Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

The Printer

by Myron Uhlberg
illustrated by Henri Sørensen

“As a boy, my father learned to speak with his hands. As a man, he learned how to turn lead-type letters into words and sentences. My father loved being a printer.”

Each day in 1940s New York a young boy watches as his father goes to work in the noisy newspaper printing factory. But the boy’s father only feels the machines’ loud pounding and rumbling as vibrations through the soles of his shoes. He is deaf. Although his father communicates with a few other deaf printers through his hands, he feels largely ignored by his hearing co-workers. But when a silent deadly fire erupts, it is up to the father to warn and save his coworkers, even when they cannot hear him over the printers.

Myron Uhlberg draws on his own experiences as the hearing son of deaf parents to create this dramatic, evocative story that reflects a respect for deaf culture and the unique gifts each individual possesses. Historical details are deftly rendered and brought to life in Henri Sørenson’s extraordinary paintings that dramatize and illuminate the powerful text.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-221-7
Publication Date: 9/1/2003
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-1/2″ x 11″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-56145-483-9
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-1/2″ x 11″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.8
F&P: GRL O, Gr 3, Genre HF
Lexile: AD710L
Themes: Deafness, Parents, Prejudice, Printing, Sign Language
BISAC 1: JUV039150 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Special Needs
BISAC 2: JUV013060 JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Parents
BISAC 3: JUV016150 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 20th Century


“A heartfelt tale of an ordinary person rising to meet an extraordinary challenge.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“The large, realistic paintings are enthralling, showing close up both the strong men at work with the pounding machinery and the boy’s bond with his brave, gentle father.” ―Booklist

“A unique tale of a quiet kind of heroism-literally and figuratively… The simplicity of the story gives the text its drama, and its message of caring for one’s fellow humans is powerful.” ―School Library Journal

“Handsome paintings convey the story’s emotion.” ―Horn Book Guide

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“The painterly illustrations reinforce a sense of nostalgia, and the arrested motion of the figures evokes the quiet world of the printer in the midst of an obviously noisy industrial setting. Told from the viewpoint of an adoring son, this story of unassuming heroism subtly impresses its message that ‘dis’-ability has its compensations; in its various emphases on vocation, history, and language, it also invites cross-curricular applications.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This story is good for introducing young readers to the world of the deaf individuals with whom they might someday interact… The illustrations are boldly painted in subtle tones and beautifully illustrate the people, the place, and the pivotal action of the story.” ―Chat with Vera

“If you’re looking for a memorable picture book with something of value for any age you need look no further than ‘The Printer’” ―Unpacking Picture Book Power

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Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People (Selector’s Choice) ―National Council for the Social Studies, Children’s Book Council, 2004

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2004

Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities ―IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People, 2005

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California Collections (Elementary) ―California Readers, 2006

Land of Enchantment Book Awards (Master List) ―New Mexico Library Association, New Mexico Council of IRA, 2006-2007

Beehive Award (Nominee) ―Children’s Literature Association of Utah, 2005-2006

Charlotte Award (Nominee) ―New York State Reading Association, 2006

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Meet the Author

Myron Uhlberg is the author of several picture books. A retired businessman, he lives in California. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Henri Sorensen has illustrated over twenty books for children, including The Yellow Star, The Printer, and Christmas in the Trenches. He is also the author-illustrator of two children’s books, New Hope and Your First Step. Sorensen lives in Denmark.