When researching about a book that I am about to review, I am often amazed at the story behind the story, the life some of these authors and illustrators have led. Almost like a double life. One thing always stands out for me and is very true, we often write from our own experience or from strong views and or feelings that we have.
Jane Goodall is no exception. Her life has been one amazing adventure from the get-go. From her early beginnings in England and the lifelike chimpanzee toy she adored (I too had a lifelike chimpanzee which was taken off me and kept in a closet, because my parents thought it was what was giving me nightmares) , which introduced her to the love of animals, and chimpanzees especially. After obtaining a degree in Anthology and becoming a British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist, she eventually worked most of her life in Tanzania and became the world expert on chimpanzees with 45 years study on behaviours and family interactions.
This is probably one of her not so well-known books…..
Illustrator: Julie Litty
First Published: 1999 by North-South Books Inc/ Nightsky Books – 2003
Age: 3 – 8 years
Theme: Animal contact, pet-assisted therapy, hospitals, health, healing power of love, true story
Opening Sentence: It was a cold, wet morning. Dr. White dashed to the hospital. He was late. He slipped through the back door of the kitchen.
Synopsis: (From the back of the book) A sweet and heartwarming true story about a little white dog who curled up on the beds of very sick children in a children’s hospital in London and healed them with his warmth and love…. Litty’s weatercolors beautifully illustrate this tale about the healing power of love.
Why I love this: Well there is no secret that I love any story that has animals in it and the cover is just adorable. By chance discovery in the library I picked it up and glanced at the back page and immediately thought this would be a lovely read, so signed it out of the library, little realising the name of the well-known author Jane Goodall. Not till after I had read it and then scoured the internet coming across website after website detailing the works of this incredible author.
In 1977 she established the Jane Goodall Institute which supports the Gombe research, and is a global leader in protecting chimpanzee’s habitat. With nineteen offices around the world the Institute Center for Primate Studies and all her archives is housed at the University of Minnesota. Jane is also a former president of Advocates for Animals in Scotland. She also holds many honours for her work, was made a Dame Commander in 2004, a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement among many other prestigious honours and is a member of the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine and also honored by The Walt Disney Company. In 2010 a benefit concert was held in Washington DC, to celebrate Jane’s pioneering chimpanzee research and inspiring vision for our future.
Jane Goodall is also a compelling author of many books both adult and children. While they mainly deal with her discoveries, her life or the lives of the animals she so loves and admires, there are a few such as Dr. White that touch on the cute, the sensitive, and the wonder. Dr. White is based on a true story she came across. Always interested in animal behaviours and the effects on humans, Jane found some made great stories for children and a way to get the even younger generation interested in animal welfare.
Julie Litty, born in 1971 became first an illustrator for some years before turning her hand to writing stories as well. Her soft water colours and pencil illustrations are delightful and give much expression and character to her human and animals, especially in close up and much can be told about a story with very little text. Dr. White is a slightly larger than normal size book in soft paper back.
Resources: There are many, many websites of Jane’s works…. Here are just a few..
List of Jane’s touring conference if you wish to hear her….. http://www.janegoodall.org/see-jane
Jane’s interesting website….. http://www.janegoodall.org/
Here is a program for the younger generation from the Jane Goodall Institute….
This is a New Zealand based program of child growth …. http://magickingdom.co.nz/pro/texts/view/learning-roots-and-shoots
Another website of Jane’s more popular books in detail….. http://literati.net/Goodall/GoodallBooks.htm
This is the Australian website of the Jane Goodall Institute, Roots and Shoots group, with resources for teachers and students in animal and environmental issues… http://www.janegoodall.org.au/roots-and-shoots/teachers-resources
A great website on pet-assisted therapy…. http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/patients-visitors/during-your-stay/animal-assisted-therapy.html
Many of these resources would evoke discussion in classrooms (or anywhere) on animal welfare and the environment. Get children interested in planting their own vege garden or flower garden, learning names, different varieties of plants etc. There are also projects such as adopt an animal, fostering etc….. I am sure in many areas of the world children join in projects regarding environmental issues such as keeping the beaches clean, recycling waste etc…. These all help in the future of our planet and the animals who live with us.
For more books with resources please visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.