Our new neighbors' hands are dancing. Their hands move as if to music. What are they saying to each other?
Sam's new neighbors' hands make graceful movements she doesn't recognize. She watches through the window and wonders what those dancing hands and expressive faces are saying. Soon Sam meets her new neighbor, Mai. As they get closer, Mai teaches Sam some Filipino sign language, and they share with one another their passions and dreams. They both discover the joys of making a new friend, a best friend.
This sweet and perceptive picture book by author Joanna Que and Charina Marquez tells the story of two girls, one who speaks Filipino sign language and one who doesn't, learning to communicate with one another. With playful illustrations by Fran Alvarez that celebrate the beautiful movements of sign language, this sweet picture book conveys the shy and fumbling experience of making a friend, learning to overcome language barriers, and embracing the differences that make each friendship unique.
Joanna Que was inspired to write Dancing Hands after being invited to join a writing workshop with Room to Read, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, and Adarna House, a prominent Filipinx publisher. She finds sign language beautiful and her desire is to spark more conversations about the importance of inclusion. Apart from writing, Joanna finds joy in making things with her hands, and her best ideas often come about while being around nature. She lives with her dog and cat friends in Manila, Philippines.
Charina Marquez is a baker, researcher, sign language instructor, and deaf rights advocate. Born Deaf, she loves languages, communicating using sign language and written English and Tagalog languages. She holds a degree in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and worked as an animator, art restorer, and graphic designer, before opening her own online cake and pastry business, Silent Baker Charina. In addition to baking and her many artistic pursuits, Charina loves outdoor activities like skating and surfing. She lives in Quezon City, Philippines.
Fran Alvarez is an illustrator working in both digital and analog mediums. She was invited to join Room to Read's illustrators workshop where she created the art for Dancing Hands . She loves her work to reflect a handmade feel, whatever the material, and she enjoys experimenting with embroidery and printmaking. These days she is mostly inspired by nature, music, childhood memories, and day-to-day life. When she is not at her desk, she likes to be outside staring at plants with her dog Kimchi. She lives in Manila, Philippines.