Title: Keep Your Ear on the Ball
Author: Genevieve Petrillo
Illustrator: Lea Lyon
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers, 2009
Audience: Ages 8 and up
Summary: Keep Your Ear on the Ball is a story about a boy with blindness named Davey. It is Davey’s first day at a new school. Throughout the day, his classmates continually want to do things for him due to his blindness. Davey always replies, “Thanks, but no thanks”. His classmates find a unique way to help him enjoy a game of kickball by allowing him to do things for himself.
Literary elements at work in the story: The story takes place in a school setting with children of all races and genders. In this picture book, the illustrations are beautiful watercolor portraits that help bring the story to life. This story helps point out how one might embrace a person with a disability, from the disabled person’s point of view and the people encountering the person. It is a beautiful story about dependence and interdependence.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/abilities/disabilities/economic: This story embraces children of all races, genders, and cultures. The story focuses on children with blindness and how other children, without disabilities, interact with them.
Theological Conversation Partners:
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2, 9-10: As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,
Life Together- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“God Himself has undertaken to teach brotherly love; all that men can add to it is to remember this divine instruction and the admonition to excel in it more and more. When God was merciful, when He revealed Jesus Christ to us as our Brother, when He won our hearts by His love, this was the beginning of our instruction in divine love. When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brethren. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brethren. What God did to us, we then owe others.” (Pg.24-25)
“It is not the experience of Christian brotherhood, but solid and certain faith in brotherhood that holds us together. That God has acted and wants to act upon us all, this we see in faith as God’s greatest gift, this makes us glad and happy, but it also makes us ready to forego all such experiences when God at times does not grant them. We are bound together by faith, not by experience. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”- this is the Scripture’s praise of life together under the Word.
Scripture and Life Together, point out the importance of dwelling together, as the body of Christ, in love by faith. As the body of Christ, we are called by faith in Jesus Christ to a community of love for one another. This love is not determined by ability, disability, sexual orientation, gender or race. As Christ loves us, so are we to love and care for each other.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever gone to a new school? How did you feel the first day?
- What did you do to make the transition more comfortable for you?
- What did Davey do to become oriented to his surroundings?
- How was Davey different from other children in his class?
- How was Davey the same as the other children?
- Have you encountered anyone that has a disability? How did you feel when you met them?
- Did you have any questions? Where you nervous or unsure how to treat them? How did you express your feelings?
- How does God direct us, through scripture, to encounter people?
- How will you follow God’s directions in your life?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Phanta Lansden.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Books written for Grades 1 -3 (Ages 6-8), Books written for Grades 5-8 (Ages 10 -13), Faith Questions For...., Older Elementary, Realistic Fiction | Tagged: Christian life, Community, disabilities, love | Leave a Comment »