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Future Girl


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About the Author

Asphyxia is an artist, writer and public speaker. Author of the much-loved junior fiction series the Grimstones, Asphyxia has also been a circus performer and puppeteer. An avid art-journal creator, she loves to share her process and help others benefit from this amazing tool for self-expression, problem-solving, planning, goal-tracking and self-esteem.

Deaf since the age of three, Asphyxia learnt to sign when she was eighteen, which changed her life. She is now a Deaf activist, sharing details of Deaf experience. She raises awareness of oppression of Deaf people and what we can do to change this. Her free online Auslan course (www.asphyxia.com.au) has had over 15,000 students.

Asphyxia is kept busy with her small farm where she combines food-growing with art - creating a magical aesthetic with plants and natural elements.

Her novel for teens, Future Girl, combines all these passions.


'This gentle yet honest story is true to one Deaf experience and is a pleasure to read, with artistic designs on every page and full illustrations and personal touches scattered throughout. The text and illustrations also introduce readers to basic permaculture concepts...Asphyxia skillfully interweaves subjects, including the diversity of Deaf language usage and access, Deaf interactions with the police, and having a friend in an abusive relationship...A distressingly insightful vision of the future that also offers warmth and hope.' STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews, USA

'Future Girl is clever, complex and generous...This book is art activism-a call for community and connection when we desperately need it.' Bec Kavanagh, Books+Publishing

'Fans of dystopian and realistic fiction will savor this engaging work, and the message will resonate with young activists seeking their own purpose. A standout must-read for teens and adults.' STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal, US

'Asphyxia has achieved something extraordinary here. [It's] not just an immersive story of Piper McBride's coming-of-age. It is not just a call to action in the face of hunger and environmental destruction. Asphyxia turns the reader into a seed, planting them in her dazzlingly fertile garden of a book, and as the reader nestles deeper into the soil of Piper's journey from timid girl to a vigorous fighter who embraces her Deaf self, the reader emerges from the book completely transformed, full of exhilarating growth, a flower as gorgeous and healthy as any that Piper grows.' Adam Pottle, author of The Black Drum and Voice: On Writing with Deafness

'A delightful and absorbing young adult fiction (and semi-graphic novel)...Future Girl combines traditional teen romance with the ominous air of a Margaret Atwood novel, plus a liveliness of spirit that drives you through the story. Not simply text-based, Piper's beautiful drawings and designs can be seen on every page. A must read.' Raphaelle Race, The Big Issue

'This brilliant book combines arresting themes with engaging characters and a compelling storyline...In these COVID times the reader may well be as inspired as Piper to get growing - and perhaps to learn Auslan.' Katharine England, The Advertiser

'This powerful dystopian coming-of-age novel, set in a futuristic Melbourne during an environmental crisis, comes in the form of an exquisite art journal...Through her creative use of language, Deaf author and activist Asphyxia makes Piper's experiences palpable and gives readers an eye-opening insight into the Deaf community.' The White Ravens Database, International Youth Library Foundation, Germany

'Have you ever come across a book and just thought to yourself, "That is the coolest book I've ever seen"? Well, I do it a lot...but Future Girl is, hands down, the best one I've seen in a long while.' BuzzFeed

'Having attended several Deaf Awareness training sessions in my working life I just wish someone had given me this book instead - it seems to place you inside a deaf person's mind, so you can really grasp the difficulties and joys of being deaf, and the hearing world's reaction to that. This book should be in every secondary school - it gives such a vivid picture of life for a deaf person, whilst the presentation is so beautiful it draws the reader in. Do read it!' LoveReading 4 Kids, UK

'This is a powerful love story, with equally powerful messages about climate change, self-sufficiency, different experiences of deafness, inclusion and fitting in...and each page is a visual joy.' BookTrust, UK

'Everything about this book is brilliant...I highly recommend THE WORDS IN MY HANDS for its representation, the storyline, character development and the beautiful art journal style and illustrations. Most books offer the reader one thing, whether it's a good story or information, and this one is giving you multiple things in one.' Just Geeking By, US

'This is my new favourite book and I can't stop thinking about it. It makes me want to nurture a food garden and delve deeper into what we can achieve as we think about our future. Highly recommended for readers of about 13 to adult.' Louise Ward, Wardini Books, NZ

'Future Girl is quite possibly the most unique book I've ever read! The visual elements were absolutely stunning and I feel like I learned so much. I also love that the book is #OwnVoices. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something different!' Laurabookish

'A must-read!' Hear for You

The range of emotions Piper feels in relation to her deafness is huge, and all these emotions are convincingly displayed. Two of the other characters in the book are also disabled. One is deaf and the other is a wheelchair user. They both exert a truly positive influence on Piper's life. She has a boyfriend whose hearing is unimpaired. His mother however is deaf. She is the one who teaches Piper to sign. The relationship between teacher and pupil is exquisitely portrayed. Asphxia's artwork is so potent that it almost becomes a character in its own right. The book will be read with profit and pleasure by all readers, whether or not disabled.' 5 STARS, Dr Rebecca Butler, Books For Keeps, UK

'A powerful tale of becoming.' CM Reviews, US

'Deaf/HH (hard of hearing) teenagers are going to devour Future Girl, with its depiction of the daily obstacles and shared experiences that they rarely see on the written page. They will feel included and acknowledged, often for the first time...They will feel included and acknowledged, often for the first time...Through Asphyxia's novel we explore many positive changes hearing people can make to adapt, adjust and communicate clearly and visually to fit into Piper's life...Asphyxia has touched upon so many of the current and long-standing issues faced by Deaf people in our society today.' Joanne Tarpey, teacher of the deaf

'Brilliantly imaginative, totally immersive - Asphyxia tilts the world sideways and invites you to see what was always there. Don't miss this book.' AMIE KAUFMAN, New York Times
bestselling author
of Illuminae

'Beautiful, immersive...a sensory feast.' JACLYN MORIARTY

'Asphyxia's work is brilliant: a deep, original insight, and a book that everyone should read.' JACKIE FRENCH, AM

'Future Girl will be a life-changing book for young Deaf and disabled people. It's a book of personal growth and pride - demonstrating the importance of the #OwnVoices movement. Asphyxia's illustrations are exquisite, and they complement her writing perfectly. This book is beautiful - congratulations, Asphyxia.' CARLY FINDLAY, OAM

'Future Girl confronts the challenges ahead of us and will open minds and hearts to the possibility of other worlds.' SEAN WILLIAMS

'I really enjoyed this gorgeous book and related to so many things. That is rare. It has inspired me to write down my experiences and to do more visual art. The story's really strong, with such a nice-feeling ending, and I loved the note to readers at the end - it gave me goosebumps. I can't wait for the world to read Future Girl.' ANNA SEYMOUR

'Future Girl is a must-read for Deaf people, who will identify with Piper, and for those who are hearing, offering an understanding of what it's like to be Deaf. It takes me back to my own struggle to fit in and my transformation into loving myself as I am: a signing Deaf woman with a place in both the Deaf and hearing worlds. Piper's journey shows that self-esteem created by the ability to communicate effectively trumps the ideology of assimilation - that Deaf people do not have to pretend to be hearing in order to succeed in the world. This book captures the epitome of being human, and the amazing feeling of belonging to a culture with its own language, community, history and traditions.' DRISANA LEVITZKE-GRAY, Young Australian of the Year 2015

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