The boy in the big blue glasses by Susanne Gervay
Illus. by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. EK Books, 2019. ISBN:
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Sight, Glasses, Difference. EK Books has a tagline 'Books with heart' on issues that matter, and thankfully Susanne Gervay is one of their authors. Gervay is able to write about issues that matter with an understated ease allowing students to read the story as any other story not one that sets out to make a point. So it is with The Boy in the big blue glasses. Encouraging children to wear their glasses when a problem with their sight has been diagnosed can be awkward, and for Sammy, he is loathe to make himself different from the rest of his class.
Adults do the 'right thing' in trying to be supportive, but they miss the point altogether. His parents and Gran all talk of the handsome boy in his glasses, making him a little tense. His aunt and teacher follow the same line, asking about the handsome boy, the superhero. But Sammy does not want to be a superhero, he does not want to be different. His best friend, George is the only one who points out his new glasses, and Sammy feels that no-one else can see past the glasses to see him, the same boy, not different at all. He leaves his glasses behind when the goes to the doctor, he loses them in the house, Mum finding them under his bed, he takes them off at school when the others tease him when his friend George is away. But in doing this everything becomes blurry, and he makes faces at the funny things he sees and he begins to laugh. The rest of the class laugh with him, his teacher as well, telling him how funny he is. When George returns they play the same game, the cardboard box being the pirate ship, only this time the whole class joins in, seeing him not as a boy with glasses, but as himself.
A satisfying story about difference, readers will offer all sorts of tales about difference and the way people are seen by others. The book lends itself to discussion within the classroom, without being overly didactic.