Friday, November 7, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 202


Picture Book: Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle

Author: Holly M. Barry

Illustrator: Jennifer Thermes

Summary: The story of Helen Keller’s birth, illness, disabilities, lessons to communicate again thanks to Anne Sullivan, and even Helen’s adult years are all told in a very child-friendly way in this picture book. Dogs are explained as a life-long comfort for Helen. One particular dog, Belle, is introduced as being a particularly important companion during her crucial years when she learned to finger spell. Sign language and Braille are described as well.

Hanna’s Comments: Being a life-long Alabamian, I’ve known the story of Helen Keller all my life and visited her home several times. I don’t remember hearing about her pets though. This is a nice way to present a troubling and complex story to children. It is an amazing story of resilience and perseverance that would benefit and inspire any child who had to struggle or had compassion for those who do.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Albert Whitman and Co., 2013

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, There is a great deal of information and video on the internet about Helen Keller.

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, adaptation/assimilation, affection, America, animals, bravery/courage, brokenness, challenges, comfort, communication, companionship, darkness/evening/night, death/loss/grief, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, education/learning/school, emotions/feelings, helping, heroes, leadership/servant leadership, loneliness, mentors/teachers, perseverance, perspective, pets, reassurance, renewal/restoration, time/timing/over time, transformation, underdogs

Scripture Connections: Comfort, O comfort my people says your God. (Isaiah 40:1-2)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this story to a group of children when you are talking about the many ways we comfort ourselves when we are experiencing difficult times. Talk about why pets can be very comforting and compare this to the comfort that prayer and God’s presence can also give.