Keep Your Ear on the Ball – Perfect Picture Book

Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Genevieve Petrillo, Author

Lea Lyon, Illustrator

Tilbury House Publishers, Fiction, 2007

Suitable for:  Grades 3 to 6

Theme: Visual Impairment, Disability, Self-reliance, Sports

Opening/Synopsis:  “Davey looked like every other new kid that ever came into our class.  Ms. Madison walked him in and said, ‘Boys and girls, this is Davey.’  He was medium height.  He had medium brown hair and medium brown eyes.  A regular kid.”   When Davey asks the teacher if he can look around, he walks around the room touching the book-case, blackboard and his desk.   Davey is blind.  The students realize that Davey is very resourceful and can do just about everything the others do.  All of the kids try to be helpful and offer to do things for Davey.  His response is always “Thanks, but no thanks.”  When they play kickball, things escalate a bit and no one wants him on their team.

Why I like this book:  Based on a true story, Genevieve Petrillo has created a heartfelt story about how students respond to a blind student.   Lea Lyon’s illustrations are colorful, expressive and full of action.  Once again she uses students from a visually impaired classroom to act out scenes for her sketches.  Davey is determined to be self-reliant.  He doesn’t want anyone doing anything for him.  He wants the kids to see what he can do.  When he has difficulty playing kickball and still refuses help, the kids are frustrated.  But together they begin to observe Davey, recognize what he can do, and figure out how to help him in an unusual and respectful way.

Resources:  Click on Reach and Teach  for special classroom activities designed especially to go with Keep Your Ear on the Ball.   There is more information about the real Davey.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

Just a reminder for May 7:   I will be interviewing NYT bestselling author Kristin Hannah about her new book Home Front.  There will be a book giveaway.  Her interview will launch my focus on Military Families in May. 

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

46 thoughts on “Keep Your Ear on the Ball – Perfect Picture Book

  1. This is an interesting book Pat. Amazing how resilient we can be if we want to. I love that in this story it is the kids who work out how to include Davey in their game. Hubby would love this as anything with a bat and ball he will read….lol. Looking forward to your interview!

    • Diane, I am so pleased you liked my choice. Yeah, it’s also a PB for older kids! Lot’s of ways for the kids in the classroom to problem solve and grow. Thanks, I hope you enjoy the interview. It’s good!

  2. “Oh – Cupcake’s Mom!” was my first thought when I saw your PPBF choice! I have been meaning to read this book, as I have enjoyed Cupcake’s frequent blog posts on the 12 X 12 Facebook page. Thank you for telling us more about the book. I will definitely move it higher onto my To Be Read list!

    • Cathy, you’ll like her book. I was stumped by your comment, then saw a second. I joined the author’s blog some time ago, and never made the connection with CupCake. Duh! But, her book is a winner! Am glad I chose it today!

    • Glad you enjoyed my selection Kirsten. I was born with an eye problem — the teachers always pampered me after I had surgeries. I hated it. I was restricted from doing things. What they didn’t realize that when you are born with something, you don’t know what you’re missing. To me the way I saw was normal. I just wanted to be a kid and play. The problem, never got in my way. So, it was easy for me to identify with Davey!

  3. Wonderful choice, Pat! You always find the most compassionate stories, that’s lovely.

    • Catherine, I’m glad you enjoyed my selection. I’ve been wanting to find a really good book for kids about a child who is visually impaired — and this one is perfect!

  4. Respect is so huge, and sometimes in our eagerness to “help” we forget about it. This book sounds like it would be a great conversation starter with kids. Thank you!

    • Amy, thank you for your thoughtful comments. You are spot on! It is a great conversation starter for kids. But, more important, the kids in the story had to figure things out on their own.

  5. Like Cathy, my first thought was “Oh cool! Cupcake’s Mom!” I love it when a writer I “know” is highlighted on PPBF. This book sounds excellent times 100. I so appreciate that it was the kids who figured out how to help Davey — and also that Davey had to learn to be able to accept help when necessary.

    The activities on the Reach and Teach page are excellent, and I was particularly interested to see that Genevieve had highlighted the same article by Carol Castellano that I’ve highlighted in my PPBF about blindness today. (We’re on the same wavelength today, Pat!)

    • Beth, I didn’t make the connection I’m embarassed to say. Yes, we are on the same wavelength today — couldn’t believe when I just read your book a little while ago. I find that Reach and Teach books are great for letting children figure things out or resolve conflict. And, their activities are always great for the classroom. Very high quality books.

