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INTERVIEWS:

Silent Star

By Bill Wise
Illustrations by Adam Gustavson

Photo of Author Bill
Wise Silent Star is the story of how William Hoy became a successful baseball player despite being deaf. Moving from amateur clubs to the minor leagues and eventually to the majors, Hoy proved himself again and again—overcoming obstacles and becoming a star both on and off the baseball diamond. He enjoyed a long career with a standout record and is an inspirational figure in history. In this BookTalk, author Bill Wise discusses baseball and why he chose to write about Hoy.

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy tells the story of one of the first deaf baseball players to make it to the major leagues. How do you make history enjoyable for children to read? 

Bill Wise: History is about people. So I try to make history enjoyable for children by introducing them to the people who made history.

How do you feel teaching affects the way you put together a story?

BW: Because I am a teacher, I try to write stories that teach children about determination, tolerance, courage, and pride.

Silent Star is a tribute to William Hoy, an inspirational figure in baseball history. Are there other figures in sports history you admire? If so, who and why?

BW: The athlete I admire most is Jackie Robinson. I believe Jackie Robinson was the greatest hero in sports history.

You did extensive research on William Hoy before writing Silent Star. Are there any interesting facts about Hoy that didn’t make it into the book?

BW: In the history of baseball, William Hoy was one of the few players to play in four major leagues.

What were some challenges you faced in writing Silent Star?

BW: The biggest challenge was the research. Since Hoy played baseball more than one hundred years ago, it was difficult and time-consuming to find information about his life and baseball career.

You have previously written a baseball biography. Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer tells the story of a Native American baseball player who had to defy the norms to make it in the major leagues. What interests you about this genre? What made you want to write another baseball biography?

BW: I’ve always been captivated by the rich history of baseball. Like Louis Sockalexis, William Hoy was a man of great courage who showed indomitable determination and overcame many obstacles to play the sport he loved. Their stories were unknown to young sports fans, and I believe their stories are of great importance and need to be shared with young readers.

How long did it take you to write and illustrate Silent Star?  BW: I spent more than a year researching, writing, and editing.

If William Hoy were alive today, what is one question you would like to ask him?

BW: The question I would ask William Hoy: “Of all of your accomplishments, which one are you the proudest of?”

What do you hope readers will take away from Silent Star?

BW: I hope readers come to realize that William Hoy was both an extraordinary athlete and an extraordinary person. He was truly an American hero. I hope William Hoy’s story inspires readers to reach for their own dreams.

About This Title

Guided Reading:

T

Lexile:

840L

Interest Level:

Grades 1 - 6

Reading Level:

Grades 3 - 4

Themes

Nonfiction, United States History, Sports, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Overcoming Obstacles, Multiethnic interest, History, Dreams & Aspirations, Discrimination, Disability, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Bullying, Biography/Memoir, Sports History, Empathy/Compassion, Integrity/Honesty , Optimism/Enthusiasm, People In Motion, Persistence/Grit, Self Control/Self Regulation, Pride

Collections

Biography and Memoir Grades 3-6, Persistence and Determination Collection

Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK

Fluent English, Fluent Dual Language , Social Activism Collection Grades 3-5, Baseball & Softball Collection, Pedro Noguera Reluctant Readers Collection , Athletes and Sports, Summer Olympics Collection, Nonfiction Grades 3-6, Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades 3-6, Social Activism Collection, English Guided Reading Level T

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