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Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter's Eyes Hardcover – October 17, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this compelling but unbalanced work, the father of a young girl with dwarfism explores how her condition shapes her life as well as his. Kennedy, a journalist by trade, leaves few aspects of being a little person unexplored-from circus history and the fate of a Jewish dwarf in Nazi Germany to the current-day exploitation of little people in porn films and the annual convention of the Little People of America. Kennedy doesn't shy away from difficult issues, including the proper terminology for a little person, whether dwarves qualify as disabled, and the ethical question of terminating a fetus carrying the gene for dwarfism. But though Kennedy interviews a staggering number of people, we rarely hear his daughter's voice, making it difficult for readers to "see the world through Becky's eyes," as the subtitle suggests they will. In many ways, this account is more about Becky's effect on Kennedy's life than it is about her own. "The truth is that dwarfism has been a lot better for me than it's been for Becky," he writes. Kennedy's honesty about his difficulty raising Becky is refreshing, but he can occasionally appear emotionally removed. While his straightforward prose style avoids self-pity, it also, unfortunately, often fails to convey warmth. Still, Kennedy offers provocative commentary on the danger of relying on charitable rather than government-funded care for disabled children, and a deep critique of a "culture in which the disabled and their families are seen as being somehow responsible for their own misfortunes." 16-page photo insert.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“So much for us to consider as we go through this extraordinary book-- how fate and chance determine the circumstances of our lives-- all told in wonderfully affecting and summoning language by a thoughtful and introspectively energetic father and writer who shares with us a family's life and in so doing helps us to become his companions in human understanding.” ―Robert Coles, best-selling author of The Moral Intelligence of Children and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Children of Crisis

“Dan Kennedy writes in a friendly, trustworthy voice about difficult topics: difference, prejudice, and disability. Little People has the form of memoir and the effect of social commentary. Its power is cumulative. Using his own parental anxiety and curiosity as a bridge, Kennedy makes unfamiliar experience accessible.” ―Peter D. Kramer, best-selling author of Listening to Prozac and Spectacular Happiness


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (October 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579546684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579546687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In 1992 Dan and Barbara Kennedy felt they owned the world with the birth of their first daughter. However, that realm is rocked when the doctor informs the couple that their daughter Becky suffers from achondroplasia, the most commonly known form of dwarfism. The good news is that the child will have a normal life span and intelligence. Once the shock passes, the couple showered their beloved firstborn with love and encouragement.
Besides the reaction and insight into how Becky sees the world, the author researched dwarfism past and present and explains quite succinctly the distinction between various types of dwarfism. In an ironic twist from what one would expect Mr. Kennedy also makes a poignant somewhat emotional argument against genetic cleansing eliminating many of these "differences" outside the acceptable mainstream of society. He feels diversity should be honored and included for the better good of all. Not everyone will agree with the author out of concern for the individual, but Mr. Jenkins fears homogeny may go too far for society as a whole.
Parts warning, parts loving and nurturing, and parts historical, LITTLE PEOPLE: LEARNING TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH MY DAUGHTER'S EYES is a powerful angst-laden social treatise inside a tender family journal.
Harriet Klausner
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By F. Short on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For once we have a book which is extremely positive and respectful to people of Short Stature. It has to appeal to both small statured people and ESPECIALLY to parents of small statured children. Reading Dan's account of his own daughter's trauma (and his own!) in her early years, makes one appreciate life!
He then develops a book, second to none, about all manner of issues related to dwarfism, both now and in history.
It HAS to be a book for everyone to read! Gripping from beginning to end, and at the end, the reader can't help but be extremely well informed about Small Statured People.
Dan has a winner on his hands, which HAS to be on everyone's "Must Have" list for Christmas!
Well done Dan, and good luck to all who read this book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hariette on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
One month ago I bought this book here on Amazon and it was my intention to keep it on the bookshelf gathering dust until semester break when it would be my reading material for the flight home. I briefly cracked it open & thought I could peek at the opening paragraph just to get a sense of the book then put it down. WRONG! It sucked me in and for the next 2 days I ignored all my classwork in order to finish it. Without an ounce of hyperbole this is the best book about dwarfs & dwarfism, our community and our history I have read. It is well written, interesting, informative, and respectful but without ever inching towards the "Super-Crip" mentality so many books about people of difference tend to fall into.

This is a wonderful book and I encourage everyone to read it. When finished, I encourage people to pass it onto others who know nothing about dwarfism in order to teach people of our history. To those in school, pass it onto your office of students with disabilities and the professors who teach classes in multicultural issues. I hope that someday Becky will realize this is a love letter her father has written to and about her.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By angela on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Dans book is a must read for anyone with an interest in Dwarfism, be it a family member, friend or collegue or just a general interest. There is something for everyone, the heartfelt journey of Dan`s daughter, Becky as she spends her early years hooked to machines due to her achondroplasia and her growth into a young woman continues throughout, and inbetween the reader is introduced to other topics relating to dwarfism including the history of dwarfism, the Little People of America, Medical Doctors, Religious questioning to name a few.
I found it hard to put the book down once I had started to read it. As an average height parent with a child with achondroplasia myself I found the book a very valuable read and I learnt a lot, the book also leads the way for further research if one so wishes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vita S. Gagne on December 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A well-written and interesting look at the human side of dwarfism, including dwarfism's repercussions to the individual and family members. Author Dan Kennedy has made a concerted effort to include as many facets of dwarfism as possible, things that others can never know without reading a book like this. This book is not just for little people themselves and families involved with dwarfism, but doctors and other healthcare professionals, teachers, therapists, and anyone interested in learning more about the strength of the human spirit. A very engaging and worthwhile book!
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