The Seeing Stick

Bibliographic Information: Yolen, J. & Terrazzini, D. J. (2009). The seeing stick. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Kids.

Brief Annotation: The emperor offers a fortune to anyone who can cure his daughter Hwei Ming of her blindness, but the result is far different from what he (or his daughter) anticipated.

Genre: Folktale

Grade Level: PreK-1st Grade

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy folktales; readers who enjoy stories about China; readers who enjoy unexpected endings

Rating/Response: 5; I loved everything about this book. I loved the old man’s quiet persistence in his journey to see Hwei Ming; I loved that he let Hwei Ming discover on her own the way to use her hands in order to “see”; and I loved that the emperor was able to accept his daughter for who she was. There is no doubt that the illustrations are a vital piece of this book. The pictures have been slightly embossed, allowing the reader to feel the differences in the carvings as Hwei Ming and the old man do. As Hwei Ming journeys from a world of blind isolation to being able to fully experience the world through the eyes on the ends of her fingers, the colors move from black and white, to muted, to fully saturated. Overall, this was an excellent book, and I highly recommend it.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: In this story, the emperor’s daughter is blind. What does it mean to be blind? What are some different ways you could “see” if you were blind?

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