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Reading Across Rhode Island: 2023: True Biz by Sara Novic

Further Reading

Never The Twain Shall Meet: Bell, Gallaudet, and the Communications Debate

Upcoming Events

True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they'll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who's never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school's golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another--and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.


Borrow a Book Set:

1. Email John Bucci ( with the following information:

  • Date of your book discussion
  • How many books you need
  • Library location to send materials to

2. John will let you know when to expect your materials, and where to send them when you are done.

3. Your books will come uncataloged. Use the enclosed book log (or your own method) to track who borrows books from you and when they are returned. Do your best to collect all books before passing them along, but if a book becomes lost, prioritize passing the sets along to the next library in a timely fashion, letting John know if there is a missing copy. 


Book Club in a Bag:

Independent book discussion groups can borrow a book set from libraries around the state, thanks to RI Center for the Book! The following libraries have a book set for True Biz. Contact one of these libraries today to borrow a set:

  • Barrington Public Library
  • Middletown Public Library
  • North Kingstown Public Library
  • Mt. Pleasant Library
  • Newport Public Library

Want your library to receive a Book Club in a Bag? Contact Emily at or Kate at 

Learn ASL and Deaf Culture

Learn about the history of ASL and Deaf Culture from David Mullowney, ASL Specialist at Rhode Island School for the Deaf

Join Community Libraries of Providence's Sammi and Ms. Laken for a series of ASL Storytimes on Youtube!


Library Programming for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 


Host an ASL Learning Circle

Gather your community together to learn ASL and practice with each other on a regular basis. Hire a Deaf community member the lead these sessions, or use online resources such as Basic ASL from Gallaudet University or Dr. Bill's ASL Course.


Celebrate National Deaf History Month / "Celebrate Deaf Legacy" 

 Read about the efforts of the Friends of Libraries of Deaf Action (FOLDA)'s efforts to get National Deaf History Month proclaimed by the US President, and explore Annual Deaf Related Events to highlight around your book discussion. 


ASL Storytime for Families

Join Community Libraries of Providence's Sammi and Ms. Laken for a series of ASL Storytimes on Youtube!


Learn More and Get Ideas from Programming Librarian


Connect with the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The RI Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is interested and available to attend library discussions and programs to discuss their projects and resources and provide a knowledgeable insight. Contact the Commission to arrange an appearance, or to get connected with interpreters and CART services for making your programs inclusive spaces.  


Submit your discussions and programs to RARI