Jessi’s Secret Language and the Importance of American Sign Language (ASL)

This book can be found in both novel and graphic novel format, but the storyline is the same.

Jessi Ramsey, now the newest member of the Baby-Sitters Club, has taken on a new assignment. A repetitive one, it requires the same person every time. Jessi soon learns that the reason this job may be harder than others is because one of the two kids she will be baby-sitting for is deaf. Taking on this assignment means she will have to learn ASL (American Sign Language). However, this job will soon prove harder than she originally thought, since she has to learn a whole new language.

I liked this book because of its emphasis on the importance of ASL. While I do not use it, or know anyone who uses it, I still think ASL is very important to know. This is because even though I do not need to use it or even know it, for the people that do require ASL to communicate with others in daily life, it is a vital tool. If no one else (as in those who do not need to use ASL) do not know anything about ASL, it is a major communicational block between those who use ASL and those who do not. Those who need ASL every day would find it a lot harder to communicate with others on a daily basis, just because everyone else never bothered to learn this unique way of communication. Over half a million people in the US use ASL, with that number expected to increase greatly in upcoming years. So, the more people who know ASL, the easier it will be for everyone else to communicate with those who see ASL as a vital tool in their lives.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to others. I felt that it really empasized the importance of American Sign Language, a topic which I think should be much more important for both those who use ASL. Knowing sign language makes it easier to lift the communication barrier with those who use ASL and have hearing loss.

Some high schools actually offer ASL as a foreign language course, and colleges/universities accept ASL as a world language. If your high school does not offer ASL as a foreign language, you can dual-enroll at a community college to take the course.

– Peri A.

Jessi’s Secret Language by Ann M. Martin is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.