Awards: 2015 IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) – Oustanding book for 2015 for young people with disabilites.
Initially, it is not explicit whose voice is telling the story, but there are hints along the way in pictures and text that can be easily spotted on a second reading. Children may infer from the hints that it is the voice of Lola’s guide dog, Star, and all is revealed at the end when the cause of Lola’s blindness is made explicit. From the dog’s point of view, the reader experiences the fears and loneliness that is part of living with blindness, especially if it occurs by accident to someone who was born sighted. There are new coping strategies to learn and a guide dog can help toward independence. Through Star’s voice, the readers moves with Lola as she leaves the comfort of her home, navigates the dangers on the street, enjoys listening to the many voices of the city park, makes purchases at the shops, and travels to snowy slopes and sunny seashores. Originally written in Italian, it was translated by the author retaining text rich in literary devices and descriptive language. Domeniconi’s softly rendered, full-page digital illustrations in black and muted shades of greys and blues reinforce the darkness of blindness, but are counter-balanced with illustrations that are bright and sunny to accentuate Lola’s growing mood of confidence as she becomes more independent.
This is a heartwarming story, excellent for teaching Voice, Point of View, and for helping young children understand the challenges of blindness, and appreciating sight as one of their senses. Useful as an introduction to the Gr. 1 Science unit – Senses.