While all the Cove school district elementary schools have kindness clubs to combat bullying, Williams/Ledger Elementary School tried a fluffier approach to get students to accept each others' differences.
Williams/Ledger students had a chance to share in a new adventure with Gizmo, a dog with no tail, who was rescued off a freeway in El Paso and now has his own series of books written about him.
He and his author, Heidi Phillips, and illustrator, River Wilson, made a surprise visit to the school and shared a reading of “Gizmo Goes to Yellow Stone.”
The character Gizmo, a dog who does not have a tail, decides he needs a tail to fit in with his friends. So he embarks on a journey to Yellow Stone where birds, wolves, antelopes and even bears help him on his mission to find the perfect tail.
Young students, including 7-year-old Natalia Henry, were able to recognize Gizmo’s difference and how it sets him apart from other dogs.
“Gizmo has eyes, nose, ears and mouth but no tail,” Henry said.
As Gizmo continued the search for a perfect tail, student Rowan Haveans began to notice the important lesson Gizmo was learning about himself and the true message behind the story.
“I love the story that he is wanting a tail, but then it really doesn’t matter if you have a tail or not,” Haveans said. “Just be happy without it.”
After rescuing Gizmo, Phillips began to write about their journeys together as dog and owner and how they use their experiences to teach students valuable life lessons and encourage them to embrace their differences and be themselves.
Teacher Darleen Lucas said the students were excited to meet a real author, an illustrator, and a special dog named Gizmo.
“The excitement on their faces shined as they listened to each word being read and watched as the pages turned to see the beautiful pictures that were drawn by River Wilson, and photographed by Heidi Phillips at Yellow Stone,” Lucas said.
“Since this special visit, many of my students want to write and create their own books. They are asking for more paper, a sharpened pencil, and the stapler. They are so excited about writing.”
Phillips is a new author who has written two books with a third one, “Gizmo Goes to the Polar Express,” coming out at Christmas.