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Follow My Leader

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,426 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
After Jimmy is blinded in an accident with a firecracker, he has to relearn all the things he used to know. With the help of a determined therapist, he learns to read Braille and to use a cane. Then he's given the chance to have a guide dog. Learning to work with Leader is not easy, but Jimmy tries harder than he ever has before.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Puffin Books (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Crystal
May 23, 2008 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents and kids everywhere
Shelves: kids-classics
I LOVED this book when I was a kid. Like many others, I'm sure, I imagined and even pretended what it was like to be blind. I learned more about Braille and guide dogs. It was a real opener for a young child about the world of the vision-impaired, and just an involving and inspiring story of what it takes to succeed despite terrible things in your (or in this case, Jimmy's) life. I think kids should read more books that make them think what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. I will definit ...more
Nyx Cole
Jan 14, 2011 Nyx Cole rated it it was amazing
I remember checking this book out at the library time and time again, until the day it went missing and I couldn't check it out again, then began my search for it for my own collection. Went to my local book shop and placed my order, but at that point in time it wasn't in publication and no word for when it would be. A year or so later the book shop managed to track down a copy it was in close to mint condition as I could hope for.

I don't know how many times I've read the book, but I do know th
...more
Jan
Nov 15, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books I read as a kid that really stuck with me. I thought it would be fun to re-read it and see if it was just a "kid thing" or if it could stand the test of time...and it REALLY did! What a wonderful heartwarming story of how a young boy who faces tragedy works hard to re-learn how to live life to its fullest. You can't help falling in love with Jimmy and his faithful dog, Leader. I wanted to find out a little more about the author of this inspiring book and in my search ...more
Meghan
Nov 14, 2008 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: realisticfiction
I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast and kind of easy read, but it was sweet. It is about a boy who goes blind and the struggles he has. He gets a guide-dog. I hav to say that I love dogs and I have studied them I lot. I've even considered training guide-dogs. This book helped me understand the blind more. I have a very good friend who was born blind. He is really cool, but when I first met him I was really nervous I was going to affend him. I can relate to Jimmy's friends. Guide-dogs are a ...more
Crosby
Jul 20, 2011 Crosby rated it it was ok
A book from my childhood. It is one I still remember reading many years ago. It had the most impact on me as a child and although I couldn't remember most of the specifics, I DO remember it helped develop in me a sense of compassion, empathy and understanding of others which has served me well over the years. When I saw that it had been re-printed once again, I decided that I wanted to see what about the book had such an impact at that age so I re-read it. In retrospect, it is a book that is bes ...more
Jessica
Mar 31, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over and over in elementary school! What kid who read it didn't? Not only did it terrify you into never going near firecrackers, but it made you realize how hard it would be to get around if you couldn't see. I spent hours stumbling around my house, trying to figure out how to dress myself, cut up my own food, comb my hair, without opening my eyes. Not only does this book go into great detail about the everyday things that Jimmy must relearn, but then it presents the awesome cha ...more
Jennifer
Jan 13, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Jimmy learns Braille and how to work with a seeing eye dog. I was transfixed.
John Yelverton
Mar 04, 2012 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet and adorable story that's great for all ages.
Yuval Zehavi
Nov 24, 2014 Yuval Zehavi rated it really liked it
"Let me alone," Jimmy protested. "You can see. You don't know what it's like. There's just nothing around me. I can't walk on nothing. Everything's empty. Take me back." Jimmy carter is an 11 year old boy who wanted to be a professional baseball player, but became blind after a kid who was his friend, Mike threw a firecracker at him during scouts. "Jimmy threw his arms up and tried to duck, but it was too late. The world exploded in a white flash. Deafening thunder smashed against his ears. Then ...more
Julie Decker
Feb 12, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it
Jimmy loses his sight in a fireworks accident and has to learn to go on with his life. This story takes us through his mourning and anger, his climb toward independence, his ability to forgive, and his bond with Leader, his guide dog.