  6. This book sounds like such a good one, Pat, and I’m thrilled that someone has shared Genevieve’s book. I love adding books to the list that encourage self-reliance and understanding. Thanks so much!

    • Susanna, I thought this a great PPB for our list. Genevieve really told this story so that the kids could expand their understanding of differences, do some problem-solving and yet respect Davey.

  7. Yay for Genevieve and this wonderful, valuable story. I continue to be impressed by Reach and Teach and their books and resources. This is such an uplifting story, as everyone gains in self esteem!

    • Joanna, I thought it was very uplifting. I’d say all the kids gained some self esteem in this story. And, the illustrations by Lea Lyon are so expressive. Love her style too.

    • Genevieve, when I reviewed your book, I didn’t make the connection with Cupcake. Thank you for stopping by. Your book was outstanding and carried such a beautiful message. Love Tilbury, and Reach and Teach. This book is a winner and perfect addition for my blog. – Pat

  8. Thanks for highlighing another great book and cupcake’s mom (Genevieve’s comment above made me laugh).

  9. It was especially fabulous to have Genevieve visit so that she could personally read the book to my class. The story has impact, the illustrations are eye candy, and the students were riveted. Oh. And everything is all about Cupcake. She is too previous. Let’s get another book published, Gen.

    • Thank you for stopping and sharing Genevieve’s visit with your classroom. I bet the kids loved it. Yes, I was thinking the same thing — when’s the next book coming out Genevieve?

  10. This book looks really interesting. I would like to hear how Davey succeeds in the game of kickball. I would also like to hear how the students help Davey. I think Davey helped his classmates, too, right? (Don’t tell me – I want to have to read the book! 😉 )

  11. This is a great review, and a great introduction to another issue that is not illuminated enough in literature.

  12. One of the joys of having a shop like ours is having someone come in, mention a particular need, and be able to hand the person the “perfect picture book.” We’ve had folks come in looking for something to help someone deal with blindness, autism, ADHD, loss of a mom or dad or grandparent, bullying, perfectionism, peer pressure, gender nonconformity… “Have you got something for a child with Down Syndrome who has two mommies?” Turns out, we do! But, we can only do it with recommendations from people who truly love books and take the time to find the best treasures. Thank you for sharing your favorites.

    And… as you start the month of May focusing on military families know that this veteran son of a veteran joins you in your support of all those who serve (which includes their families), grieves the loss of so many amazing people and the pain suffered by those left behind, and hopes that no matter what our positions on the wars in which our country has been engaged, we demand and will work for full support for our veterans and those who love them. They are not alone.

    • Craig, always enjoy your interesting stories. Your shop is unique and it must be gratifying to have that perfect book. I still have others to share. And, I hope I provide interesting reading that will support our Military Families in May. Am looking forward to the month. Am happy both Genevieve and Lea were pleased with the review.

  13. My sister’s fiance is visually impaired. He has an illness which led to his losing his sight. My sister now works for the “Center for the Blind” in our town and I get to work with the clients often. You most certainly have a new respect and tolerance of anyone unlike you once you walk in their shoes. I am keen to the handicaps of others but I allow them to rise above them!

    • It’s interesting the paths our lives take — like your sisters. I have a great respect for those with handicaps. I had a brain injury that has left me with some issues. But, it also gave me some gifts and allowed me to reinvent myself as a writer. Add me to your list of notifications when your next books comes out. What part of the country do you live in — I ask for a reason.

      • I live in the US! Georgia! I will keep you posted. My next book is a multicultural and is based on a student who inspired me — he NEVER tied his shoe laces, LOL!

      • I thought your might live in the South. I have a friend who is a writer/editor for the Southern Writer’s Magazine, and she’s always is asking me for recommendations. Spiritually, you would connect. You can see her on my FB page, Vicki Moss.

      • Also, I am so glad that in spite of your injury, you press past it and share your writing with the world. What gifts we would hold back on if we allowed adversity to stand in our way!

      • Was just looking at Adventures in Rainbow Valley on your blog again. I want to read it, and the new one you searching for a publisher. I’m also booked with projects and a conference, but I really want to read your latest book. Perhaps we can schedule an interview some time — when we both aren’t so busy.
        You have your hands full!

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