Book Reviews

Book Reviews

"The value of her perspective can't be overstated...froma Deaf teacher working in a hearing school."

"The Butterfly Cage had me from the first page. I fell in love with Zemach's students as they fell in love with language. This is a tale of a woman's ...
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Arlyn (Amazon customer)
"The Butterfly Cage had me from the first page. I fell in love with Zemach's students as they fell in love with language. This is a tale of a woman's passion, creativity, and personal awakening in the least fertile environment possible. Zemach creates a safe, warm and hospitable narrative for readers - making it easy to settle in and open our minds. Zemach, a wise teacher indeed, weaves powerful learning around topics that could be strange and unfamiliar. She places it gently on our shoulders as we laugh and cry and love. We leave carrying new learning and are richer for it. Highly recommended."
Arlyn (Amazon customer)
The Butterfly Cage is a fascinating and heartfelt dive into the hidden world of education for Deaf children in a public “mainstream” school. Zemach brings her students to...
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Mal May, former school psychologist at a school for the Deaf
The Butterfly Cage is a fascinating and heartfelt dive into the hidden world of education for Deaf children in a public “mainstream” school. Zemach brings her students to life for us, and shares their trials and triumphs, heartbreaks and moments of pure joy, all while taking us along for the twists and turns of her own life journey. Whether or not you’ve ever known and loved a Deaf child — or any child — this is a book you won’t want to miss.”
Mal May, former school psychologist at a school for the Deaf
“Many books about educating the Deaf have struck me as a tad dry, but Rachel Zemach’s The Butterfly Cage is anything but dry. She shares her many...
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Raymond Luczak, author of A Quiet Foghorn: More Notes from a Deaf Gay Life
“Many books about educating the Deaf have struck me as a tad dry, but Rachel Zemach’s The Butterfly Cage is anything but dry. She shares her many years of teaching her Deaf students while trying to work within the “system” to provide a better—and more equitable—experience for them. While this may seem like a “big-picture” book filled with some truly heartbreaking scenes, we do meet many unforgettable characters, all of whom are beautifully rendered to illustrate clearly how and what must change in the future. The Butterfly Cage is a clarion call not only to reconsider how Deaf students have been historically served but also how they deserve a far better chance now to improve their own lives not as Deaf people trying to be hearing, which is actually a form of oppression which is brilliantly delineated in these pages, but as Deaf people as themselves with their own set of unique cultural attributes: diverse, vibrant, and powerful.”
Raymond Luczak, author of A Quiet Foghorn: More Notes from a Deaf Gay Life
The Butterfly Cage blows the lid off the California public school system’s treatment of deaf students. You will be both enlightened and outraged! ”
John Geogegehan, author of Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow: A True Story of Love, Hearing Loss, Heartbreak and Redemption
The Butterfly Cage blows the lid off the California public school system’s treatment of deaf students. You will be both enlightened and outraged!”
John Geogegehan, author of Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow: A True Story of Love, Hearing Loss, Heartbreak and Redemption
“This is a powerful read. Those who have worked in the field of Deaf education and truly get it will nod affirmatively. Those who are new or not...
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Mark Drolsbaugh, author of Deaf Again
“This is a powerful read. Those who have worked in the field of Deaf education and truly get it will nod affirmatively. Those who are new or not as familiar with the needs of Deaf children are in for an eye-opening experience. The book starts out like a nice, leisurely drive through the countryside and then holy smokes — strap yourself in! — you realize you’re in a fighter jet pulling 7 G’s. Rachel Zemach masterfully leads you through a world where we can and should be doing better. For good measure, Zemach adds a comprehensive list of tips and strategies that are must-read for parents, teachers, administrators, and allies of the Deaf community. A valuable resource.”
Mark Drolsbaugh, author of Deaf Again
"This is a page turner!! I never knew one beautiful bridge could bring together so many different types of people. Rachel Zemach has just become one of my favorite authors!!"
Beth
"This is a page turner!! I never knew one beautiful bridge could bring together so many different types of people. Rachel Zemach has just become one of my favorite authors!!"
Beth
"This memoir illustrates startling differences between public school education for Deaf children and the Deaf school. To quote a Deaf Reviewer, "powerful read". I agree that the book is powerful ...
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Diana
"This memoir illustrates startling differences between public school education for Deaf children and the Deaf school. To quote a Deaf Reviewer, "powerful read". I agree that the book is powerful and moving."
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Diana
"This book is a gift in more ways than one. Rachel has the rare skill of reaching to multiple audiences at the same time: able to educate the hearing...
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Molly Glass
"This book is a gift in more ways than one. Rachel has the rare skill of reaching to multiple audiences at the same time: able to educate the hearing, and able to resonate with the d/Deaf. As a grown Deaf adult who was Deaf since toddlerhood, I cannot count the number of times I felt seen. I had to take breaks a few times, as many stories made me cry and remember my own experiences of coming of age while being in an all hearing family."
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Molly Glass
"As a mainstream, public school and college-level educator of many years, with an M.S.Ed. in science education, and a Ph.D. in educational program evaluation, ...
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Larissa White
"As a mainstream, public school and college-level educator of many years, with an M.S.Ed. in science education, and a Ph.D. in educational program evaluation, I have taken many courses over the years -- both as course requirements, and then in the form of continuing education workshops -- to help myself better understand and serve the needs of my students. My goal was always to help each and every student thrive and learn. One of the best experiences I ever had was taking the F.A.T City Workshop, which explained various learning disabilities, and included a series of activities designed to help us gain a viceral understanding, from the student's point of view, of the challenges posed by various LDs. While Deafness was included in the F.A.T. City list, it was merely mentioned and then glossed over -- and it seems to me now that this was a major gap in my education as a teacher. 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, by not truly understanding the nature of their experience and nature of their learning needs. (How can anyone ever hope to learn anything, without the use of a first language?!) In reading her book, I laughed at the absurdity of problems we create, cried at the trauma created by our ignorance, and found new determination in the simple solutions that we as educators can implement to help resolve so many of these issues -- all by reading this little gem of a page-turner. In my professional opinion, "The Butterfly Cage" should be required reading for all educators. It was a joy to read. And now, I'm off to learn a little more ASL."
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Larissa White
“The Butterfly Cage ” is a brilliant and thoughtful memoir written by Rachel Zemach, a deaf educator, writer, and activist. Here, Author Zemach recounts her...
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Lily Mooze
“The Butterfly Cage” is a brilliant and thoughtful memoir written by Rachel Zemach, a deaf educator, writer, and activist. Here, Author Zemach recounts her remarkable navigation through the intricacies of teaching while Deaf in a California public school. It is a crucial and sometimes disquieting panorama of the patchiness of deaf education in public schools offering necessary advice for educators and families alike.
Lily Mooze

Tracey Sweetapple’s Spotlight on The Butterfly Cage.

Dr. Lisalee Egbert’s Book Review of The Butterfly Cage

The Butterfly Cage Logo by Nancy Rourke -Butterfly with hands shaping the butterfly in red, light and dark blue and yellow.

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