In Spring 2019, The Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks purchased more than 500 copies of The Rabbit Listened for the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) Ready Buddy and Pre-K Pals mentoring initiative.
This touching story, written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld and published by Penguin Random House, tenderly explores the struggle of a young child named Taylor who doesn’t know how to deal with the emotions of a great loss. When all the other animals try unsuccessfully to help Taylor express emotion, it is the Rabbit who does just what Taylor needed. The Rabbit Listened.
The book was passed out at the March RSVP Book Fair to all Reading Buddy and Pre-K Pal volunteers. The volunteers gave one book to each of the students with whom they serve as a tutor and mentor. The response was overwhelmingly positive. For some students, this was the first book that they could call their own.
The story of the rabbit and Taylor sparked discussions between volunteers and their students, students with teachers, and children with their parents. Volunteers and teachers have reported that they have overheard children talking about their favorite parts of the book and making connections to their own lives.
HFO’s grant was designed to deepen a child’s understanding of how to deal with his or her own emotions and how to be there for others during a time of grief.