The Gift of Wonder
The Gift of Wonder is a sweet story about a donkey who shares a special message with a young girl. The tale centers on how wisdom resides in the animal world and is passed on to the world of humans. Children who have developed “nature intelligence” will understand how a young child can receive the message of caring for the animal world when she opens her eyes and her heart. The author Lisa Bear Goldman was such a child and as an adult, continues to love and care for the animals who find their way to her welcoming arms. Illustrator Patrice Schooley captures the tenderness between the donkey and the young girl and paints a world of hope and friendship. Along with Lisa’s donkey Burrito, this author-illustrator team take their message on the road to the delight of child audiences (and adults who share their passion for caring for animals). Amazon review 10-8-14
The Proud Little Burro
Who doesn’t want to be the star of the show or have the most important job to do? In The Proud Little Burro, Lisa Bear Goldman invites readers to connect with the disappointment of a young burro who fancies himself in a starring role. It’s the first time this playful burro called Buddy is called upon to join the pack animals as they carry people and provisions into the canyon. Of course, he had hoped to be chosen to wear a saddle and carry a person just like his mule friend Diego.
As they leave the corral, Buddy’s mother reminds him to do his best, but the little burro is ashamed of the lowly bags strapped to his back. As they wind deeper into the canyon, Buddy learns that Diego is hurt and the first-aid supplies Buddy carries help the wrangler tend to his friend’s injured leg. Now proud of his contribution to the success of the adventure, Buddy holds his head high.
Goldman weaves the teasing character of the Raven into The Proud Little Burro. Like a spirit guide, Raven’s comments illuminate Buddy’s inner emotional states as they change throughout the story. Parents, teachers, and counselors will find this book useful in helping young children deal with disappointments of all kinds. All of the characters see Buddy’s plight from different perspectives and provide opportunities for sharing feelings and show how our point of view can change the whole picture. The transformation of the little burro will warm hearts and bring a smile to readers’ faces.
Schooley’s colored pencil illustrations capture Buddy’s changing emotional landscape and reflect the colors of the Southwest canyon terrain. Readers will enjoy a photograph of the author, illustrator, and the real burro, Burrito, who is the inspiration for the story and the model for Schooley’s artwork. The photograph is found at the end of the book along with author and illustrator biographical information. The book includes a glossary as well.
Judi Moreillon, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman’s University
Amadito and Spider Woman
The New Mexican July 11, 2004
Amadito and Spider Woman has a wonderful way of helping youngsters deal with the hurt feelings caused by bullying. Illustrated by the dramatic images of local artist Amado Pena, Jr., this narrative depicts the rich family life of a young American Indian boy, Amadito, and his home in the Sonoran desert. When he comes home from school, upset because of being ridiculed by a classmate in front of the class, Amadito is comforted by his mother. Later his older brother and his father give him advice about showing strength and standing tall, but it is the simple lessons from his grandmother, Nana, that seem to help him the most. Amadito helps his grandmother gather plants (for dyes) on the mesa, observes the movements of a spider and the sunset-and listens to his Nana’s voice. “Fear is our own creation,” she tells him. “When one looks deep into the nature of a thing, fear usually disappears. It is also true that if there is peace within one’s heart, fear can find no resting place inside us.” Healing wisdom and quiet appreciation of the natural world are the hallmarks of this fine book written by Lisa Bear Goldman, who grew up in New Mexico and Arizona.
—Barbara Harrelson, Writer
Southwest Children’s Literature
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The Southwest Children’s Literature Web Site is a collaborative project between undergraduate and graduate students in education, library science, and English and Tucson-area students and their classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, and public librarians. The site is facilitated by literacies and libraries consultant Judi Moreillon, Ph.D.
Therapist October 29, 2004
As a Child and Family Therapist, I highly recommend Lisa Goldman’s book, Amadito and Spider Woman, for all children. This book describes the emotions of a young boy who was made fun of at school, and his attempts to process the emotions. Different family members attempt to help him in their own way, and ultimately what heals him is connection to nature. With his grandmother’s guidance, Amadito finds a soothing comfort in the ways of the natural. This book has been useful in my practice in working with children who have had hurt feelings and need to learn appropriate responses to this childhood experience. This book is set in the southwest, however, Amadito and Spider Woman was a popular item with Play Therapists from all over the United States at our Southern Arizona Association for Play Therapy workshop last fall.
—Jamie Lakin, LCSW, BCD, RPT-S
Tucson Unified School District October 15, 2003
I read through this and think it is an excellent book for use in discussions about feelings and dealing with bullies. I’d say this is best used with 2nd & 3rd grades as a target audience, but 1st and 4th-5th could also find this helpful. I enjoyed the artistic portrayal of Amadito’s environment (simple, sparse, close to SW nature). Unique style! Pena Originals This book could also serve to enable lessons on the desert or weaving, as well. Well written- Language flows nicely for a read aloud.
—Allen Kennard, Librarian