CHARLOTTE'S LITTER reached out to A Geek Daddy to share their story and provide us the two books they've recently published Good Dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily and the Litter and The Dogs of Newton.
Society tells our kids that scary creatures such as the bogeyman lurking under their bed or beasts hiding in the closet are fairy tales and that monsters don't actually exist in our world. Unfortunately, if you tune into the evening television news broadcast on any given day in any given city it is unmistakable to see that we live in a violent world that truly does have monsters in it. December 14, 2012 was an average day for the Bacon family as they sent their bubbly and inquisitive 6 year old daughter Charlotte to her Kindergarten class. A few hours later the family's reality was forever irreversibly altered by the unimaginable horrific news of an attack by a monster. Charlotte along with 19 other six and seven year old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut had been murdered by a deranged man who had invaded the building.
Following the tragedy, therapy dogs were brought into the school helping comfort Sandy Hook's grieving children, one of those being Charlotte's older brother, Guy. Students read to them, petted them and spoke to these dogs providing a calming presence for both children and teachers. The wonderful influence of these animals inspired Charlotte's mom, JoAnn, and dad, Joel, because their little girl had a passionate love for animals, especially her dog Lily, to do something to create some positivity from this tragedy and keep their daughter's spirit alive through helping others. The Bacon's created CHARLOTTE'S LITTER to advocate for and support appropriate therapy dog programs in educational settings.
"We grieve every day for our beautiful, spirited Charlotte, and we'll grieve every day hereafter," JoAnn Bacon communicated to A Geek Daddy. "Our advocacy work and our books are an outlet for our grief. It brings us closer to our little girl and allows us to honor her. We also hope that, through it, we can offer resources, help and hope to other families."
CHARLOTTE'S LITTER promotes the use of therapy dogs to aid in both
children's literacy, as well as emotional support. The group provides
programs and resources to support parents, educators and dog handlers in
maximizing the educational and healing potential of therapy dogs. In addition to the services provided by CHARLOTTE'S LITTER, two books have been published to provide information about the wonders of therapy dogs: Good Dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily and the Litter and The Dogs of Newton.
Good Dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily and the Litter was written with the help of award-winning author Renata Bowers is a children's book based upon Charlotte Bacon's actual life and adventures with true-to-life illustrations by Michael Chesworth. The book doesn't reflect upon Charlotte's tragic death but rather honors her life through providing a touching message to its readers. It focuses on a little girl's curiosity and lively imagination which leads her to have some fun adventures with her faithful companion, a dog named Lily, and a faithful litter of stuffed animals but also gets them into a bit of trouble sometimes too.
One day while Charlotte was practicing Tae Kwon Do and jumping around on the her bed with Lily, the dog accidentally fell to the ground and wouldn't get up off the floor. The family rushes Lily to the veterinarian to discover the dog has broken her leg. She'd be alright but needed to be immobilized for awhile to heal up.
While the dog is healing and can't play, Charlotte reads to Lily every day. Through this experience Charlotte discovers a love for reading to and alongside her most beloved companions. Even after Lily healed up, Charlotte continued to always make time to read almost every day to the dog and the litter of stuffed animals that always accompanied the two of them on their adventures.
With its great illustrations and entertaining story about friendship and kindness that also provides a nice educational message about the value of reading, I've enjoyed sharing this book with my own children. As early readers themselves, my kids have appreciated that in addition to dad reading it to them as a bed time story the book is also written at a level that they can read through on their own. My seven year old twins also appreciate the book revolves around a girl who is about the same age as themselves and shares their vivid imaginations and love of animals. To show children that the book is about a real life girl and her pet, the inside cover includes a hand print and paw print from Charlotte and Lily so that they can continue to leave a mark on the world through the publication of this book. I found that to be a very emotional tribute to a girl who dreamed of growing up and getting a job like being a veterinarian where she could help others. While Charlotte sadly won't have the opportunity to grow up beyond the little girl portrayed in this story hopefully this book will fulfill her dream of her life contributing to help others.
CHARLOTTE'S LITTER has also published a book written by Charlotte's brother Guy titled The Dogs of Newton. In the book, Guy Bacon introduces its readers to the therapy dogs that visited and helped him along with the students, teachers, families, and community of Newton cope with the lives lost at Sandy Hook. The Dogs of Newton provides an overview of the unique personalities and attributes of each of these therapy dogs and discusses the impact each of these animals had on the lives of the people they interacted with.
For more information on these books, please visit www.gooddogsgreatlisteners.com.