills that gap, and then some! Writing from the perspective of both a Deaf student, and long-time Deaf teacher of the Deaf, Rachel enabled me to finally gain some real insight into the severe impediments to learning that we educators create for our Deaf students…’
Woman in a library holding the Butterfly Cage book by Rachel Zemach.

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