May 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Deej | SLJ DVD Review

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

redstarDeej. 53 min and 73 min. Rooy Media. 2017. $79. ISBN 9780692813300.

Gr 9 Up –David James Savarese, or Deej, was adopted at age three after his abandonment by his birth mother. A nonspeaking person with autism and extreme anxiety, he’s also an honor student who is integrated into his Iowa high school. Through his poetry, plays, and words spoken by a text-to-speech synthesizer, Deej confronts personal and societal obstacles as he dreams and plans for an independent life at college and beyond. He describes this film, and his words, as a way to “free his people,” particularly nonspeaking artists like himself but more generally all those who want to be completely included in society. Deej’s poetry is animated in a flowing style of brushstrokes in motion that is very affecting. Although this inspiring documentary is about a person with a disability, it’s really about the love of language. The three DVD extras include his play Finding Our Voices, performed by his high school classmates at a state competition; Deej and his family celebrating his 18th birthday; and Deej competing for a college scholarship. VERDICT An inspiring story of triumph over adversity. Deej has a very mature and expressive vocabulary that may inspire those in an English or creative writing classroom.–Ann Brownson, formerly at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2018 issue.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind