53 min and 73 min. Rooy Media. deejmovie.com. 2017. $79. ISBN 9780692813300.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Ddavid JamesJ 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.

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