Tuesday, April 26, 2011

27th April Nancy Shaw (1946) Betty G. Birney (1947) International Guide Dog Day

A day for animals! American author Nancy Shaw has a series of picture books about sheep which began with Sheep in a Jeep and which arose from a dull car trip with her young children. 'I tinkered with animal rhymes' to amuse my children. Very different from the watching of movies and the playing of computer games of the car trips that have occurred here during the Easter school break!

Also American, author Betty G. Birney is responsible for the series of novels about Humphrey, a hamster. These books are particularly popular with my good Year 2 readers who own a guinea pig, as we do not have hamsters in Australia. The series that started with The World According to Humphrey follows the experiences of a class hamster through a full year of school. Humphrey is an exceptional hamster who knows how to write and helps solve the problems of his fellow classmates. The books have stand alone chapters which is particularly good for students who are taking the step towards longer books, but still like to read the whole book in one sitting. In Australia we get the English versions of these stories and so far there are seven books in the series.

And thirdly it is International Guide Dog Day, a day designed to make us think about the mobility and independence that a guide dog can bring to vision-impaired people around the world. This year's theme, “Guide Dogs Can Go Anywhere” not only offers the community an opportunity to learn more about the role of Guide Dogs, but also access issues facing Guide Dog users.

There are many non-fiction expository texts for young children which give students information about guide dogs. My library has:
Guide Dogs; from puppies to partners by Diana Lawrenson.
Guide Dog by Jill Coleman
A good story to read which shows the relationship between the dog and owner is the wonderful Dan and Diesel by Charlotte Hudson and Lindsey Gardiner.

While on the subject of blindness, although there isn't a guide dog, you really need to search out Jeanne Willis and Sarah Fox-Davies' wonderful new book Mole's Sunrise. Mole is blind and his friends come up with a plan to help Mole 'see' the sunrise. On youtube you can see how the pictures in this book were made into reliefs for blind children.

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