I love hosting Nonfiction Monday so we can share the wide variety of nonfiction titles members of the Kidlitosphere group are blogging on each week. You might notice that I am including the publisher information for these titles so you can see the wide variety of publishers of nonfiction titles.
Camille Powell at BookMoot writes about the Machines of the Future series with her review of Ultimate Trains. Then she slips in a peak on Looking Closely at the Rain Forest. Both of these titles are published by Kids Can Press.
Amanda Snow at A Patchwork of Books is showcasing 2 books today, 101 Freaky Animals by Melvin and Gilda Berger published by Scholastic and Just One Bite by Lola Schaefer published by Chronicle Books. http://apatchworkofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/non-fiction-monday-animals.html
Jeff Barger posted a review of Come See The Earth: The Story of Leon Foucault at NC Teacher Stuff Published by Tricycle Press.
Kim Hutmacher the Wild About Nature blog has posted a review of Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! by Sherry North.(May I add a personal note that Kim has written a Therapy Dog book with Capstone Publishing that I meant to include in my review list below?) Published by Sylvan Dell Publishing.
Alex Baugh has a post at The Children’s War today for In Defiance of Hitler: Secret Mission of the Secret Mission of Varian Fry by Carla Killough McClafferty and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is a book about a little known hero named Varian Fry who helped save some very famous people during World War II. http://thechildrenswar.blogspot.com/2010/11/in-defiance-of-hitler-secret-mission-of.html
Margo Tanenbaum’s link for non-fiction Monday shares her take on Barbies, and Tanya Stone’s new book, The Good The Bad and the Barbie, published by Viking.
Wendie Old is talking about Caroline Arnold’s series about animals, featuring A Walrus’ World, which Arnold both wrote and illustrated. Published by Picture Window Books (an imprint of Capstone).
Janet Squires selection is One Grain of Rice: a mathematical folktale written and illustrated by Demi (published by Scholastic). janetsquires.blogspot.com
Each week I agonize over which wonderful title to share. Today I’m focusing on the topic of working animals with samplings from series from Bailey Books (an Enslow edition) and Marshall Cavendish publishers.
Linda Bozzo writes Guide Dog Heroes which is part of the Amazing Working Dogs with American Humane series. Enslow Elementary, an imprint of Enslow Publishers, 2011 ISBN 978-0-7660-3198-2 Titles in the series include
- Search and Rescue Dog Heroes
- Therapy Dog Heroes
- Guide Dog Heroes
- Service Dog Heroes (my favorite)
- Fire Dog Heroes
- Police Dog Heroes
Guide Dog Heroes is a good title for reading aloud to elementary students. It is an attractive addition to our working animal sets. The title is slightly misleading because only one dog is highlighted as a hero in chapter six – Roselle who helped Michael Hingson escape the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.
Helpers opens with a chapter on guide dogs called “Helping the Blind.” Initially I was disappointed because I was expecting a more generic opening explaining the wider variety of helper animals. Many times when I am out in public with Ken’s service dog, Lucky, people will ask him if he is blind even though they watched him drive up and get out of the car. He spends a great deal of time educating people that service animals exist for more reasons than vision assistance.
The second chapter focused on “Working with the Deaf” and did include mention of one of my favorite charities – Dogs for the Deaf. This is always my favorite focus as I need assistance more and more often at home. #3 son’s puppy Deebow, has already begun training to alert me to sounds at home. The security this provides me when I am home alone is indescribable. Since my beloved Marshall died and Lucy is retiring as she loses her hearing & sight, I have been dependent on people to be help me at home. Deebow is offering me hope.
Chapter 3 provided many more types of animals and situations needing service animals. Chapter 4 described animal therapy in general and chapter 5 inspired the reader to consider a wide variety of careers and volunteer opportunities.
At first glance, this arrangement of narrative nonfiction seems very traditional, but the author and designer have slipped many unusual facts into the writing and the many side bars. I found myself calling out “to everyone around me Did you know…?” questions throughout my reading.
In 64 pages we learn the history of many types of helper animals, heroic stories, and the unusual tasks many animals can be taught to help their owner. Service parrot?! Mobility dogs that load and unload the washing machine?! Miniature horses as guide dogs and in nursing homes?! The history of The Seeing Eye?!
I anticipate this being read at upper elementary and middle school levels. I found this title a good addition to our series on working animals because it provides such a breadth of information for the nonfiction browser.
One criticism I have of many of these titles is they do not mention the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the fact that service dogs are not required to wear service vests. Linda Bozzo’s title did include mention of the ADA in a side box. As for service vests and harnesses, when Lucky wore her blue vest in public in Chicago, it drew a great deal of attention and put me at a disadvantage by singling me out. There are reasons why sometimes she does not wear her vest. We currently carry cards from SitStay.com that explain what a service dog is and exactly what businesses may and may not ask. For example, businesses may not ask about the person’s disability or require identification or certification for the dog. They may ask “Is this a Service Dog?” and “What tasks does the Service Dog perform?”
Adults and children need to learn the proper way to inquire about a service dog or working dog in public to avoid any embarrassment or violation of the rights of the person with the disability. Titles like these help educate the public in a fun way.