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Follow My Leader

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,828 ratings  ·  141 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 (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,498)
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Crystal
May 23, 2008 Crystal rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Meghan
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
Jessica
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
Jimmy learns Braille and how to work with a seeing eye dog. I was transfixed.
John Yelverton
Such a sweet and adorable story that's great for all ages.
Crosby
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
Julie Decker
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
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Paula
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
(view spoiler) ...more
momokaachan
In 4th grade we had a section on blindness (just after the Miracle Worker movie came out) and read about Helen Keller, saved dog food labels to send to a company for training seeing-eye dogs, and at some point during that section I read this book. It made the concept of learning to cope with a handicap real to me.
Ethan
This is the best book I've read. It is about a boy named Jimmy that got blind by a firecracker. My favorite part is the ending. In the ending I read about Leader saving Mike. Leader is Jimmy's guide dog. Mike is the guy who threw the firecracker and made him blind. ETHAN
Lyndsay
Jun 20, 2013 Lyndsay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, Children
Recommended to Lyndsay by: My dad
Shelves: cry-cry-cry, kidstuff
In all honesty, this book might not merit a five-star rating based on writing. If I remember correctly, it reads kind of like Leave It to Beaver watches.

But five stars is MY rating, because as a kid this book spoke to me. It taught me to respect people with disabilities, and not limit them in my mind. It taught empathy. Compassion. I even liked the way the story moved.

The yellowed copy my dad let me borrow was probably read at least six times (for me that's a lot!) - enough, at least, to make
...more
Megan Christy
Gee what a swell book! Very cool to have a book with a blind main character. It gives me better insight to both what it is like to be blind and how to help those who are. I learned a whole lot from this book. I might be able to read it in Braille now! :)
Gary Blum
One of the first books that I really remember reading as a child that left a huge impression on me. I have now shared this wonderful book with my older daughter and plan to read it to my younger daughter very soon
Betsy Whitehead
I read this as a kid. I loved it so much that it is one of a handful of books that I kept from my youth. Now that my daughter is the age I was when I read it, I'd like to read it again and see how it holds up.
Ana
I loved this book as a kid and was determined to find it know! Once I did I fell in love once again what an amazing and easy book to enjoy. It made me realize and learn a lot I didnt even know before.
Jennelle

This book was written in 1957, but when I read it in the late 80s, it didn't seem dated at all. You could feel Jimmy's frustration and at times you got frustrated with him even though you saw how hard adjusting to this new way of life was. Watching him learn to work with Leader and come to trust him, was something I never forgot, and I think I loved that dog as much as Jimmy did.

This book was a great insight into a world that I will probably never enter. It felt real, and was completely accessib
...more
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