Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe

By Karen B. Winnick

Gemina stood out from the other giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She was the famous crooked-neck giraffe. Everyone who saw her wondered if she was all right? Did her neck hurt? As months passed, Gemina's neck leaned more and more to the side but it never seemed to bother her. Gemina didn't let her difference stop her from doing anything the other giraffes did. Told with affection and illustrated with oil paintings, this is Gemina's story, a celebration of the life of a very special giraffe. ALL proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to supporting the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo. (Grades K-3)

Check out the Gemina activity kit!

978-0984167807/HC, Published by the Santa Barbara Zoo, December 2013

My Thoughts:
As a special education teacher who has worked with children with many different types of disabilities, I have spent the last 4 years trying to model and instill compassion and understanding in my daughter for all people. I have a firm belief in abilities over disabilities. This is a difficult concept for children when they see something "different." This beautiful book has brought that all to life in this true story about a giraffe who looks a little different but is as strong and beautiful as any other giraffe. In fact, she's really extra special.

I loved reading this book with my daughter. It opens the door for so many different conversations. And be able to share with her the fact that Gemina was a real giraffe with a real crooked-neck. Every child will feel different at some point in their lives, and this book teaches that it's ok to look or feel different. You can still feel comfortable and confident because you are you... and you are so special.

This story has so many life lessons, from acceptance to perseverance to love. The author clearly has a love for this special and unique animal who has left an impression on so many. I am so glad that Gemina's story lives on in this beautiful children's book that can be shared for generations to come. I wish I could have met Gemina, but I feel like I know her through this book.

June is national zoo and aquarium month. This it the perfect time to learn about Gemina and so many other very special animals who touch so many lives at zoos and aquariums around the world. I highly recommend you share Gemina's story with a child in your life. And be sure to visit Karen B. Winnick's website HERE.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe along with an adorable plush giraffe! Open to US addresses only.

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