Children aren’t always aware that not everyone around them is just like them. I SEE THE WORLD©!, Jean Barlow offers a children’s book based on a poem by Karen Benedetto. It’s all about sight and it works on several different levels. For sighted kids, it explains that there are children around them who may look similar, but see the world very differently because, for example, they may need to wear a patch over one eye, or require glasses, or are completely blind. For children who are sight impaired, the book is translated into braille as well. Feeling the bumpy lines of this language is an education in its own right for sighted kids, for whom Barlow includes a quick guide at the back of the book on how to use the braille alphabet.
She describes this volume as a “twin-vision” children’s book and intends that it may serve as a way of teaching tolerance and building confidence and acceptance.
The voice of this rhyming story is told by a variety of children: bespectacled Glen, blind Brenda, and Paul, who wears a patch. The rhyme scheme works well and the story is easy to follow, accompanied by bright, colorful pictures. Brenda’s voice, for example, says of her blindness, “It’s hard for some to understand (how) I see the world with my two hands. It’s like a movie in my mind. I see it even though I’m blind.” Paul sees the world through just one eye, explaining that the practice “will make my weak eye strong.” He continues, “I wear it proudly all day long, my pirate patch for all to see, and underneath, it’s really me!”
Summary: For all children ages pre-K to 9 years, teaching them how others may see differently from themselves, increasing sensitivity to disabilities. A glimpse into the world of a child’s own visual limitations or those of others, building confidence and acceptance. While the primary audience is sighted children, it is also appealing to those who are visually impaired or blind. This “twin vision” book has large-type English text that is transcribed into braille at the bottom of each story page, fleshing out the whole range of how people see. An anti-bullying and teaching tolerance tool, stories are told through the eyes of “Glen” who wears glasses, “Paul” who wears a patch, and “Brenda” who is blind. Enlivened with colorful, upbeat illustrations to complement its text, a CD of the story set to music is also included. I SEE THE WORLD© is offered as a bridge to increasing a young child’s compassion for and understand of others as well as empowerment of oneself. A unique experience for the individual child and his family at home, or in a classroom or library setting.
Barlow includes a CD containing the words of the story set to music by Benedetto, and includes the sheet music for the song on the back inside cover of the book.
This book is an important teaching tool for the sighted about how sight impaired-children see the world, but it’s also a delightful piece of literature in its own right for blind or sight-impaired children. As such, it’s a great addition to the children’s section of a library, a classroom, or the personal bookshelves of children aged three to nine. Visit www.ISeeTheWorld-ChildrensBook.com . ~ Review by Lauren Kramer