Christina Hunger with Alexis Devine - How Stella Learned to Talk (Online Event)

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 3:00pm

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Online • Live • 3:00pm PT/6:00pm ET

Signed bookplates available!


An incredible, revolutionary true story and surprisingly simple guide to teaching your dog to talk from speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger, who has taught her dog, Stella, to communicate using simple paw-sized buttons associated with different words.

When speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger first came home with her puppy, Stella, it didn’t take long for her to start drawing connections between her job and her new pet. During the day, she worked with toddlers with significant delays in language development and used Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices to help them communicate. At night, she wondered: If dogs can understand words we say to them, shouldn’t they be able to say words to us? Can dogs use AAC to communicate with humans?

Christina decided to put her theory to the test with Stella and started using a paw-sized button programmed with her voice to say the word “outside” when clicked, whenever she took Stella out of the house. A few years later, Stella now has a bank of more than thirty word buttons, and uses them daily either individually or together to create near-complete sentences.

How Stella Learned to Talk is part memoir and part how-to guide. It chronicles the journey Christina and Stella have taken together, from the day they met, to the day Stella “spoke” her first word, and the other breakthroughs they’ve had since. It also reveals the techniques Christina used to teach Stella, broken down into simple stages and actionable steps any dog owner can use to start communicating with their pets.

Filled with conversations that Stella and Christina have had, as well as the attention to developmental detail that only a speech-language pathologist could know, How Stella Learned to Talk will be the indispensable dog book for the new decade.

Christina Hunger is a speech-language pathologist and the first person to teach a dog to “talk” using augmentative communication. She is the founder of Hunger for Words, a movement dedicated to giving everyone who understands language the tools to communicate. Hunger has a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northern Illinois University. She has professional expertise in using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to teach children with speech and language disorders to talk using communication devices. In May, Christina will launch the Hunger for Words Talking Pet Starter Set (developed in partnership with leading educational toy company Learning Resources) includes four customizable buttons and a step-by-step teaching guide written by Christina Hunger. She lives with her husband, Jake, and of course, her dog, Stella.

Alexis Devine is an artist and small-business owner from Tacoma, Washington. Inspired by Christina Hunger’s work, she started her own journey using Augmented & Alternative Communication (AAC) with her new puppy, Bunny, and documenting their progress on social media. Now, they have almost 6 million fans following their journey. For Alexis, it’s as much about the science behind her work as the impact it has on their lives - her relationship with Bunny has grown so much deeper through the added level of communication. On TikTok and Instagram, she invites her audience to not just follow Bunny’s progress with the buttons, but to explore how it has enriched their life as they go on beautiful hikes in the mountains, explore the beaches by their house, and visit their neighbors. She hopes to use her platform to build positivity and raise awareness. Charitable causes she has advocated for include Communication First, a disability-led nonprofit advocating those who have difficulty speaking, and the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the leading nonprofit working to cure childhood cancer.


Christina Hunger photo by Ariana Velazquez; Alexis Devine photo courtesy of author


How Stella Learned to Talk: The Groundbreaking Story of the World's First Talking Dog Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063046832
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - May 4th, 2021