The book scared me as a kid because the fireworks incident was a bit gritty and visceral, but I think I prefer that to having the whole experience toned down for the reader's comfort. Jimmy was initially quite angry with his peer who'd accidentally thrown the firewo
...more
Jazzy Lemon
Oct 06, 2014 Jazzy Lemon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a remarkable book that I read and re-read as a child but cannot forget. Jimmy Carter is blinded by a firecracker and is sent to a school for the blind where he has to learn to cope and is given no pity, the corners of the world will not be padded for him. He is given an extra-special gift in the form of Leader, his seeing eye dog. This book inspired me to want to be a seeing eye dog trainer, and whilst that never happened, I did learn a lot about how blind people learn to get along in t ...more
Genevieve
Jun 21, 2007 Genevieve rated it it was amazing
This book is about a boy who is blinded by a firecracker and then gets a seeing eye dog. As a kid, this book both fascinated and frightened me, because I loved to learn how blind people crossed the street, or picked out matching outfits. But I was also very afraid of becoming blind, especially after a short-lived attempt to teach myself braille. I will always love this book, though, because it was a gift from my mom, who read it herself as a girl.
Anne
Dec 15, 2008 Anne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes animals or is curious about seeing-eye dogs or being blind.
This book is highly recommended! Thoughtfully and realistically written, it helps the reader understand the struggles and accomplishments of someone who is learning how to live with a handicap, personalizing the experience for us. The development of the relationship between the seeing-eye dog and his person is especially interesting and touching.
Nadine
Jan 27, 2016 Nadine rated it it was amazing
While some of the material is undoubtedly dated now, when I read this as a kid in the 80s, it gave me a childlike sense of superiority to understand what a newly blind person had to go through to learn their environment again. I tried harder not to stare if I saw someone with a cane or a guide dog (probably failing miserably, because I was a curious eight-year-old) because I knew they were blind and didn't have to point and loudly ask questions. I tried navigating my bedroom with my eyes closed, ...more
Lisa
Nov 16, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Like a lot of people here, I read this as a child and loved it. 40 years later I pulled out same bedraggled copy and read it to my own 9-year-old kid. It's dated (had to explain a few things) but that didn't get in his way. He walked around with his eyes closed in the bumper/feeler position for about a week. His third grade teacher read the book to the class. What's great is that it's not just about what it's like to adapt to a disability, or Braille, or guide dogs--although all that is great. T ...more
Sheldon Rice
Dec 10, 2014 Sheldon Rice rated it it was amazing
This is a really great & excellent book can I say that with out being scolded by an English major?! I read Mr. Garfields book back when I was in Junior High school (middle school today)probably around 1976 or later on. It has a place of honor with this former Air Police Former Staff Sergeant and former Special Operations the 919th SOG not many share it some are "Pagoo" (the story of a hermit crab),The Otherwise Girl, Joseph B. Smith Portrait of a Cold Warrior my short but important list and ...more
Jim
Apr 06, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
YES YES YES
Harini Srinivasan
An excellent book that every child should read! It tells the story of 11-year old Jimmy Carter who goes blind when a friend, Mike, throws a spluttering firecracker in a panic in his direction. Jimmy learns to cope with and rise above his disability with the help of his loving family and friends, acquires a guide dog, and comes to a realization that he can only be happy if he forgives Mike. A brave and memorable character, Jimmy is an example that all children, blind or otherwise, could emulate. ...more
Chelsey
All right, we all know how anti-issues book I am. But here's the thing: I have a theory that issue books are necessary at times. They're the groundbreakers. The topics become acceptable so other authors can take them and run. And sometimes it's good to have a book that presents the facts of an issue in a way kids can understand.

Follow My Leader was one of those books I just discovered on the shelves as a kid. I wasn't looking for it in particular. I read it dozens of times. Yes, the character (J
...more
Julesmarie
Jul 05, 2013 Julesmarie rated it really liked it
This totally reminded me of one of those black and white short films that were mocked sometimes on MST3K before the real movie. Everyone is perfect, and those who sometimes aren't learn their lessons and become perfect. However, with the MST3K guys riffing the worst parts along with me in my head, I was actually able to enjoy this.

