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Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound Hardcover – October 15, 2007
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From the School Library Journal - "K-Gr 3 "Look at me!" Hanni, a Seeing Eye dog, explains who she is and her responsibilities as she introduces readers to her partner, Beth, who is blind. Vigilance is stressed throughout the book, and when Hanni talks about "keeping us safe," readers know that she is speaking as part of a team. Although there is plenty of information about what a Seeing Eye dog does and does not do when at work, this is predominantly a story about relationships: Hanni's relationship with Beth, with other dogs, and with the world at large as she navigates her partner through it. The pictures are painted in oil and have a soft focus. There are two sets of notes at the end one from the point of view of Hanni, which describes her training as a puppy, and one from Beth, which explains how she became blind and her decision to get a Seeing Eye dog. These are accompanied by black-and-white line drawings that are much more playful in tone than the rest of the book. A list of online resources is appended. The book is also available in braille. An upbeat and inspiring selection..." Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA for School Library Journal --School Library Journal
From the Author
My children's book publisher, Blue Marlin Publications, teamed up with Seedlings Braille Books for Children, a non-profit organization in Michigan that creates Braille books for kids who can't see. Blue Marlin didn't charge Seedlings a penny for the rights to publish the book in Braille. So my book will be available in both formats!
Not only that, but Blue Marlin Publications is donating a portion of the sales of Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound to Seedlings so they can continue creating books in Braille for kids who need them. By producing Braille books for children, Seedlings helps promote "literacy for the blind," providing visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop a love of reading.
With Safe & Sound available in Braille, I'll be able to read it aloud at my presentations, too.
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Hanni and Beth Safe & Sound is a splendid story of friendship, loyalty, and courage.
Hanni, a Seeing Eye dog, recounts her day as a companion to Beth. Author Beth Finke's blindness occurred in adulthood as a result of diabetes.
Faithful animal stories are not unique. What makes Hanni's story special is the determination and confidence that both characters exhibit as a result of this special relationship. "Blind trust," a cliché that totally describes this relationship, is apparent on each page. Whether Hanni and Beth are dodging garbage cans or traffic, Beth knows that Hanni will do her best to keep them safe.
Anthony Letourneau's illustrations are so life-like that as soon as my students saw the cover of the book they knew immediately it was a book about Beth and Hanni. Beth visited our school last year for an assembly and told her story. The students couldn't wait for her book to come out and were thrilled to see the final copy.
The students were amazed that Beth could lead such a normal life despite her blindness. I think tales where adults are vulnerable (not bumbling fools) help children relate to their own vulnerability in the world. Certainly, if Beth can make it with Hanni's help and her own tenacity, then they can make it too.
Hurray Hanni! Bravo Beth! Thank you for showing us anything is possible.
At one point in her visit she said that she was "safe" and I said, "AND?" and she said "sound, just like Hanni and Beth." She also understood the concept of blindness by asking whether Beth could see the other people in the illustrations. Great book for helping children understand the differences among us.
This book is a must for any houshold with children so that they may grow in knowledge of working dogs and the challenges of people who depend on them to function more independently. The richly colored illustrations by Anthony Alex Letourneau create an inviting atmosphere to share the story with young children; and as the children grow, they will return to enjoy it again and again.