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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Patience and understanding are difficult lessons for us to learn. We are all in too much of a hurry to take the time to understand another person’s difficulties and to patiently help someone understand. For someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, it’s particularly difficult to get along in a hearing world, where no one wants to take the time to repeat or to communicate in another way that might be beneficial to the person who hears differently. The standard response for impatience is “Never mind.” But we do mind. All of us. We need to understand and we need to show patience and kindness. Whether at home or out in the world, take the time to communicate and don’t brush someone off with a “never mind” comment. In Duke’s home, his parents have a standing rule, “In this house, we don’t say Never Mind!” And that’s a good thing because no one, hearing or deaf and hard of hearing, likes to be told: “Never mind.”
Kelly Brakenhoff’s picture book story, Never Mind (Duke the Deaf Dog ASL), is a touching story about a deaf dog and how he interacts with his friends and his siblings. He likes to be part of all that is going on around him, but he doesn’t like it when others tell him to “never mind.” The language is simple and will appeal to the young reader. The plot develops steadily with compassion. The illustrations are super and definitely help carry the story along. On some pages, there are windows showing a person signing a word used in the story. At the end of the book, the author explains the multiple meanings of “never mind” and how the words are signed differently depending on the meaning intended. A wonderful way to introduce young readers to differences and learning to be patient, kind and understanding at all times. Because no one appreciates being brushed aside with a "never mind."