Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Keep Your Ear on the Ball
By: Genevieve Petrillo and Lea Lyon
Published by:  Tilbury House Publishers, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88448-324-3
Price: $7.95
Ages 9-12
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Do you know someone who is blind?  A boy named Peter narrates the story of how Davey came into his class.  Davey is blind.  At first, all of his classmates want to help him, but he feels that he is perfectly capable of doing everything on his own. He says, “Thanks, but no thanks,” over and over again.  As a result, his well-meaning friends stop offering help, until he tries to play kickball.  He misses kicks and tramples a first baseman, so no one wants Davey on his or her team any more.  Will the students be able to find a way to help Davey that respects his unique abilities and his desire for freedom?  And will Davey learn that interdependence can be just as important and rewarding as independence?

Author Genevieve Petrillo taught school for 34 years in Belleville, NJ.  Keep Your Ear on the Ball, which won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, is based upon her experiences with a blind student named David DeNotaris.  Concerning those who are blind or have some kind of similar difficulty, there is a fine line between offering them help when there is an occasion which calls for it and respecting their need for self-reliance.  This book, with illustrations by Lea Lyon, is an excellent resource to assist children, and adults as well, in being sensitive to these kinds of situations.  Teachers and parents are invited to visit publisher Tilbury House’s website for activities, games, discussion points, and further activities related to the book and its subject.  I believe that young people will benefit from reading stories where blind, deaf, and other special needs children are portrayed in real-life circumstances.

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