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Reviewed by Louanne Piccolo for Readers' Favorite
Finding a Forever Home: The True Story of Ellie Bleu's Rescue by Janis L Hegle is a children’s picture book and tells the story of Bella, a young girl struggling to comes to terms with how society ostracizes those who are different. Through this story within a story, we learn that Bella is different from other children because she is in a wheelchair and adopted. She worries that she may become the victim of intolerance too. Her mother comforts Bella by telling her the story of how hatred and misunderstanding started with social media and changed with a pit bull called Ellie Bleu. Bella listens attentively to the heart-warming tale of Ellie Bleu’s life and comes to realize that she is safe as people eventually understood that “…skin and fur, or the shape of a face, do not make one person or animal more or less important than another.”
Finding a Forever Home is both bittersweet and emotionally intense. While addressing the weighty issues of social media, the harm it can cause and the concepts of hate and rejection, the story is optimistic and leaves readers with the sense that there is always hope – such an important element in children’s fiction! This beautifully illustrated picture book written by Janis L Hegle draws readers in and compels them to follow the story right through to the end. If you have a young child who enjoys listening to stories about animals, Finding a Forever Home will not only delight them but will also invite them to think about the concept of accepting people – or animals – based on who they are, not what they represent.