Guest post by Nancy Churnin, author of The William Hoy Story

I can’t get over how much is changed since my last post on The William Hoy Story appeared in Charlotte Riggle’s wonderful blog.

Back then, I wrote: “A dream can change your life. It doesn’t even have start out as your dream. But if you let the dream into your heart, you can make it your own. That’s when amazing things start to happen.”

Amazing things continue to happen for William Hoy, the Deaf baseball player who popularized deaf language signs for safe and out so he could play the game he loved. The dream that I took into my heart and turned into my debut 2016 picture book biography came from Steve Sandy, a Deaf man who has made it his goal to get William Hoy in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where he would be the first Deaf player honored there.

The Silent Natural

Steve has produced a feature film follow-up to the documentary he produced on William Hoy, with the same wonderful director, David Risotto. The feature film, called The Silent Natural, featuring Deaf actors playing Deaf roles, had a sold-out screening at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Sept. 21. (Here’s the website for The Silent Natural, including a 3-minute trailer.)

William Hoy and the Old Timers vote

William Hoy was selected as the Most Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2018 by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) on June 23 at the Nineteenth Century Committee’s annual business meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

And every 10 years, the National Baseball Hall of Fame holds a vote for Old Timers, like Hoy. The next Old Timers vote is in 2020 – next year! Will Hoy win? We don’t know. But we do know that the book, which is still going strong after THREE YEARS, is helping.

How you can help get William Hoy into the Hall of Fame

Also helping: all the letters from children and adults mailed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, asking for him to be inducted there. On Hoy for the Hall, I’m sharing some of the letters kids have written. You can boost William Hoy’s chances for the recognition he deserves by sending your own letters to James L. Gates Jr., Library Director/National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum/25 Main Street/Cooperstown, NY 13326.

At the least, we can advocate for a special exhibit space for Hoy and the other Deaf baseball players who helped popularize the signals we use today and made such a wonderful impact on the sport and the world. William Hoy deserves it. So does every kid everywhere who would get a boost from seeing a longtime and well-deserved dream come true.

About the author:

Nancy Churnin is the award-winning author of eight picture book biographies including The William Hoy Story: How A Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game. She says, “I am so grateful to still be on this incredible journey with William Hoy. I have made so many friends in the Deaf community and seen awareness and inclusivity in the hearing communities rise through his story.”

Her newest books are Beautiful Shades of Brown, the Art of Laura Wheeler Waring from Creston Books/Lerner Books and For Spacious Skies, Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful” from Albert Whitman & Company.

A native New Yorker and former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University School of Journalism. She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats.

You can Find Nancy online at and She’s also on Facebook at Nancy Churnin Children’s Books, on Twitter at @nchurnin, and on Instagram at @nchurnin.

Read More

14 picture books with disabled characters: It can be hard to find picture books with disabled characters. This list will help.

The William Hoy Story: A baseball biography: My review of Nancy Churnin’s book about William Hoy.

Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree
: A book to explain deafness to children and teachers.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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