Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: Follow My Leader by James Garfield

Zach and I read this booktogether, my reading it aloud to him and then he chose to read it again himself. As I was reading, this was one of those where he always asked for another chapter, more. The book features, Jimmy, a typical preteen boy, who is blinded by an accident involving a peer. The rest of the book describes his journey through approximately the next year, as he struggles to deal with both the realities of being blind and the emotions surrounding it. So many children's books do not do adequate character development, and even kids can pick up on that. This character is very real, with realistic emotions, weaknesses, strengths and fears. The other characters, particularly his peers, are also fairly developed. Jimmy in the story receives a guide dog, which I understand would not actually occur in someone his age (that young is not allowed a trained guide dog). However, the story makes the event seem plausible and realistic. Topics explored included blindness, Braille language, guide dogs, how peers may treat a blind student and, a very big one, forgiveness and hatred, and what those feelings can do to a person if not adequately dealt with. These are big topics for little readers, but the book does an admirable job with them. The book is also a great discussion starter for going further in depth with any of those topics and more. We highly recommend it.

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