How do you describe a colour to someone who can't see?
Illustrated colour children's paperback.
All royalties from the sale of this book are donated to the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind guide dog programme.
We got this book out at the local library recently. I knew nothing about it before we got it home. I just liked the cover. The cover is really colourful and drew me to the book.
Inside the story is really neat. Simply written, but beautifully done. A caring friend takes a boy on a journey of discovery. Together they explore their world and the colours found there. The pictures continue through as bright and beautiful. Each colour, a feature of the page.
This story bought a tear to my eye several times. I had to keep pausing to get through the pages in one piece. My daughter got a little annoyed with that. But its just such a moving piece of writing!
I'd definitely recommend this. Its a great book for opening a dialogue with your kids about being different or living with challenges. It should be a must for school libraries too. I love that the royalties all went to help train guide dogs too.
Even if you remove the aspect of "this book is helping a charity" - the price and value are bang-on! It's a quality production with a heart-warming message that reminds me strongly of a scene in the movie "Mask" where Eric Stoltz teaches a blind boy about the colours of the daytime sky... cold rock is 'blue', cotton wool is 'billowy' and 'white', warm rock is 'yellow' and 'the sun', etc... basically, the same concept, just shifted 12 hours.
The artwork is pretty stunning, quite lifelike but with an artistic twist that stops it from being straight-out photography... of a similar style to that seen in Go The F**k to Sleep which is so clear and accurate it's almost as though the artist traced a photo then drew in the colours. It's a style I quite like actually - gives me hope of one day illustrating my own book ideas!
Another simple message with a big impact, this story tells how Isaac teaches young blind Luke how to sense colours. Though it is never actually *stated* as such, it is clear Luke is blind from the beginning... a very diplomatic story as well!
Overall, an excellent tale to help children learn that people who lack one or more senses often compensate by having their remaining senses enhanced - so just because someone is blind, don't assume they can't hear you whispering jokes about them around the corner. Chances are, they heard those jokes... and a lot more besides. Treat them as friends, as people... and have them treat you the same.
Sales of this book will go towards helping the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Guide Dogs appeal. For more details on this charity, check out their website: www.rnzfb.org.nz/
We have recently been noticing guide dogs around and there is the most adorable puppy attending swimming lessons at the moment which has raised a few questions so this book has been very timely and perfect for addressing lots of "little" questions from Miss Four and Miss Five about people being blind and what that means for them.
Written by Dawn McMillan, a New Zealand author, she has chosen to donate the royalties from this book to the New Zealand Foundation of the Blind to assist with their 'sponsor a puppy' programme. The book contains a blurb about her and about the illustrator Keinyo White. I love books that give information about the authors so big plus! The book also has a page of information about the New Zealand Foundation of the Blind puppy/ guide dog programme.
So all that said onto the story....
Firstly the illustrations are fantastic. Really different to the usual children's illustrations and you know that a lot of thought went into getting the full page illustrations just right for the text on each facing page. I will be looking out for work by the illustrator Keinyo White who is an accomplished artist.
Each page of text is in the colour described as the story tells of Isaac helping Luke to "see" colours using his other senses. This reminded me of the scene in the movie Mask when different senses were called in to play to describe colours and I wondered if this had planted the seed in the author for these descriptions.
I liked how the different colours were described. The smell of green, the feel of yellow, the sounds of nature. The story also brings home what it must be like to not be able to use your eyes to see and Isaac learns this as he journeys through the day with Luke.
I loved this story and loved even more that it gave a platform to build on for my girls in understanding that the loss of one of your senses can enhance your use of others. Also this is a valuable story about the sharing of experiences and whilst Isaac initially set out to teach Luke he himself ended up with an even greater understanding and empathy.
I would recommend this for every school and kindergarten library and this book is a fantastic educational tool for your child in learning a little about what it means to be blind.
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"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)