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Listening with My Heart Paperback – June 15, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA. The first Miss America with a disability tells her life story in a readable, engaging manner. Although profoundly deaf since the age of 18 months, Whitestone let little stand in her way to achieving her goals: to dance, to compete in pageants, to encourage others, and always to praise God. YAs will be interested in the steps involved in the various competitions that lead up to the Miss America competition, and her pageant platform, STARS (Success Through Action and Realization of your dreamS). After Whitestone won, she became the focus of controversy because she wears a hearing aid, uses oral speech, and occasionally signs in Signing Exact English. Her critics in the deaf community believe that she should communicate through American Sign Language. The controversy continues. The author describes her Miss America year, with the endless demands on her time and energy, the complete lack of privacy, and the times when she was so exhausted that she felt she could not keep going. What has always sustained her is her positive attitude, and her absolute faith in God. This inspirational biography will have wide appeal.?Judy Sokoll, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Although Heather Whitestone will be forever known as the first Miss America with a disability, she would probably prefer to be remembered as a young woman whose deafness taught her discipline and unwavering belief in God. In this sometimes saccharine memoir, Miss America 1995 recounts the story of her inspiring life, beginning with a childhood fever that left her profoundly deaf. That impairment would, in turn, leave her fiercely independent and strong willed. Whitestone, who chose hearing aids over signing, attended ballet classes to improve her speech rhythms and fell in love with dance. Her faith in God's dream for her was reflected in the positive way in which she built on her strengths and accepted her limitations in school, in community service, and in beauty pageants. The book leaves readers with a picture of the new Mrs. John McCallum who, if she could hear for one day, admits she would spend it on the beach listening to her husband's "precious voice." Patricia Hassler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (June 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385488998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385488990
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "kathrynlively" on February 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having Whitestone as our first hearing impaired Miss America, one would think, should have been true inspiration for this nation's legion of children with disabilities. Whitestone's memoir, Listening With My Heart, shares these triumphs, but reveals also the stark realities this tiara holds. Anyone who thinks this title nothing more than non-stop glamour and make-up will be pleasantly surprised to learn of the more intense layers underneath.
Despite the joys and benefits of being America's sweetheart, and despite the impact Whitestone left following her year-long reign, there was an equal amount of heartache and frustration, and while reading Listening I found that just because one cannot hear the activity around her, it doesn't make the pain less hurtful. In Listening, Whitestone details her duties and the ensuing exhaustion, all the while keeping a cheerful front so as not to disappoint anyone in her path.
Her positive disposition, as felt throughout Listening, is credited to Whitestone's solid faith in God. Whitestone's love of God carries her throughout her career and is strongly felt in this memoir; she peppers each chapter with encouraging quotes from many known people and from the Bible. For all the uphill struggles she tackled (including living her Christian beliefs in a society that does not necessarily embrace the same values), Whitestone's enthusiasm is contagious, and her life-in-progress an inspiration.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ann on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am inspired by Heather Whitestone when I read this book...she is an inspiration to many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals like myself. She taught me in this book that no matter the outcome, anyone with a disability can do just about anything in life...even marrying a good, handsome man named John McCallum and being the first deaf Miss America. This Christian autobiography is one of my favorites because it is very interesting to read and there are good pictures of her and her husband, family, even deaf actress Marlee Matlin. I even noticed by reading this book is that Heather and I have things in common with each other such as we both grew up as oral deaf. I love this book and I know you will too...you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Because I have a grandbaby who was just diagnosed with profound deafness, I have been reading all the books I can about how deafness affects those who are deaf. Heather Whitestone's story was so inspirational and gave me a great deal of insight of how it feels to be deaf and different from the hearing world, and to understand what obstacles might arise, and to take heart knowing that most can be overcome if you have faith and the fortitude to meet the challenge. Her story also gives insight into the debate between the use of sign language, oral education, and cochlear implants, and the prejudice that still exists among some people in the deaf culture. A truly informative and inspiring book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lor369 on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was a really good autobiography about Heather Whitestone, former Miss America. She talks about her struggles as a deaf person and her experience as Miss America, and how God has worked in her life.

I really enjoyed her book. I like how she was so open about her struggles with a deaf person. She didn't feel like she fit into the deaf world or the hearing world. Yet, she continues to persevere, and with God's help, she overcomes her obstacles to become Miss America. And she is open with her struggles as Miss America, too. She talks about the need for privacy and her struggles with criticism from the press.

A great, inspirational book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Struggling to come up with title for this review shouldn't have happened, for "refreshing" describes this enjoyable read.

Heather is an honest, open and Christian person. Her humility to share her fears, exasperations, even private darker moments is refreshing!

And then there is her deafness. She is honest and open here as well, lamenting at times the deaf culture, but also showing sensitivity to their plight.

I'm a page-bender, underliner, note-taker kind of reader who continually marks passages in the great reads that I have, and this book has so many of them. I wanted to communicate them in this review, but will choose to just give some salient phrases from them so that you'll read this marvelous book: "going to bed means getting some sleep"; returned autographs which included Scripture quotes; Miss America wearing a clown on her head; dreaming and God's Word.

Haven't read such a refreshing work in quite some time; treasure as a precious Christmas gift that it was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donna Hill on October 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been a fan of the Miss America Pageant ever since I started watching it with my family when I was a little girl. So I was most interested to read Heather Whitestone's story, our first deaf Miss America. The story consists primarily of two parts--her life before she won the Miss America title and the year of her reign. If you're hoping for her to go behind the scenes of the pageant itself, there is next to no information about this. But she does dispel some of the glamour that surrounds the pageant--if you're thinking that Miss America lives in the lap of luxury for a year, think again. As Heather tells us, although she flew first-class and stayed in beautiful hotel suites, she was working a long, hectic schedule with hardly any days off. She soon learns about the downside to being a celebrity when not even the restroom is a sanctuary. I loved the personal stories. I loved it when she got real and told us about how life in a pressure cooker made her a cranky young woman at times. I loved the fact that it's a Cinderella story in a way because her knight in shining armor in the person of a young man working in the political arena in Washington meets her.

Despite the fact that I am a Christian, there was maybe just a wee too much preachiness for me, and for non-believers or non-Christians, it could be just a little much. Don't get me wrong--she seems like a lovely person. She's very sincere. I liked the fact that she admitted that she was so tired from her schedule as Miss America that she didn't find time for prayer or the Bible. I love honesty. I hate it when people pretend to be perfect. I was interested to hear about the conflicts between her and the deaf community. I never knew that speaking, and not signing, would be a problem.
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