It was interesting to get to accompany Jimmy as he learned to deal with his blindness. It was fascinating to learn about both how he was able to get around with his ca
...more
Elaine
Jul 21, 2012 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember this book about a boy who is blinded by an errant firecracker as one of my childhood favorites. I decided to read it now to decide if it was age-appropriate for any of my grandchildren. I can now safely say that it is still a favorite and that I would recommend it for probably ages 8 and above. I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give it -- it should probably be 3 and a half stars -- it definitely is not as well written as other 3- and 4-star adult books I've rated, but ratin ...more
Cole
Mar 13, 2013 Cole rated it really liked it
Follow My Leader
Follow my Leader By: James Garfield. I think this is a great book that everybody would enjoy, and benefit a lot from reading it. It is about a younger boy who decides to mess around with his friends one day. When a major accident happens, he becomes blind. So the main part of the story is about the boy having to learn how to deal with life being blind, learning how to do different things in order to get along in the world, like reading brail, using a Seeing Eye dog, and hanging
...more
Swankivy
Sep 02, 2008 Swankivy rated it really liked it
I was afraid to read this book for a while when I was a kid, because the beginning of the book and the description of Jimmy losing his sight in a fireworks accident was overwhelmingly scary to me. I overcame my fear because I wanted to see what happened to the kid, but so many things scared me--not only the description of having the firework thrown at him and then having bandages taken off only to find he wasn't able to see, but to imagine the way the kid who did it to him felt.

It looked up afte
...more
Susan
Feb 12, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: booktalkers
I remember that Disney made a movie based on this book, but never got around to reading it until this week when the title jumped into my head as the result of a "stumper" post on pubyac. I was looking for a book to add to my 4th grade book talk list and thought this would be a good candidate--and it is! I feared the language would date it (it was written in the late 50's) but I was pleasantly surprised--while the boys in the story would probably refer to eachother as "pal" instead of "dude" they ...more
Stephen
Oct 21, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
It's been almost fifty years since I first read this and I still recall the experience. It was an amazing intro to empathy for someone who was experiencing things I (hopefully) never would, and a wonderful opportunity to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

The initial encounter with a firecracker was a cautionary tale and the ways that young Jimmy Carter overcame that experience were gripping in a way I'll never forget.

There are great lessons in this book, not all of which I picked up on initia
...more
David
Jul 27, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this book multiple times when I was a kid, and loved it. It helped me to see (no pun intended) what the life of a blind person is like. I was fascinated to realize that there was a whole world of tools available to assist those with blindness. Though it had been decades since I read this book, I still recalled certain scenes. It was a pleasure to pick it up and read it again.
Sue
Feb 14, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, children-s
A re-read of a childhood favorite, read MANY times.
Jimmy Carter is a typical 11 yr old boy playing baseball with a bunch of his friends. When one of the boys hits a home run and the ball is retrieved, a discarded firecracker is found as well. One of the boys ends up lighting and throwing it. It explodes right in front of Jimmy and he is blinded. As he learns to adapt, he is accepted for guide-dog school and gets his dog, Leader.
I don't know if this led to my interest in special ed, or if I re
...more
Paula
Mar 04, 2014 Paula rated it liked it
I just read this with my son because it was a favorite from my childhood. The story remains a good one and my son learned a lot about how blind people navigate their way through the world, but he found the way that the kids talked to be strange. The dialogue in the 1950s was a lot different than how kids talk to each other now.
John_n
Mar 03, 2013 John_n rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler) ...more
Rebecca
Apr 12, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Around 4th grade I became slightly obsessed with this story of a boy who becomes blind and must learn new ways of living, including Braille, clock orientation, and using a guide dog. I was particularly fascinated with the fact that there are "cushions" of air around walls, and still try to feel them sometimes.
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