Diverse Kids Books–Reviews

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Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M. Barry

cover Helen Keller's Best Friend BelleYou’ve heard of Helen Keller, but do you know Belle? Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M. Barry is a furry tale (tail?) about Helen’s adventures with her childhood friend, an old setter named Belle. This children’s book is basically a diluted version of Arthur Penn’s 1962 biopic, The Miracle Worker. The readers are introduced to Helen at birth and quickly learn that an illness leaves her completely deaf and blind before she reaches her 2nd birthday. From that point on, her world is filled with soundless darkness that only her dogs can comfort her in for the next few years.

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Jeremy’s Dreidel by Ellie Gellman

cover for Jeremy's DreidelIt is Hanukkah season and the Jewish Community Center is hosting a dreidel workshop and Hanukkah celebration to mark the occasion. All the children have grand ideas for making their dreidels unique including Miriam’s “green” dreidel made from recycled materials, Jacob’s singing one made from an old music box, David’s bouncing dreidel made from a rubber ball, and Jeremy’s Braille dreidel. Jeremy’s choice of material, clay, initially does not seem as interesting as that of the other children. However, as he begins to model his clay dreidel with mysterious dots, the other children in the workshop soon recognize its uniqueness and, in the process, they learn a lesson about Braille, blindness, and what it means to have a parent who is blind. (more…)