As an advocate for fellow members in the deaf community, Antoinette Abbamonte has spent most of her life reaching out to educate the “hearing world” as an actress and speaker, or signer, at schools.

But it was a deeply personal and affecting experience with her son, Dylan Plantinga, who is not hearing impaired, that led her to write her first children’s book, “Tree Wise: The Signing Branches.”

When Dylan, now 15, was in preschool, Abbamonte would drive him to school and his classmates would see Dylan and his mother communicating in American Sign Language.

One day, she said, “He was crying. He said ‘Why am I different? Why is my mom different from the others?’”

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